Biodiversity in County Clare

Anne’s story….

I have a lovely garden in the village of Quin in County Clare. I have never really had an interest in gardening and I have always just paid somebody to cut the grass and do some basic maintenance on the place. That has all changed in the last two years. Indeed, it all changed pre-Covid-19, as I was becoming ever more interested in biodiversity.

I joined Burrenbeo several years ago and went to a few of their events. Then I joined Seedsavers a little more recently, and I attend several of their courses, so my knowledge and enthusiasm grew. In 2019 there was a lot of focus in the media on the National Pollinator Plan. During Heritage Week, I went to several talks and workshops about different aspect of the plan, talks and walks in Ennis, at a garden centre in Galway, and in the Burren.

I usually travel a great deal, as I work on election observation around the world, but, being grounded, I tackled the garden last year. I let all of the place grow wild for biodiversity. There is about half an acre of grass, through which I have cut grass paths. I got assistance at first but then this year I bought myself a lawnmower and did the work myself.

Several years ago I had gotten a quotation for CELT nurseries to plant native hedges, but I did not proceed with that. So, last year I got 30 native fruit trees from Seedsavers and then this year I got hedges planted with several hundred indigenous trees.

I have ever greater diversity in creatures in the garden, butterflies, shrews, lots of birds, including my first ever pair of goldcrests, and endless insects. I have only pictures of a few, a I am not particularly enthusiastic about taking photographs.

I have some mature apple trees, about 60 years old, and now lots of young trees, and well as lots of blackberries, elderberries and hawthorn. I am delighted with the place and intend to continue following advice to promote diversity. This is now my second year of having the garden thus, with just one cut of grass annually. Last year it was cut in the middle of September, the grass left to lie for a week, and then collected. This year I had to travel to Canada for the election for most of September. Now I am back and having the grass cut on Tuesday next.

I could continue for ages to relate my new enthusiasm for biodiversity in the garden. But instead I am attaching a sample of some photographs of the place.
Warm regards,
Anne Marlborough

Biodiversity in the city – Georgina and Larry, Ringsend

We moved into our house in Ringsend in 2017 and while the garden at the back had some nice plants and shrubs and a lovely ornamental cherry tree all set around a grass lawn it seemed to lack something….so beginning Christmas 2020 we dug up the lawn, re-laid the planting areas and built a pond. The difference now in the amount of wildlife specifically bird and insect life in the garden is astounding – if we did not witness it with our own eyes every day, we would not believe it! We did a few other things too that seem to help in promoting diversity and bring a wide range of wildlife to the garden…
Garden organically, no pesticides
Leave plenty small dishes with water scattered around the garden so birds of different sizes can drink and wash
Grow plants mostly from seed
Grow plants with single flower heads mostly – easier for bees to pollinate and access
Leave seed heads in place, birds love them, seedlings find their own place to settle and we collect the rest to grow more plants for next year…
Echiums are wonderful for bees; left spikes in place after flowering and Goldfinches arrived in spring to gather dried sprigs to build their nests…the Goldfinches visit every day now to drink and wash in the pond…
Collect rainwater from shed roof filling water butts and excess to pond
Built a fence around birdfeeders…unintentionally it has become resting place for smaller birds and stops larger ones (mostly magpies, pigeons) coming close and stealing everything
Make our own compost, supplemented with grass cuttings collected from local park; invested in garden shredder which allows us create mulch from shrub cuttings so almost everything in the garden is re-used
Not too fussy about weeds and nettles, letting things grow where they settle and thrive…within reason!
Use variety planting materials…soil, water, gravel, sand; provides interest for growing different types of plants and birds use the gravel and sand to clean their beaks
We are enjoying days and now nights of pleasure from this garden and the creatures who visit it.

Georgina and Larry, Ringsend, Dublin



Floral Art

Huge congratulation to RHSI members Karen Robinson and Harumi Langford who qualified in the heats (held in Dunboyne on 16th Oct 2021) for the finals of AOIFA Floral artist of the year

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