Rising Gowna gardening star James Comiskey was celebrating this week after landing a bronze medal at Bloom 2011, Ireland’s largest gardening festival.
The Cavan native claimed the third highest honour in the show’s ‘small garden section’, impressing judges with his upbeat ‘Looking Forward’ design proposal.
Reacting to the announcement a few hours after securing the prize on the first of the festival’s five days last Thursday, Mr Comiskey said the award had mixed emotions for him.
“I wasn’t expecting to get the gold or anything like that, but I was hoping to do a bit better,” he said with more than a tinge of regret. “I got up at 5am this morning and was on the road first thing. When I arrived in the garden this morning the medal was there waiting for me.”
Despite his somewhat dispirited acceptance of the accolade, Mr Comiskey said he was heartened to learn he had beaten off several competitors of Chelsea Flower and Garden Show fame.
Such has been his rise to prominence in the wider horticultural industry, some of the festival’s main organisers have already invited him back to next year’s show.
It’s a decision the easy-going Gowna man admitted will take plenty of mulling over. “They (judges) wanted me to come back and see how I am progressing as a designer. I don’t know what I am going to do just yet as it is all down to sponsorship. You also have to give up about a month of your time to take part and that is a lot when you are trying to build a business on your own. We’ll see what happens, but I probably will end up coming back next year,” he predicted.
The theme of his garden design ‘Going Forward’ was as much about the country’s dire economic straights as it was about his own personal circumstances.
“You get sick listening to people talking about what we need to do rather than doing something. I just wanted to do something that was positive and that’s where the idea came from. Hopefully somebody gets something out of it,” he said.
Organised by Bord Bia, Bloom came to a close on Bank Holiday Monday in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Some 27 gardens featured, including small, medium, large and interactive gardens or “engaging spaces”.
But for Gowna’s very own answer to Diarmuid Gavin and Alan Titchmarsh, the next few days will be ones spent well away from the trowel and garden sheers.
“I’ve been up at 8am and not home until 10pm for the past two weeks,” he pointed out. “I’m stiff and sore, so I can safely say once the show is over I will spend at least a day catching up on some well earned sleep.”