A MUD kitchen, play towers and a roof deck with a trapdoor are just some of the unusual elements in a Laois designer’s garden, which won a bronze medal at the Bloom festival.
The show garden called ‘Connectivity’, designed by Brian Burke for Woodie’s, was awarded a bronze medal for medium-sized garden at the prestigious event over the weekend.
Now based in Stradbally and originally from Ballycarroll, Portarlington, Brian is a perennial participant at Bloom and won three successive silver medals from 2016 to 2018. A landscape contractor and award-winning garden designer, he won the RTÉ Super Garden in 2015 and picked up a silver-gilt medal at Bloom the same year.
Brian and his wife Julia have five children and the bronze-winning ‘Connectivity’ garden offers many adventures for younger age groups. Two play towers are accessed by ladders and are linked via a raised gantry to a sunken structure in the centre of the garden. The structure incorporates a roof deck, with a trapdoor giving access to the room below.
A crafting table in the garden gives children a space to collaborate and create and a performance corner serves as a mini-amphitheatre, while a natural pond encircles the structure. The perimeter is planted with herbs, fruit and vegetables to provide the raw material for the mud kitchen, which brings a further play element.
Brian graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1994 with a BSc Hons (surveying) and has 25 years’ experience in the construction, landscaping and gardening business in Ireland, the UK and the USA. He says he has a keen interest in ‘pan-generational’ design for all ages, accessibility in the garden and the therapeutic properties of horticulture.
The 13th annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin was officially opened by President Michael D Higgins and reflected the ‘green wave’ sweeping the country, with an emphasis on living more sustainably to combat climate change. The event highlighted such issues as water conservation, the damage of plastics pollution in oceans and the importance of pollinator and bee-friendly plants.