We are fortunate and very excited to be to part of the creation of a Community Garden in our closest town, Ballaghaderreen. A few months ago we were proud to be invited as members of the committee and since then we have been working as part of a team to realize our shared dream. We are very happy as a piece of land has been kindly offered for our use by Duffy’s Supervalu. Work has started and we are meeting up every Sunday afternoon with a bunch of likeminded individuals to get our hands and wellies dirty but also to share laughs and cups of tea. We are always looking for more volunteers and you can find information about it on the Ballaghaderreen Community Garden Face Book page.
Planting of the first tree.
Media tells us that Ballaghaderreen is the town with the highest unemployment in Ireland and it also made the headlines a while back as the place with the lowest property prices in the country. Apparently we live in a small town in the West of Ireland with an ageing population and where not much is ever happening. We beg to differ. We think Ballaghaderreen is a place worth cherishing and improving. We are only blow-ins but we are proud of our little town and we know there are many more who feel the same way.
We were thrilled to be asked to take part in the design process and create a loose plan for the whole area with paths and larger elements in place.
On the land there is place for a rather large poly tunnel and lots of raised beds where community groups can grow their own vegetables. The area is being worked at the moment to remove weeds and we have had lots of rotted horse manure delivered ready for use in the raised beds and tunnel.
Area for tunnel and beds to the right.
In another area we are planning a gazebo with a reciprocal roof, similar to the one we have in our garden. It is a very stable, cheap and environmentally friendly way of building and as it is not a permanent structure, it can be taken down and moved easily. Around the gazebo there are four trees that will get benches built around them and raised beds in two big circles for planting a variety of herbs.
Type of gazebo planned.
The whole garden is designed around circles and spirals and there will be room for many shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs. The committee are hoping for the public’s input when it comes to deciding what should be included in the garden.
On the narrower piece of the land there are plans for a wishing tree or as they often are referred to in Ireland, a rag tree. We will also incorporate a couple of benches for rest and reflection. At the moment any makeshift seat will do.
There is a small grove of trees on the land already and close to it there will be stone benches in a circle with a fire pit in the middle and we envision this as a space for storytelling, poetry readings and so forth.
Plans are also in place for a large circular lawn area for dancing, play and get-togethers. A maze of clipped oak trees will be planted in one corner to honour the Irish name for Ballaghaderreen; Bealach an Doirín, meaning “the way of the little oak grove”.
At the moment the local secondary school are involved in the project as the TY students are working on the land, mapping it out and making suggestions for future plantings. We also have great help from some of the refugees from the EROC centre in town. We are hoping that many community groups will be involved in the project as it is a real chance to create positive changes together in our community. The benefits of a community garden are numerous and the best one we can think of is the enjoyment of creating something sustainable together while having lots of fun. If you live locally, please come along and join in this adventure. We have had some fabulous help and many donations of materials and items already and the committee wish to thank all who have contributed in any way.