Mayo Abbey Organic Centre scooped one of the coveted half-dozen Community Postcard Garden spaces at Bloom 2013. Their inspiration was drawn from monastery gardens, with their ordered plots of food, medicinal and decorative plants.
Bee-friendliness was central – literally, as the focal point of the garden was a traditional straw and bramble skep.
I spent a couple of enjoyable afternoons with the Abbey gardeners selecting bee-friendly traditional plants for the “Paradise Garden” corner, and trying out arrangements. Columbines, Solomon’s Seal, Jacob’s Ladder Mourning Widow geranium and Sweet Rocket from Frogswell all made it into the final version.
Camassia leichtllnii caerulea – the blue flower in the header picture of this blog – we left out, as some of their lower blooms were over; but arriving at Bloom found that various high-profile gardens which had used this camassia had just the same problem. (There is a slightly later pale blue species, Camassia Cusickii, which would be a better bet for Bloom week.)
Visiting the gardens on the second day of Bloom, I encountered not a single pollinating insect. Pop-up gardens, complete with crowds, may well not appeal to bees and hoverflies. But the extensive organically managed Victorian walled garden is just next door, and despite its well-established flower borders, that too, seemed devoid of pollinating insects, even on a sunny afternoon. I began to speculate about the bee-friendliness of the wide open spaces of Phoenix Park.