Award-winning garden designer Leonie Cornelius will be creating a garden for the Irish wheelchair Association at the popular Bord Bia’s Bloom festival which will celebrate its thirteenth year from Thursday, 30th May until Monday, 3rd June.
The celebrated food, horticulture and family festival, which attracted over 120,000 visitors last year, will feature 22 show gardens, 14 postcard gardens, over 100 Irish food and drink producers, 25 plant nurseries, 25 live cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland’s best known chefs and some 100 retailers, all within a 70 acre site.
“It’s incredible to have been chosen by a company such as the Irish wheelchair Association for Bloom 2019. Our garden will aim to highlight the powerful work this company does in promoting and supporting accessibility and inclusiveness,” said Leonie Cornelius.
The garden, which features a cabin nestled in the wilderness, aims to create a simple accessible place of wild beauty for wheelchair users. It is inspired by the organisation’s recent publication ‘The Great Outdoors, A guide for Accessibility’, which provides guidance on applying accessible design to open up natural beauty spots to all, including trails, parks, beaches and waterways.
“Ireland is renowned for its natural beauty, incredible landscapes and breath-taking coastlines but given the nature and locations of the rugged and remote Irish landscape, accessing the great outdoors can present challenges for people with physical disabilities,” said CEO of the Irish Wheelchair Association, Rosemary Keogh.
“Leonie’s design aims to use this message as a central theme. At the heart of our Bloom garden, The Great Outdoors, lies the message that everyone should rightfully be able to immerse themselves in nature, gardens and the wild. It aims to create a simple accessible space that excludes no one and to make the experience of enjoying a beautiful outdoors space the same experience for all people.
“I think we all need to have a conversation, with ourselves and each other about accessibility and inclusiveness and allowing everyone to embrace the great outdoors in an intuitive and organic way. Our garden is a very simple space which aims to make everybody, regardless of mobility, feel the same when they enter it – and get a real sense of the great outdoors,” enthused Ms Keogh.
Collaboration is another aspect which Leonie feels will make this garden a very special one and the garden has been supported by a number of people and companies both local to Sligo as well as on a national level. One exciting collaboration will see well-known fashion and fabric designer Sara O’Neill, who is stocked in Brown Thomas, create a custom print for the space.
From a build side, Sligo contractor Derek Shaw and his team have created a bespoke cedar structure which represents the subtle journey inside to the great outdoors.
Sligo Glass will be finishing off one section of the structure the glazed sections will reflect the garden planting. The glass also offers us a reflection of ourselves and highlights the need for us all to take a good look at ourselves in how we take our everyday accessibility to the ‘Great Outdoors’ for granted.
Another company that has featured in the garden is the Irish company Colourtrend paint whose colours are based on the Irish landscape, fitting perfectly into the scheme of the garden and Foxford Woollen mills will also be featuring some added accents in the garden.
Show gardens are nothing without some stunning planting and Leonie has enlisted the help of various talented growers, nurseries and florists. Kilmurray nurseries, Colin Campbell and Kelly’s Nursery will all provide plants and flowers by Boyle based grower Charlotte Moss and Sligo woman Ruth Monahan of Appassionata flowers give the garden some glamour, with many plants being grown especially for the garden.