I am officially an old trout. My friend Rocky and set out for Bloom good and early on Saturday morning wearing sensible shoes and hats in bags in case of rain. Being a pair of thrifty protestant ladies of d’un certain age we headed straight for the media tent to fortify ourselves with free coffee and sticky buns. Thank God for the sensible shoes, but we could have left the hats at home; it was a glorious day. First off we got the show gardens out of the way. Normally I find these a great disappointment. Compared to Chelsea the gardens up to now seemed a bit feeble and amateur, especially the small plots. This year we were both really impressed and agreed that the standard has improved dramatically. Many of the small gardens were really beautiful and the planting delightful. The larger gardens were even better, the surprise of the day being the Woodies DIY entry. As ever designer Paul Martin’s garden was heaven, with lovely soft planting. Perhaps dictated by the very late spring, the theme of the year seemed to be woodland and damp shady planting – lots of lovely myrhus odorata, ferns, iris siberica, astilbe and hostas (none eaten by slugs). There were some hackneyed ideas, always seen at Chelsea too, topiaised box balls, pleached trees and dinky water features. One plant that popped up a lot was Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’. This was treated like box and clipped into balls which looked quite interesting especially as the new growth is bright green contrasting sharply with the rich claret leaves beneath.
The floral marquee is always my favourite part of the show. The best stands as ever were Mount Venus, Boyne Valley, Kilmurry and Camolin. We bought lots of three for twenty euro bargains and divided them between us. As usual I discovered that one of the Siberian irises I bought was identical to one I already have at home. A thug, which I am always dividing and giving away. My greed and folly know no bounds.
After a spot of lunch in the Bord Bia area we did a quick lash around the commercial outdoor stands and bought some dahlia tubers and were tempted by lots of gardening gizmos which we resisted having blown all our cash on plants.
A great day had by all.