When people connect great things can happen and community gardens are no exception. On the 8th March community gardeners from Ireland and Northern Ireland will be meeting in County Galway to help and support one another to gain more from this form of group gardening. The following gives an insight into the network as well as Doorus Community Orchard, the location of our March networking event.
Community Gardens in Ireland
Many of you will be aware that I’m one of the coordinators of the Community Garden Network (CGN) that was established in 2011, primarily to support community gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland, but also allotments and Community Supported Agriculture schemes.
Generally the CGN offers more of a virtual network of support with its online forum site that enables community gardens to create their own mini websites for free, share photos, events and network in general. However, we also run a Twitter feed as well as a Facebook Page and Group for anyone who doesn’t want to register for the forum and we aim to meet up in person every three or four months in various locations around the country.
Apart from getting a glimpse at other community gardens when we get together in various locations, the networking events also give us an opportunity to meet fellow community gardeners who we’ve struck up friendships with online, as well as swap ideas, pick up tips and learn from one another or any of the expert speakers invited to join us.
Doorus Orchard Community Garden, Kinvara, Co Galway
The next Community Garden Network get together will be taking place in Doorus Orchard Community Garden in Kinvara, County Galway on 8th March from 10am until 4.30pm and anyone involved or interested in community gardening is welcome.
— greensideup.ie (@Greensideupveg) February 20, 2015
The events are free though if you’ve some spare cash we ask for donations to cover costs as we are a voluntary group with very limited funding and we ask people to bring their own lunch and a bit extra to share. We always try to include an educational element into the networking events and our Galway meet up is no exception.
Lynn O’Keeffe is hosting us at Doorus Community Orchard and she will be showing us around the walled garden, as well as explaining how the community gardeners there propagate and plan the perennial flowers and vegetables in the garden to attract pollinators.
This is something I’ve a keen interest in having recently joined the Association of Beekeepers as well as signed up to be a Bumblebee Monitor for the Biodiversity Centre (more details here if you’d like to volunteer too). I’m very much looking forward to learning more about planting for pollinators from Lynn.
A bit about Doorus Orchard
The walled garden that’s attached to Doorus House Youth Hostel dates back to 1866 but became overgrown over the years until it was rescued and replanted thanks to Heritage Council of Ireland funding. The money enabled the community gardeners to plant the land with over 50 heritage apple trees obtained from Irish Seed Savers, as well as many other types of fruit. All of the trees in the orchard were sponsored by local families, which encourages community involvement and they hold regular work and open days there. It’s open all year and anyone is invited to call in and see what’s they’re up to.
If you’re not able to join us for the network meeting, you can find out more about the project here.
Community Garden Network
Since 2011 the network have met in several locations around the country, including Derry, Dublin, Leitrim, Athlone, Waterford and Cork. We’ve also exhibited two postcard gardens at Bloom Garden Festival in Dublin, and taken a stand at the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, County Kildare. We’ll no doubt be looking for volunteers to step up and help us promote the CGN this year too at various events.
If you’d like to learn more about the community garden network, click on any of the links above or leave a comment below. We’d love to meet you at one of the networking events or hear from you.
Please help us to spread the word about the network – the more we can connect, the more we can help one another.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller