'On Cloud Canine' at Bloom!
Last year, we were so bloomin’ excited to be a part of Bord Bia’s Bloom with Ireland’s first ever Dog Friendly garden! For any gardener, Bloom is a real highlight with over 130,000 people attending the event over five days. With the Dogs Trust Dog Friendly garden we demonstrated how anyone can make their garden a little more fun and interesting for their four-legged friends, while also keeping the garden a fun and safe place for all the family.
The Dog Friendly garden was just the first initiative in our campaign to make Ireland the best country in the world to be a dog. We want to show that everyone can play a part in this campaign, by starting in your own back garden. It’s really important that we showcased a garden with elements that can be easily recreated by anyone, in any size garden. Small, easy to install features such as sniffer tracks or running tracks around the perimeter of the garden are great for dogs of all sizes. There are also different plants and structures that will provide some shelter and shade for dogs – just simple things but things anyone can do at home.
A recent survey carried out by Dogs Trust revealed that over 40% of households in Ireland have a dog*, so where better to start with this this ambitious campaign than at home in the garden?
Our garden designer, Brian Burke, is no stranger to Bloom. He was awarded a gold medal at Bloom in 2016 for Goal’s garden "Damascus Courtyard – War and Peace" and he was also the winner of RTE’s Super Garden. Brian has a menagerie of animals at home in Co. Laois (2 dogs, a donkey, 4 chickens and a couple of pigs at last count) so he is fairly animal friendly. But he admitted that sitting down to design a truly Dog Friendly garden means looking at the garden with a whole different perspective. He spent a good bit of time at the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre at Ashbourne Road in Finglas, working with the dogs and their Canine Carers and became quite the regular visitor!
The idea of creating a Dog Friendly garden resonated with him. Brian said; ‘I loved the idea that any garden can include simple fun and stimulating ideas for dogs while still being a safe and happy environment for the whole family. I was delighted with the opportunity to be part of this exciting campaign by Dogs Trust to help make Ireland the best country in the world to be a dog, and with this garden design we showed how easy it can be for anyone to be part of this movement, starting in your own back garden’.
Some very common garden plants can be toxic to dogs even if ingested even in small quantities, so we were very careful and learned more about the different plant types that we ever thought we would! Brian built the garden with Dog Friendly eyes, but the garden is also for the whole family –where everyone can relax and enjoy proper family time.
The beauty and expertise of this garden lies in the simplicity with which the Dog Friendly elements are included. With water features, sniffer paths, different textures, tunnels, climbing and digging areas, the garden is a paradise for all family members, whether two or four legged! It also features a vegetable garden and a broad range of traditional and lesser known dog friendly plants and herbs.
We were so delighted when our garden ‘On Cloud Canine’ won a silver medal at the Bloom in the Park festival last year! What an amazing achievement - we are so grateful to Brian Burke and all his amazing team for making our vision a reality!
(Photo credit: ©Fran Veale)
*Source: B&A Research 2016