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A Blooming Dublin Fringe

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This year the Curiously, Creatively team decided to forsake the main Bloom extravaganza and visit the new Bloom Fringe event taking place in various locations around Dublin. The event was organised by landscape gardener Esther Gerrard and garden designer Marion Keogh. Most of the events were held on just the one day, which was Saturday. I hope that next year the organisers spread events more evenly over the Bank Holiday Weekend which would make it easier for visitors (i.e. us) to see everything. I don’t like to feel that I am missing out on anything interesting! The Fringe events covered six themes, talks; food; art/garden installations; green space; other space and tours. We made a rough list of the events that we wanted to catch before setting out on our Fringe jaunt around town.

We did miss some events after all, as I couldn’t scoot into town after work soon enough, but there was still plenty of ‘blooming’ events to see. Verity and I particularly wanted to visit the Urban Farm #ThankPotato Project in Cow’s Lane so that was our first port of call. I realise that potato growing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but CC does have a keen interest I this area. We try to grow a different potato variety each year and with the notes that I jotted down on Saturday, the garden can happily keep going for several years. Next year it will be either the Amarosa (French, 1918) or the Irish Peace variety from 1978 if we can get hold of some. We’re doing Blue Danube potatoes this year. I was also impressed with the idea of growing the crops in discarded plastic water dispensers; for originality, it knocked my re-used compost bags into a cocked hat.

The Bloom Fringe Pop-Up Welcome Space on South Kings St spread itself down the street at the side of Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. Here, we missed the Pallet Garden which finished at 2pm but we did have a lesson in making seed bombs from Boltz Sustainability. You can make seed bombs with compost and air-drying clay or make a version with damp paper. The ones on display had been made into coloured hearts. Instantly, ideas for endless birthday presents came to mind, as well as many delightful thoughts of chucking seeds at bleak urban spots to brighten them up a little.

Next to that stall was ReCreate’s bright and cheerful plastic garden created by Mark Holburn (Mr Arty Farty) entirely from waste materials. The main part of the garden was made from an old mattress from which a giant carrot rather improbably sprouted, also made from reused materials. This was Holburn’s artistic statement (if I copied it down correctly)  ‘The garden was grown to support diversity in society with a strong emphasis on using recycled materials and to encourage the idea of thinking outside the box’. You can see some pictures of the artwork on ReCreate’s Facebook page to get some idea of what I’m talking about. If like us you’d never heard of the not for profit organisation before, it is also worth looking at the main web page to find out more about ReCreate and its mission.

We were very impressed with the Fringe Pop-up Garden at Dame Lane junction, St George’s St as this spot usually looks such a scruffy eyesore (city planners please take note!) The garden had a fantastic bench made of pallets, which was both sturdy and attractive as it incorporated flower boxes. It is truly amazing what can be done with this waste wood; we also saw one pallet filled up with compost and planted as a rather unusual container. This garden was also the scene of a very lively musical interlude on Saturday afternoon from Booka Brass Band that attracted a large and appreciative audience to join in the fun.

That’s a brief round-up of a small part of the Bloom Fringe events and I’m hoping that the organisers will be pleased enough with this year to venture on planning to do it all again in 2015. Regretfully there was quite a lot that we didn’t manage to get to visit. Due to the inevitable time constraints we were trying to stick to only one part of the city centre. For instance we didn’t get over to Stoneybatter where Lilliput Press was playing host to several small Dublin publishers such as Liberties Press, Tramp Press and New Island Press. Just for once our love of book hunting had to take a back seat (which considering the mutual TBR Pile was probably no bad thing).

We’d love to hear from anyone else who went along to any of the Bloom Fringe events. Drop us a line and tell us what you liked best or even which bits you feel didn’t work so well.


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