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Bord Bia’s services for the Horticulture Industry

Mike Neary, director of Meat and Horticulture Division at Bord Bia; Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD; and Carol Marks, sector manager for Horticulture at Bord Bia, pictured at Bord Bia’s Learning Theatre. Photo: Joe Keogh.

An overview of Bord Bia’s key activities, from Carol Marks, Sector Manager for Horticulture at Bord Bia.



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18 July 2018

Bord Bia implements a range of programmes and activities to support the Amenity Horticulture Sector including consumer and trade promotion, business development, market research, and quality programmes. The following is a report on key activities and a snapshot of key services available to the industry.

Bord Bia closes the gates on another successful Bloom − What happens now to the Show Gardens?

Many of this year’s show gardens will be rebuilt and rehoused at various locations nationwide over the coming months. Gold medal winners Tunde Szentesi, Alan Rudden, and Linda McKeown will all reuse elements of their gardens for other projects.

Alan Rudden’s ”Santa Rita Life is Rosé ‘Living La Vida 120’” was entered into the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in London; a version of the popular “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” garden, created by Túnde Szentesi, will be rebuilt at Cloughjordan House, a prestigious wedding venue in North Tipperary; and two Enable Ireland service centres will receive elements of Linda McKeown’s “Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries” show garden.

In line with their sustainability agendas, the teams behind the Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown Fernhill “An Exercise in Sustainability” garden and “The Greener Way for Fingal” garden will reuse many components for upcoming projects.

Bloom Show Gardens. The Sanctuary Nurture Garden, Dominic O'Donohoe. Iain White - Fennell Photography.

Bloom Show Gardens. The Sanctuary Nurture Garden, Dominic O’Donohoe. Iain White – Fennell Photography.

On the final day of Bloom three additional awards were announced. The People’s Choice Award was won by “The Growing Shed”, designed by first time Bloom show garden designer, Melanie Webb, while the Designers’ Choice Award went to seasoned Bloom show garden designer, Kevin Dennis.

The inaugural Best Contractor Award, as voted on by Bloom Show Garden Designers, Show Garden Manager, and Judges, was awarded to Mark Mohan of Co Monaghan company, Silverstream Landscapes.

Bloom 2018 by numbers

  • 119,000 visitors in total
  • 17,500 children
  • 1 millionth visitor welcomed
  • 33 exhibitors in the Food Village new to Bloom
  • One third of the Craft Village retailers new to Bloom
  • 20,000 plants cared for in Plant Crèche
  • 1,650 pounds of strawberries eaten in Bord Bia’s Polytunnel
  • 20 exquisite show gardens.13 postcard gardens
  • 28 nursery displays
  • 14 Irish and international judges
  • More than 100 awards
  • 35 Gold medals
  • 31 days to build Bloom
  • 14 days to clear the site.

GroMór 2018 Gardening Promotion

The gardening season got off to a slow start this year, with cold weather in March and April extending into early May, but the season is at least in full swing now, with both nurseries and garden centres reporting busy trade.

GroMór 2018 was launched in late April with a photoshoot and press release featuring campaign ambassador gardening expert, Dermot O’Neill, and model and mother of two, Sarah McGovern, with her children. GroMór 2018 is a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to visit their local garden centres, buy Irish plants, and get growing.

Gardening Expert Dermot O Neill pictured with Sarah McGovern and her children Robyn Vaughan (4) and Jude Vaughan (6) as they launched GroMór 2018 in Merrion Square, Dublin ahead of Lá Bealtaine 1st May which officially marks the start of summer. GroMór 2018, a nationwide campaign is aimed at encouraging everyone to visit their local garden centres and get growing Pic Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use GroMór is an initiative by Retail Excellence Ireland in association with Bord Bia and nursery growers, promoting its 75 local garden centres and nurseries located across the country. These centres are available to offer free expert advice to people in all age groups, from novices and new homeowners to experienced gardeners. Find out how to best grow plants, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, whether it be on a windowsill, balcony or in a garden. Also discover the health benefits associated with gardening or how to introduce the wonder of nature to children

Gardening Expert Dermot O’Neill pictured with Sarah McGovern and her children Robyn Vaughan (4) and Jude Vaughan (6) as they launched GroMór 2018 in Merrion Square, Dublin. Photo: Brian McEvoy.

The campaign, now in its fourth year, is a collaboration of the gardening industry encompassing the REI Garden Centre Group and nursery growers, Bord Bia, Westland Horticulture, and Bord na Móna with financial contributions from all parties.

It consists of in-store activity, online and social media activity, and offers a unique opportunity for nurseries to connect with consumers through the medium of the garden centres.

Online results to date have been impressive − on Facebook there is a weekly reach of 33, 829 but the strongest engagement is on Instagram, with a reach of 5,628 but 2,552 engagements from early May to early June.

