The 13th annual Bloom garden festival has been opened by President Michael D Higgins in Phoenix Park.

Over 120,000 people are expected at this year’s festival.

The event showcases Ireland’s love of gardening, food and family.

Sustainability, biodiversity and the environment are key themes this year – with gardeners focusing on less manicured gardens.

Garden Designer Brian Burke encapsulates the trend this year, and he hopes that his "Connectivity" show garden (for Woodies), hopes to entice children away from screens into the great outdoors. 

"We mythologise the 1980s when we were all little tykes ... but kids don't have that resourcefulness now. Rather than bemoan that, we have to entice them into the garden," he said.

This year marks the 13th year of the event, which incorporates 22 show gardens and 14 postcard gardens.

There’s lots to learn at the festival, such as the History of the Irish Diet in Plants.

"Each of the five sections represents a societal or historical event that changed our died," says Dr Caroline Elliot Kingston, from the School of Horticulture in UCD.

"When farming came in, we see the introduction of enclosed animals, like pigs and we also see the introduction of cereal crops."

Over at the Bord Iascaigh Mhara garden, designer Oliver Shurmann makes use of the spoils of a beach cleanup.

"That was a beautiful walk along a nice Connemara coastline, we have a bicycle helmet, a chainsaw, packaging, everything."

Judging of the 22 gardens took place over the last two days by a panel of seven independent garden experts. 

The panel has awarded 11 gold medals for garden design, the largest number of gold medal awards in the events 13-year history.

The overall garden show winner was Alan Rudden's Dona Paula garden and was sponsored by Santa Rita wines.

Mr Rudden's garden, which cost in the region of €100,000, reflects an Argentinian theme with a semi-covered entertaining and cooking area for outdoor gatherings, and a pathway representing higher altitude vineyards in the Mendoza wine-growing region of Argentina.

The festival runs until Monday 3 June.