When I got to Phoenix Park, I parked in the red car park, which at a E5 cover charge for parking is one of the cheapest I've come across in Dublin so far, It's only a short walk to the entrance from here, although don't do what I did and forget what section in the red car park you parked in. I hadn't pre-bought my ticket, and was a little bit nervous about that as nobody on any of the social media pages was giving an answer when people asked if you can buy them on the door. The short answer is: you can. My adult ticket cost me E22.50 which was well worth what would be a full day out.
My first stop was the postcard gardens. These little 2m x 3m pieces were created to represent a club, a locality or an idea. For such small areas, they really were lovely with so many wonderful flowers (and giant strawberries) to look at! Below are some of my favourites from the section.
Then I headed into the grand and floral pavillion where all manner of flowers were for sale. I definitely hovered near the rose bushes, but as I didn't fancy carrying them around for the day I stuck with a small shrub that I'm hoping will go perfectly in the front garden.
(I discovered afterwards that most stall owners will allow you to pay and will hold your items for you until you're ready to collect them).
I made my way into the Fresh Food market where it was very hard not to be tempted by all the lovely foods on sale - the smells were incredible. There was especially a huge range of gluten free products on show. In the end, I walked out with some strawberry and lemon flavoured meringues - I couldn't leave empty handed especially when the company that made them were from Tipperary (always repping the home county!)
I stopped up for lunch, which I had brought from home (although you really wouldn't need to do this, there was so many places to sit down and eat) before walking through the Victorian Walled Kitchen Gardens on my way to the show gardens.
Finally, I had made my way to the biggest attraction of them all - the show gardens. This was where the biggest crowd had congregated to see the masterpieces that had been created by gardeners from all over Ireland. This year, the theme was about societial issues that are occurring both in Ireland and around the world.
Here was where you could really see the craftmanship coming through, where colours and design really came together to create works of art.
Although it's hard to pick one particular favourite, I definitely was drawn to the Our Lady's Childrens Hospital in Cumlins display which features the garden complete with musical instruments, and of course the winning garden by Des Kingston called Rustic Hibernia or Rural Ireland which features so many amazing industrial features and repurposed items.
They've definitely managed to put my garden to shame, although I came away with so many ideas of what shape I'd like ours to follow. Although I doubt I'm going to get it anywhere near Bloom standard I'm now on countdown to my Summer holidays where I'm hoping to apply at least some of what I saw this weekend to it.
And I almost forgot, on my way out of the festival at the end of the day I passed by a wicker basket shop where I managed to pick up something I've been on the search for for a few weeks - a picnic basket. Expect to see being used all through the Summer.
Shopping, flowers and sunshine - what more could you possibly want for on a Friday.
Bloom In The Park - I'll definitely be back next year!Fiona