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Ballygraigue Biodiversity Project

Ballygraigue – A community garden like no other

Residents from Ballygraigue Court in Tipperary paid a fieldtrip to the residents of Sleaty Park View in Carlow to learn about the biodiversity work they’re doing on their scheme.

Ballygraigue Court are planning a huge biodiversity project for their green area, and the visit to Sleaty Park View provided invaluable insight into the work involved in such a project.

Ballygraigue Court is an estate of 76 houses with people of all ages and abilities and from diverse backgrounds living there.

The biodiversity project is an ambitious one with four sections proposed:
• Sensory Garden: there are 11 children on the estate who have additional needs and residents expressed an interest in developing a Sensory Garden that everyone could enjoy.
• Raised Herb Garden: this will be for all residents to enjoy, but, in particular, the more senior residents.
• Orchard, with native Irish apple trees, surrounded by an edible hedge of blackberries and raspberries.
• And a Wildflower Garden.
• Trees will also be planted in groups with a carpet of daffodils underneath in the spring to create a forest effect.
• A Butterfly Garden is planned for a small section off the green. Planning and research into butterfly-attracting plants is underway.
• A vegetable garden has been discussed as a future project.

How it all came together

Residents had a Zoom call with Mary Reynolds, a landscape designer, bestselling author of ‘The Garden Awakening’ and nature activist. Sue and the residents also spoke with Clúid’s Energy and Environmental Manager, Susan Vickers, on what could be done in the green space.

Sue reached out to Trees on the Land and the Silver Arch Family Resource Centre to ask if they’d like to collaborate on the project, which they are delighted to do. Trees on the Land is a cross-border initiative working to establish young native trees across the 32 counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Silver Arch is a local community support group in Nenagh.

Consultation forms were circulated to all residents and information boards on the suggested design were erected on the green for all to see.

Some of the core group then undertook the fact-finding trip to Sleaty Park View, which we mentioned above. Tom Darcy, Family Support worker with the Silver Arch Family Resource Centre provided transport for the trip, which was very much appreciated.

Getting help from others
Residents are liaising with local companies seeking donations of timber for the raised beds, and with local builders for the donation of materials also. Residents have received terrific advice and guidance from the nearby Garland Nurseries.

In addition, Housing Officer Sue Rowley has recently submitted a grant application to the HSE under their disability strategy funding. This strategy has a €1 million fund to support the development of sensory gardens across the country.

The overall cost for this project is €8,000 so residents are fundraising and any donations or funding given will greatly help get the project off the ground and completed in good time. Trees on the land are donating trees for the forest and orchard and they will also give guidance on planting day. They are due to deliver the trees this month. The planting will commence in the spring and the project should be completed by the end of summer 2022.

The Ballygraigue Residents Group has been set up to drive the project with eight residents joined to date. It is envisaged that as the work of the group evolves, they will embrace a whole array of social opportunities open to gardeners i.e. visit Flower Shows and arrange further day trips to other sensory gardens such as the Delta Sensory Gardens in Carlow.

The residents of the estate will maintain the garden with the assistance of Cluid’s Landscaping Contractor, and Cluid’s Community Development Fund will be available annually to support and maintain the garden.

We wish the residents the very best of luck with this project and can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

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