Gary Graham

Gary Graham, is Manager of Bord Bia's 'Bloom’, Ireland’s premier Garden Festival and returns this year as chairman of the Super Garden judges.

For the last 19 years, Gary has worked for Bord Bia, developing the Irish horticultural and gardening sector. He trained in horticulture in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin before completing an internship in Chicago Botanic Gardens. He also has a post-grad diploma in Executive Coaching and a Masters Degree in Business.  During his career he has worked in garden and interior landscaping, garden centre retailing and the management of a horticultural engineering enterprise. He has judged the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland Awards since 2010. Gary is also an Ambassador for GroMór, an initiative by Garden Centres and Growers across Ireland, in association with Bord Bia set up to promote the joys and benefits of gardening.

Fourteen years ago, Gary recognised the need for Ireland to have its own version of the Chelsea Flower Show and in 2007 Bord Bia’s Bloom was born.  For the June Bank Holiday each year 70 acres of the Phoenix Park are transformed into Ireland’s largest gardening, horticulture, food and family festival.

Gary believes that Ireland’s professional garden designers are among the best in the world, ranking with other Irish luminaries in creative professions such as music, art, literature and acting. He regards both Bord Bia’s Bloom and Super Garden as perfect communication platforms, whereby novice gardeners can see and experience the joys and benefits of a well designed garden space.

Brian Burke

Brian returns this year representing Woodie's on the judging panel. As a previous winner of Super Garden, Brian knows exactly what it takes to win the competition. His winning garden, 'Non Forsit’ also received a prestigious Silver-Gilt medal at Bord Bia’s Bloom 2015 in the Phoenix Park.

Working in Massachusetts in the mid-1990’s, for a masonry and stone restoration company in the fabulous New England gardens ignited his interest in gardening, plants and design.  Brian has accumulated over twenty years of experience in the construction and landscaping industries in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Since his debut at Bord Bia’s Bloom, Brian has been credited for creating powerful high impact garden designs at festival every year.  Three of his entries, GOAL’S Damascus Courtyard – War and Peace in 2016,  ‘On Cloud Canine’ for Dog’s Trust 2017 and Woodies ‘Moving Statues to Marriage Equality’ in 2018, have been awarded a Silver Medal. Brian has a particular interest in pan generational garden design, accessibility and the therapeutic properties of Horticulture. 

Brian combines running a busy design and contracting practice with part time teaching for Laois Offaly Education & Training Board and Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education & Training Board.

Monica Alvarez

Monica returns for her 4th year on the Super Garden judging panel as the Dulux Exteriors representative, having previously served as a mentor on the show in 2016.

Born in the beautiful region of Northern Spain, Monica moved to Ireland in 1994. Her appreciation of stunning landscapes and love for the outdoor life continued in Ireland and encouraged her to pursue a career in horticulture and garden design.

Monica's career in horticulture began in 1996 when she attended a Teagasc course on soft fruit in Clonroche, County Wexford. There she quickly developed a love for plants and the horticultural environment and subsequently she trained in Amenity Horticulture with the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. She soon obtained the position as Head Gardener in the splendid Luttrelstown Castle Demesne in Castleknock, which boasts over 300 species of exotic trees and plants. There she maintained the castle grounds for three years, specialising in pruning and garden restoration. This work provided her with a genuine practical knowledge of gardening techniques, which now benefits her students at Dundrum College of Further Education, where Monica lectures in Garden and Landscaping Design.

Monica's work for Dundrum CFE has led to the development of the most "hands on" gardening course available in Dublin. Over the years, she has brought many students to showcase their designs at Bloom, providing both a valuable and a practical learning experience. The reward came as several of these students succeeded in winning medals. Many of such students successfully followed on the design career path and have become well known designers in the horticultural community. Monica's career continues to be defined by her passionate way of teaching, passing on to others the benefits of the art of gardening.