The Sodshow, Garden Podcast

Reviewed: Bloom and Chelsea 2014



With Bloom and Chelsea out of the way for another year, i thought i’d go throught the best that both have to offer and perhaps try to convince others who have not been to either Show to consider a trip next year! This won’t compare the two, more so pick out the best of both!

Now that Bloom and Chelsea are finished for another year, we can just about gather ourselves again and see what we can take from all these high fluting events on the horticultural calendar.  I was lucky enough to get to visit both Bloom and Chelsea this year. Both were quite an experience and both are on the card for a return visit Obviously there’s massive differences between the two. The most glaringly obvious is that fact that the RHS have had 101 years to perfect it. Bloom is on year 8. That been said both events really impressed me and have left me with plenty of ideas, inspiration and a few more plants to add to the ever expanding collection!
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Chelsea is the bees knees of the horticulture world. The best plants, designers and displays that the world can produce. The attention to detail in the show gardens is exceptional, it really is perfection brought to life. Being an outsider to the rules and how the system works it really was amazing seeing the gardens in real life. Considering less than a month ago the whole of main avenue was a park, it really is hard to believe! The indoor displays of plants from the nurseries are a sight to behold too. The sheer size of the floral marquee was impressive, let alone the fact it was full plants, which as a plant lover is brilliant and a little overwhelming.  For those of you who, like me always say one day I will go, I urge you to make that trip next year. Yes, the crowds are manic, there’re  10 deep in front of every garden and wherever the cameras are is impassable for the amount of spectatos, but the experice more than makes up for it. Picking the brains of the Nursery’s and designers is invaluable and seeing a Chelsea gold medal garden in real life will make your own little patch fell so inadequate,  that you might just want to return again, I certainly do!


The following Thursday marked the start of Bloom which is Irelands largest gardening festival, our equivalent of Chelsea as explained by Gary Graham on the SodShow recently. Bloom offers a little more than just the horticultural side of things, with the best of Irish artisan food producers, craft and fashion as well as activity’s, talks demos and plenty for the kids too. It’s real family day out, Chelsea is more of a serious gardeners day out.  Some may moan that Horticulture takes a back seat at Bloom, but it is still forefront to the success of the show and without the show gardens and the floral marquee this event this couldn’t happen. This year’s show gardens were definitely up on last years and the attention to detail was really clear to see. The budgets that these gardens have in comparison to Chelsea is not even a fifth of some, but it’s the details and creativity that make a good show garden. The Irish sense of humour and our ability not to take everything too seriously was clear to see this year too. From Mrs Brown’s back yard, the giant Tayto man and factory and even a Car parked in one of the gardens. It’s nice to see a little break from the traditional show garden rules at Bloom. Something that puts  a smile to your face is always good.


If you go early in the week and you’ll have perfect opportunity to speak with the nursery folk and designers. The real crowds start at the weekend. I find it takes me a half hour just to walk from one end of the floral marquee to the other, whether it empty or full,  as the Irish nursery folk are so friendly and generous with their time and knowledge, no matter how big the crowd! Bloom is also an excellent opportunity to pick up something a little special and different for your garden.  With a fantastic range of plants for sale, supporting Irish jobs and showcasing the talent that exists in the Irish Horticultural industry. For anyone reading this who has never been to Bloom make sure and make 2015 the year you go. There is so much to do and it’s such a great day out for all ages and interests. Well worth making the trip for those of us outside the Pale! So there you go, not so much a comparison but more highlighting what these two events have to offer.  In short, both well worth a visit and both offering a lot for the keen, amateur or complete novice gardener. Not being biest, but for any Irish folk reading this, I reckon Bloom is one to watch out for, considering it’s less than a decade old, there’s still a lot that could happen. I’m already impatient for year 9 🙂


Paul T Smyth

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