Saturday 23 March 2019

The winner rakes it all as garden inspired by ABBA wows at Bloom

Leo Appleby (2) eats a strawberry at Bloom
Leo Appleby (2) eats a strawberry at Bloom

Visitors to the Bloom festival in Phoenix Park took a chance on chocolate chip sausages and laid all their love on an Abba-themed garden yesterday.

Fans of the phenomenally successful Swedish pop outfit were saying thank you for the music as they checked out garden designer Tunde Szentesi's sun-soaked terrace.

A table was already laid with inviting wine glasses while Abba hits played in the background.

It had all the perfect props to make it a dead ringer for some quiet little town on a Greek island - a 450-year-old stout olive tree, whitewash set off by a Mediterranean shade of blue and red geraniums.

But what would happen if, heaven forbid, the weather hadn't played ball?

Taoiseach Varadkar meets crisp maker Kate O’Donnell at the festival
Taoiseach Varadkar meets crisp maker Kate O’Donnell at the festival

"It wouldn't matter," said Tunde, adding: "It's also perfect in the rain."

Originally from Debrecen in Hungary, Tunde said she was particularly inspired by the Mamma Mia! theme because the main character in that story changed her life.

Tunde herself moved to Ireland 12 years ago and trained as a garden designer.

"Now I'm living the life that I love in the country that I love," she said.

"That independent woman in Mamma Mia! was the main inspiration."

The garden sets the scene for visitors to get ready to sing, dance and fall in love ahead of the release of toe-tapping sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in cinemas across Ireland next month.

On day two of the Bloom festival, there was a smattering of rain, though not enough to deter the crowds of eager garden fans, keen to garner inspiration.


There was a great deal of interest in a garden for those suffering from dementia, by designer Clive Jones of Newton Saunders.

With a beautifully scented nostalgic planting of violas, rosemary and hydrangeas, the winding path featured handrails and a wooden roofed seated area.

The garden, which received a bronze medal at Bloom and is sponsored by the Dementia: Understand Together Campaign, will go on to be installed at a park in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

"Most of the stuff we do is for care homes," said Clive, saying he had received many tips from staff on the practicalities needed in such a garden.

"It's relaxing and therapeutic - not just for those with dementia, but for everyone."

With Bloom created by Bord Bia, there was just as much focus on the food side of things.

In the Bord Bia tent, punters lined up to say gimme, gimme, gimme with exciting new products to be sampled.

Chocolate chip and honeycomb sausages were one intriguing example, at the Barry John stand, from Cavan town.

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