The 'Best in Category' award for large gardens has been won by Jane McCorkell's Rain Garden for the SAP group at the Bloom 2010 show in Dublin.
Judges Andrew Wilson and Mark Gregory chose McCorkell's rain-conserving court yard garden from an "increasingly competitive field".
McCorkell said: "This is the third large garden we have done here so obviously it's great to have got it. There are a lot of great gardens here this year and the show is really starting to get the public engaging with gardens a little bit more and it's getting people more interested and understanding that design is not out of their reach.
McCorkell's was one of four gardens awarded gold medals by the judges who said the standard had consistently improved each year over the show's four year history.
Andrew Wilson said: "I think the show is progressing really well. The economy has taken a real hit over the last 18 months so a show like this is always a worry but the designers here have really pulled it off."
Mark Gregory said: "This time last year when things were grim economically there was a fear over whether the show would happen but actually the show is better this year; we have never seen it like this on day one."
Sustainability and locality were key themes across nearly all the gardens with designers actively encouraged by the judging criteria to incorporate Irish plants and materials in their designs.
Gold medal winners Colin Doyle for Gin and Tonic and Anne Hamilton for Islands both said they had concentrated on using locally grown plants to help boost Irish businesses, promote sustainability and benefit biodiversity.
Show organisers Bord Bia - the Irish food board - said early ticket sales were up considerably on previous years to 8,000 and predicted overall numbers would comfortably break the record 58,000 who attended in 2009.
Bord Bia marketing executive and Bloom project manager Gary Graham said: "We are very happy with the investment we have made in the show because we get a huge return on it. We monitor every aspect of the show from plant sales to media coverage and every indicator is extremely positive."
Doylescapes, Cabinteely, Dublin 18 - ‘Gin and Tonic' Jane McCorkell for SAP Group, Kilsallghan, Co. Meath - The Rain Garden Anne Hamilton, Enniskeane, Co. Cork - Islands Paul Doyle, Dublin - The Specsavers Garden: Eclipse 2010
3Design in collaboration with Roisin de Buitlear, Dublin - Beauty & The Bees Niall Maxwell, Oldtown, Co. Dublin - Victus Ortus Ronnie Nevin, Dublin - Patterns of Change...A Window on the Future Carol Duffy, IPPA, Dublin - IPPA Nature's Playground of Possibilities Dawn Aston and Crawford Leitch -Urban Oasis
Garry Hanaphy and Colm Quinn, Dublin - Be Stylish, Your Way Peter O'Brien & Sons Lanscaping, Malahide, Co. Dublin - The Green Igloo Frazer McDonogh, Wicklow Town - The Travel Department China Garden Fiann o Nuallain, Dublin - The GIY Edible Garden Fiann o Nuallain, Dublin - Behold I Bear Gifts Anu Green, Coach Street, Cork - The Upper End Tim Austen - The VSO Dollar-a-day Garden Russel Shekleton for KHS Landscpaing - The Californian Couryard James McConnel - Urban Idyll
Sinead Finn, Dublin - Kilsaran Lifestyle Garden
For full coverage see HW 11 June.