An Taisce Green Communities Wildflower Meadow for Bridgefoot Street
Wild Flowers Sown on Derelict Dublin Site!
There was a fantastic turn out for a An Taisce Green Communities Wildflower and Pollinator Workshop, that was recently held at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden on Saturday the 8th of October 2016.
There was perfect gardening weather, it being cloudy and dry, and undoubtedly this helped with the turnout which saw more than 30 people in attendance, some from as far away as Wexford and Tullamore. The event was of particular interest to Tidy Towns Groups as this competition now encourages pollinator friendly planting and landscaping under the criteria of “Wildlife, Habitats & Natural Amenities” within the competition .
After a brief talk about the aims and achievements of the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, and the horticultural challenges specific to the site, garden volunteer Robert Moss then handed over to Erin Jo Tiedeken from the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Erin talked about the new “All Ireland Pollinator Plan” and explained that there are 97 bee species in Ireland: the honeybee, 20 species of bumblebee, and 76 species of solitary bee. Unfortunately many of these species are in serious decline due to habitat loss, and the application of pesticides as part of intensive modern farming practices. The single biggest threat faced by many pollinating insects is the loss of native wildflowers which provide flowers and food throughout much of the year, instead of during a narrow window of bloom as is the case with flowering crops such as Rape Seed. Consequently planting a wildflower area is one of the ways gardeners and community groups can assist with protecting our Bee populations, and those of other Pollinating Insects. Erin explained the aims of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and some of the 24 low/no-cost pollinator friendly actions that it provides to suit all local communities:
After lunch we then set about clearing a large section of the community garden to plant a wild flower plot with a mixture of flowers. The top soil brought into the community garden had been heavily treated with chemical fertilizer. Because of this the growth of nitrogen loving weeds such as Dock, Dandelion, Nettle, and Rye Grass tend to grow very aggressively. These already compete with the vegetables planted in the garden, and would out compete the wildflower seedlings. The reason that wildflower meadows are usually found growing on poor soils is that it is here where they will not be outgrown and overshadowed by the rapid growth of a few nitrogen loving plants. After the plot was carefully dug and weeded, we then scattered 100 g of wildflower seed. The site was then raked to keep the pigeons from eating the seed. For optimum growth of wildflowers the seeds grow best when left overwinter for a dormant period. There was also a good media attendance at the event with the Sunday Times, Eco-Eye, and the Dublin Enquirer all present. Many thanks to Erin from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Tony O'Rourke for cooking the potatoes that we previously dug from the wildflower plot, Zoe Obeimhen for organising the filming with Eco-Eye, Ciaran and Suzanne for running a Seed Bomb Workshop for kids, and the many Green Communities Volunteers who turned out to assist. As things began to wind up at 3 pm Eco-Eye arrived to film a piece about the garden. This should screen in early 2017.
There are more photographs posted on the Green Communities Facebook page. See: