Friday 30 May 2014

Happy in Bloom

The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
~Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

I love this time of year. Even though life is a hectic whirl of end-of-school commitments at the moment, the world looks glorious when the sun is shining and the gardens are in full bloom.

Bloom Garden Festival is Ireland's largest Garden Festival and takes place in Phoenix Park Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend, running from Thursday 29th May until Monday 2nd June. Last year there were over 110,000 visitors, and with so much to see and experience at Bloom, there is definitely something for everyone.

For the botanical art lovers, there is the second annual Botanical and Floral Art Exhibition, held in the Visitor’s Centre, which lies between the beautiful Victorian walled garden and Ashton Castle, a 17th century medieval tower house.

The Visitor's Centre, Phoenix Park, Dublin

The hard-working organisers, Holly Somerville, Yanny Petters, Margareta Pertl and Lynn Stringer
I submitted my two vellum pieces, the Iris foetidissima and the Calamondin (Citrofortunella microcarpa)

This year over seventy paintings were submitted, but only 38 made it through the tough submission process. The organisers, Holly Somerville, Yanny Petters and Lynn Stringer did a great job hanging all the work- it looked amazing. 

Brendan Sayers, Glasshouse Foreman in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin was one of the judges and he opened the exhibition with an entertaining speech which had everyone chuckling.

I was over the moon to discover that my painting of Iris foetidissima seed heads had won a gold medal!!!

Me with my painting and gold medal! Kind thanks to Bernard Van Giessen  for taking this photograph!

There were 14 medals awarded, so there were plenty of very happy artists in the room. There were only two gold medals, and I was delighted to see that the other person who had won a gold was my friend Soyoung Sin from South Korea. Soyoung is currently doing the SBA Distance Learning Diploma Course, which is how I know her.
Winning work by Soyoung Sin from South Korea
My good friend Yanny Petters won a silver for her work
Happy artists- Siobhan Larkin, Helen Noonan, Angela Jupe and Janet Colgan

Jacky and Holly, who won a silver gilt for her beautiful work
The party was great- the wine flowed, the guests mingled and the artwork was much admired. By the end of the evening, there was a satisfying number of red dots on the wall.

Elaine Mackey, her proud daughter and her lovely Fatsia japonica painting

If you are in Dublin this weekend, come along to Bloom! It’s a great event- as well as the botanical art exhibition, there are over 30 show gardens, gorgeous displays of flowers and plants, live music, great food and drink, art & crafts and plenty of entertainment for all the family. As the Bloom video below promises, you will go home happy!


  1. It looks a very nice event! Many Congratulations on your FIRST Gold Medal! ;)

    1. Many thanks, Katherine! Yes, my first gold medal!! I'm so chuffed! This is turning out to be such an exciting year!

  2. Bravo on your gold medal! What fun.
    My heritage is Irish (Martin and McGuire were grandmothers' surnames) and looking at the faces in this post is like looking at photos of my family. Tee hee.

  3. Congratulations on the gold! It's a beautiful painting.


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