A feature of this this year’s campaign is a focus on three different garden designs: “Birds and Bees” was the theme on the May bank holiday, with “Blooming Gorgeous” for mid-June, and “Brighten up your Doorstep” for mid-July.

Each design has an attached plant list, with the intention of helping to provide more metrics on the effect of the GroMó promotion. To date for the season, nearly 10% of the website visits have been to the Birds and Bees design. The campaign also highlights the benefits of growing plants, flowers, and foods focusing on four distinct areas:

Health and Wellbeing – How gardening can help release the daily stress and contribute to overall health and wellbeing. Summer is the perfect time to take up a new healthy hobby.

Enhance Your Home – How the garden can become an extension of your home, a room outside for the family to enjoy.

The Family Garden – Highlights the garden as a space for all the family to enjoy.

Growing your own food – How growing your own plants to eat and enjoy has never been so popular.

Our other services to the Horticulture Industry

Marketing Assistance for Horticulture Companies: Bord Bia provides financial support to Irish food, drink, and horticulture companies through our Marketing Assistance and Step Change programmes. Both initiatives can enhance the competitiveness of your business by helping you take the next step in your growth progression. The call for applications takes place in December of each year. Details will be available on the Bord Bia website closer to the time. Contact us should you wish to receive an alert email directly.

Business and Trade Development: Bord Bia continues to provide amenity businesses support through trade promotion events and business development activities which include supplier, product, and brand development activities. Support is provided in the export market through mentoring and the facilitation of buyer introductions.

Amenity Export Programme: Bord Bia supports amenity sector exporters through the Amenity Export Programme. The Programme which is underpinned through mentoring support is targeted at amenity horticulture business owners, who wish to build on existing export sales or enter export markets for the first time. With the advent of Brexit, and the importance of the UK market to exporters in this sector, the support is being amplified and targeted where needed. Nursery stock producers in Ireland are potentially faced with many challenges and opportunities as a result of Brexit.

Whilst it is difficult at this stage to identify the extent of those challenges, nursery stock producers can in the meantime work on improving their business processes and improve their competency in marketing and sales, enabling them to be ready for future challenges.

Some trials of the effects of lean productivity systems are being carried out to investigate their potential for the sector. The value of amenity exports increased to €17.9 million in 2017, with hardy nursery stock the biggest sector at €7 million.

Market Research and Information: Bord Bia carries out a measure of the gardening market every two years. The Value of the Garden Market study 2018 is currently being undertaken by IPSOSMRBI. The results of this will be available later this year. This will complement recent reports held by Bord Bia, including the review of the labour status in the horticulture industry as a whole, which was carried out in 2016 to provide an updated estimate of the levels of employment in the sector, and the B&A study on gardening completed in 2017 by RedC. All reports are published on the Bord Bia website or can be studied by visiting The Library at The Thinking House by appointment.

The Thinking House @ Bord Bia: The hub of Bord Bia’s Insight and Innovation services, The Thinking House, is the repository of all research and is where insight and innovation activities are centred.

Ireland’s food, drink, and horticulture industry can enjoy unrestricted access to the latest global trends, research, consumer insights, and industry innovations.

From Left to Right: Mike Neary, Director of Meat and Horticulture Division at Bord Bia; Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD, with special responsibility for Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; and Carol Marks, Sector Manager for Horticulture at Bord Bia, pictured at Bord Bia’s Learning Theatre. Photo: Joe Keogh.

From Left to Right: Mike Neary, Director of Meat and Horticulture Division at Bord Bia; Minister of State Andrew Doyle TD, with special responsibility for Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; and Carol Marks, Sector Manager for Horticulture at Bord Bia, pictured at Bord Bia’s Learning Theatre. Photo: Joe Keogh.

The creative space includes a Trends Zone to highlight the latest innovations from around the world and a Packaging and Branding gallery to promote best in class design and to showcase Bord Bia’s recent work with Irish producers.

The Living Room and its adjacent viewing room, allows Bord Bia to conduct qualitative focus and discussion groups, while The Library presents invaluable access to a wide range of databases and reports that would heretofore have been financially prohibitive to source for many small to medium-sized companies working in the industry.

Bord Bia’s Insight and Innovation services are open to all Irish producers, and a number of nurseries have utilised its brand development programme over recent years. Visit the Bord Bia stand today to get a flavour of what Thinking House has on offer.

A word from Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy

Some 120,000 people attended Bord Bia’s Bloom at the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend. Since our first Bloom event in 2007, we have welcomed over one million visitors to experience the best of Ireland.

Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia.

Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia.

We are incredibly proud at how our Bloom festival has blossomed and continues to showcase our world-class horticulture and food sectors, both of which play a significant and sustainable role in Ireland’s story and economy. We hope you can join us again in 2019!

We are here to Help

Contact Carol Marks or Michal Slawski via email on: or For access to reports and studies contact our Library and Information on:

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