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.
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.
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…