The October 2014 Green Communities event took the form of an open day and tour of the Irish Seed Savers Association in Scarriff, County Clare. Approximately 30 people joined in the tour of whom 20 were West Limerick Tidy Towns Network Volunteers. There were also a number of Green Communities volunteers who made the journey down from Dublin. The day was fantastically warm and sunny for mid October ... a last pulse of summer which ensured this was one of the more special events we held in 2014. We were even joined by Red Admiral, Green Veined White, and a Painted Lady Butterfly that were attracted by the late flowering plants such as Phacelia.

The day started with a coffee and chat outside the Seed Savers Shop shortly after 12:00 pm. We then made our way to the Heritage Orchards where we were given a tour of what is grown, how, and why, by Pat O'Mara and Damhnait of Irish Seed Savers. Interesting tricks and techniques to managing apple trees were explained such as lime washing the trunks to deter both fungal infections and the attention of Hares. Pat was at pains to point out the three key reasons to preserve these old varieties of Irish and English Apple that have been grown in Ireland over the centuries:

  • A living link to our past horticultural history and endeavors
  • Security in the form of genetic diversity and resilience
  • Taste!

After a picnic lunch we then went on a tour of the nursery, before visiting the Seed Bank, and then sampling freshly pulped apple juice.

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Robert Moss