The Great Outdoors was designed by Leonie Cornelius for the Irish Wheelchair Association
As the gates open for the 13th annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin this morning, Bord Bia announced that the highest-ever number of gold medals had been awarded to the show gardens at the heart of the event. A total of 11 gold medals were presented to show garden designers and the overall show garden award went to Dublin-based garden and landscape designer, Alan Rudden, for his Argentinian themed Vina Doña Paula – A Matter of Altitude garden.
The show garden, The Great Outdoors – designed by Leonie Cornelius for the Irish Wheelchair Association (Small Garden) was awarded a silver medal on opening day of the event.
The garden is an inclusive and accessible place of wild beauty, inspired by Irish Wheelchair Association’s recent publication The Great Outdoors, which provides guidance on how accessible design can open natural beauty spots to all.
A simple cedar structure, open at the front and growing more protected at the back, is nestled within a wild garden and is the heart of this peaceful, sensual haven. Its sides are also open, allowing visitors to take in the views and soak up the sounds and scents of nature. The structure provides comfortable access for wheelchair users, with ample room for navigation, turning and companionship. The garden represents the journey from everyday life into the great outdoors and the idea that everyone should rightfully be able to immerse themselves in nature, gardens and the wild.
Leonie Cornelius is a garden designer and interior architect based in Fivemilebourne. Her company, Blume House, specialises in customised garden and interior designs for companies, brands, and private clients.
Leonie has won numerous medals at Bloom including a Gold Medal and Best in Category for her Cookie and Cream Reclaimed Sanctuary Medium Garden (2012); a Silver-Gilt Medal for A Love Letter to the West Medium Garden (2013); and Best in Category and a Silver-Gilt Medal for her Everyone Has a Dream Small Garden (2017). Her Chelsea in Bloom installation with Dubarry of Ireland was awarded a Gold Medal by RHS judges in 2014.