EVE/HSE garden on Mental Health Recovery to feature at Bloom

Bord Bia’s Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival will take place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from Thursday June 2nd to Monday June 6th.

As part of this year’s Bloom Festival, a garden design focusing on mental health recovery created by HSE’s EVE Plantmarket will be the on display and open to the public to view for the duration of the festival. The event will showcase the best of Ireland’s horticulture and food industry and this year will see a record 27 spectacular show-gardens and Bloom’s first international garden from China.

The Garden Design

The voyage to recovery and wellness for people who suffer from mental health is all about opening up to how one feels. The HSE Eve Plantmarket garden titled, Thermae Salute – Wellness Recovery, is built in collaboration with FAS and is just one of dozens of entrants into the flower, family and food festival which has attracted more than 20,000 visitors since 2007.

Based on personal experience, the students want to raise public awareness about recovery from mental illness by creating an engaging visual display for Bloom visitors. They can experience the journey to recovery and appreciate that mental health difficulties are part of everyday life. The garden shows man’s journey to recovery from mental health difficulties using a sailing metaphor to reflect the voyage. Following the voyage of the "OPTIMIST" sailing boats through the garden, visitors can follow the calm waters of wellness, into the choppy seas of distress, sometimes floundering, finding ourselves adrift and with support visualising the path to recovery achieving wellness again. Some of the plants used in the garden include; bramble and nettle rushes used to reflect chaos. Hostas, ornamental grasses, ferns and ground cover plants show the transition to visually represent recovery while herbaceous perennials and summer bedding are used to reflect joy, recovery and wellness.

Martin Rogan, HSE Assistant National Director for Mental Health said: “Finding ways to overcome stigma and promote understanding is one of the most important ways to promote recovery for people who experience mental health difficulties. I would like to commend the trainees and the managers of Eve Plantmarket for taking this novel approach to overcome this stigma and ultimately bring the very important message recovery is possible, and is happening. This garden is a very positive example of what we are working to achieve in the implementation of Vision for Change, Ireland’s mental health policy. It puts the focus on placing the client’s recovery journey at the centre of all service efforts and this garden provides an excellent example of how the recovery journey can be practically demonstrated in a positive manner.”

Margaret Webb, General Manager EVE said: “We are delighted to be able to showcase the work of our trainees at Bloom 2011. The garden is developed by and for the trainees and is wholly representative of their vision. We know that the visitors to our garden will enjoy a unique opportunity to reflect on the organic nature of wellbeing and come away with a more positive and hopeful perspective on mental health.”

Bloom is open daily from 10am-6pm. Tickets are on sale now from €15 – kids go free! www.bloominthepark.com.

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