...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Gloom? Doom? Nah, The Word Is Bloom

Sunshine, gardens and food, oh my!

Yes, indeed. I spent a good deal of the past gloriously sunny weekend attending Bloom, a 5-day celebration of all things garden held in Dublin’s magnificent Phoenix Park. I was there thanks to Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), who very kindly provided me with a media pass, which I milked for all it was worth availed of over the course of the event. This essentially meant that I camped out in the artisan food market and sampled my little heart out (all in the name of research, you understand). So much good stuff – fabulous goats cheese from Bluebell Falls, Helen Gee’s superb homemade jams (almost as good as the Mammy’s), excellent sweet onion relish from Laragh Stuart (which I will be doing my best to re-create sometime soon) and lots more besides.

I was also, of course, greatly interested in the food bursting forth from various gardens at the show. The current appetite for growing your own was not lost on the organisers and the show included a specially commissioned replica of the White House vegetable garden.

The wind-toppled US flag in the White House Garden replica at Bloom

Er, the flag just kinda toppled over while I was there, honest guv!

Gangs of schoolkids and other interested observers were talked through the contents of the patch, which (with the permission of the White House) was adapted somewhat from the original to reflect the Irish climate and tastes – thus it was out with the collards and in with the cabbages. Not that the precise contents of the plot mattered so much as the idea of it, encouraging more of a connection with garden edibles and perhaps even inspiring people to get out there and do some digging and planting themselves.

The White House Garden replica at Bloom

Presidential produce

As for me, I was already sold on the grow-your-own thing, of course, and couldn’t help but be envious of the picture perfect rows of presidential veggies with nary a sign that slugs had ever darkened the borders of the plot. I would be inspired by such a garden too, whereas the reality of my own vegetable plot is much more rough-and-ready, with patches that are regularly laid waste by slugs and snails. Still, I fight the good garden fight, though, naturally, I imagine that the White House has slightly more resources available to it when it comes to waging the war on slugs. I mean, if I were a slug (which would, of course, make this the Daily Slug blog), I’d probably steer well clear of the White House lawn rather than risk the inevitable invitation from Special Forces Anti-Slug Officers to step away from the lettuce, ma’am…


  1. The Duo Dishes

    Sounds like mucho fun! We need a backyard, so we can grow fruits and veggies.

  2. jenn

    One day, I tell ya, I will have my own veggie garden!!! Even if it’s the last thing I do! (ok, maybe not the last thing, but I will have one.)

  3. Jenni

    I’ve heard there’s an actual Presidential Kitchen Garden Detail, consisting of four hulking Secret Service guys armed with salt, ready to liberally sprinkle slugs To Death. They also put out red white and blue dishes of beer, so the slugs will Drown. That’s what I heard, anyway…

  4. greg

    Another event in which you are treated like a VIP (which of course you are) and which soooo makes me jealous. I would stumble it, but I find that image of the American Flag in the dirt strangely off putting. Who knew my patriotism was not completely dead! GOBAMA!

  5. OysterCulture

    Bloom sounds like a lot of fun and I’d be having a heck of a time checking out all of the samples. What a terrific way to while away what looked to be a glorious weekend.

  6. aoife mc

    The Daily Slug, hee hee. I was sorry to have missed this, I was at a beautiful wedding in Mayo instead which was also very nice. Except that I was food this time. Food for midges. Cripes. Still, twas a great weekend. Bloom sounds rather nice too!

    Thanks for the comments about Oz, we’re really excited but also still a bit gobsmacked that it’s actually going to happen! I’ll be trying to keep up a daily record of what we’re up to so keep an eye on the blog :)

  7. zerrin

    I absolutely envy people growing their own veggies and fruits in their yard. I wish I would have a green yard one day. I’m sure you enjoyed that weekend much.

  8. Daily Spud

    Duo Dishes: having a backyard helps of course – maybe some kind soul would let you borrow some of theirs?

    jenn: you will have one, I’m sure of it!

    Jenni: well if you heard it, then it must be true! I just wish those 4 hulking agents would take time out to protect and defend my lil’ ol’ patch once in a while too :)

    greg: ah, I have every respect for your latent patriotism! Be assured that the flag lay on the ground only momentarily and I like to think that, even as it did so, it was communicating to the lettuces in a very real way, “don’t worry, I got you covered…”

    OysterCulture: it was an absolutely perfect way to spend the weekend, you would have loved it!

    aoife mc: rather nice it was indeed, though Mayo (or anywhere else in the country this past weekend for that matter) would have been pretty nice too; Meanwhile, I am eagerly anticipating the forthcoming Oz reports from ICanHasSkippy!

    zerrin: I hope you get the chance someday to have space to grow some veggies of your own – you would, no doubt, love it

  9. Tangled Noodle

    I always come away from such garden shows and other perfect displays with an acute case of inferiority complex. Never mind slugs: our little raised garden of 5 tomato and 1 jalapeño plants is never totally devoid of weeds! Still, if it inspires enthusiasm for home-gardening, then all is good!
    (BTW, I just checked out Bord Bia’s site through the link you provided – I’m going to make those traditional pancakes!)

  10. Margie

    Looking forward to the sweet onion relish, assuming you’re willing to share. The slugs haven’t been able to get near my garden because the chipmunks have taken over. Maybe I need a take-charge flag in the garden.

  11. Daily Spud

    Tangled Noodle: I guess there can be a fine line between encouraging people through good looking garden displays and making things seem so perfect that they’re a bit out of reach – as you say, if the net effect is enthusiasm, then it’s all good.

    Margie: thanks for stopping by! I will, of course, share the relish if it works out. I am also now giving thanks for the fact that I do not have to contend with chipmunks in the garden – things are bad enough as it is :)

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