I'd love to meet the person in charge of that garden; it's a miracle of huge healthy vegetables, pure unfettered growth, zero weeds and not a slug pellet in sight.
Traumatic as it was, the walled garden was one of my highlights as it shows the possibilities of creating a food garden that is really beautiful. Okay their's is scarily immaculate, but it's strength lay in how the arrangement of all the vegetables made it so pretty, with sweet pea canes and herbs dividing the sections of large veg, pleached trees in a row down the centre and all bordered by lavender and box hedging; really beautiful. It was a hot sunny day so it was lovely to chill out sitting on the grass, picnicing on a duck confit and salmon quiche from the artisan food exhibition and wandering around the stands in no particular hurry.
I liked the show gardens and again there was a big focus on growing your own; hens in a urban context, bee hives etc. We went into the Federation of Irish Beekeepers tent and spent a long time looking at a section of a working hive surrounded in glass with the drones slaving away just beneath your fingertips. It's kind of mesmerising to watch, Philip even started to talk about bee hives again. Umm. I'm kind of saying nothing. Half of me is utterly thrilled with the idea, half of me is terrified in a 1970s B movie kind of way. On the positive side, my grandfather was a great bee keeper and I remember the delicious honey dripped onto to soda bread at his house, but steady on... we are still having the keeping pigs debate, with no particular result. I worked on a film once with Tamworth pigs as part of the cast. What started off being cute turned into a gang of red-haired unmanageable terrors. Still, they taste great.
Bloom is definitely recommended this year, the indoor plants exhibition has something for everyone, lots of retail stands, a good selection of stuff for kids; we particularly liked the playground made of straw and natural materials and the baby fell in love with the goat on the Agri-Aware stand and had to be dragged away kicking and screaming. Bord Bia have done a very strong job on the organisation side; lots of stewards for the carparking, everything very well signposted, scheduled etc. For parents it's an easy event to visit; plenty of room for buggies and lots of places to sit down in a quiet spot. I caught one of the talks on flower arranging but missed Donal Skehan in the afternoon as the cookery tent was out the door - a good sign though. Two more days left, go go go x