It’s Child’s Play on Opening Day at Bord Bia Bloom!

Magical Woodland Garden Encouraging Outdoor Play Captures Judges’ Imagination at Popular Festival of Flowers and Food  

#BordBiaBloom2023 | @BordBiaBloom 

8.30am Thursday, June 1st, 2023: An imaginative woodland garden for children under the age of five has been chosen as the best large garden at Bord Bia Bloom 2023. Following a rigorous two-day judging process by a panel of independent expert judges, Oliver and Liat Schurmann have been awarded a gold medal and best in category for their ‘First 5 Garden of Wonder and Discovery’ in association with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.  

A total of 36 medals (17 gold, 8 silver-gilt, 6 silver and 5 bronze) were awarded to show garden designers (seven gold medals) and plant nurseries (10 gold medals) this morning (Thursday) ahead of the five-day festival opening to the public at 9am.  

Oliver and Liat Schurmann, who own and operate Mount Venus Nursery in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, are highly experienced garden designers, having appeared 14 times at Bord Bia Bloom including the very first event in 2007. Their winning garden presents a natural, secluded woodland that allows children to play safely in an atmosphere that promotes imaginative play and discovery. The garden features winding paths, a gentle stream, and bridges under a canopy of arching willow structures, beech and hornbeam trees. Sticks, twigs, willow canes, stones and sand are laid out throughout the garden and invite visiting children to be creative and experimental.  

The best in category medium garden was awarded to Nicola Haines, Blackrock, Co.Dublin for her urban sustainable front garden, Citroën Power of One, while the best overall small garden went to Kathryn Feeley, also from Blackrock, Co. Dublin for The Forest Balcony. Both gardens creatively showcase how to create valuable green spaces and infrastructure in a densely populated urban site or small space.  

Jim O’Toole, Bord Bia Chief Executive, congratulated the awards winners announced today: “The medals awarded this morning is testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the Irish horticulture community and we are incredibly proud to showcase this talent. As we prepare to open the doors to Bloom 2023, I’d like to thank and acknowledge all those involved whose sheer dedication has helped Bord Bia to deliver what we believe will be a unique and truly uplifting experience for this year’s visitors.”    

The judging panels for Bord Bia Bloom includes 14 Irish and international horticultural experts judging Postcard gardens, nursery displays, and botanical and floral art.  

Speaking about this year’s show gardens, Chief Judge, Andrew Wilson said, “There’s a special polish in the gardens this year and as judges, we noticed a general uplift in quality. There is some really interesting planting, concepts and ideas throughout the show garden area, and I think this year’s show offers something for everybody.” 

Nursery and Floral Pavilion Awards 

A total of 10 gold medals awarded to nurseries exhibiting at this year’s event. The judges presented the Best in Show Nursery Award to Pat Keville from for an impressive display of indoor plants in the Nursery Village at Bord Bia Bloom.    

Floral Art 

In the AOIFA Floral Art competition, Adrienne Flood from Sutton Floral Art Group, Donabate received Best in Show for her entry in the ‘Immediate Impact’ class; Nicola Lynch-Morrin from Narraghmore, Co.Kildare received the Best in Category floral art award for her work entitled ‘Every fragile beauty…’; and Siobhan Larkin from Raheny, Dublin received the best in category botanical for her work entitled ‘Wild carrot’.   

Postcard Gardens 

Hermes Trismegistus School of Self Knowledge from Galway City were awarded Best in Show for their amateur Postcard Garden display, called ‘Look Within’. These small, but perfectly formed gardening showcases feature exhibits telling the stories of charities and community groups.  

People’s Choice Award 

Visitors to the show are invited to vote for their favourite show garden using the unique text number located at each garden, with the winner announced on Sunday.

Opening day 

Later this morning, the festival will be officially opened by Bord Bia Bloom patron, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, who will be accompanied by his wife Mrs. Sabina Higgins. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin are due to visit the show tomorrow (Friday).  


Bord Bia Bloom continues in the Phoenix Park until Monday June, 5th. To stay up to date with #BordBiaBloom2023 news, sign up to the Bloom Ezine at and follow us on social media – @BordBiaBloom on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

 * A full list of all awards can be accessed here: