Bay Road Nature Reserve, or to many folks 'the dump' is a pocket of tranquillity along the Foyle banks.... see here for more from the Biodiversity NI website, as the name suggests this area was once the city dump, closed in the 70's and been under the care of Derry City Council since.....this week we had the (very cold) job of planting a Biodiversity Hedge, under the guidance of Landscaper Rory McIntrye and Derry City Council Biodiversity Christine Doherty. We planted a mix hedgerow of beech, thorn, dogwood and rose, hopefully in the years to come this will bring an extra habitat to the Nature Reserve...
a hedge planting machine!!
Last year we visited the Loughs Agency in Prehen to plant a native hedgerow for Derry City Council as part of their Biodiversity action plan, and the Loughs Agency were so delighted with how it turned out that they invited the guys from the HOPE project (based in the playtrail) to come back and plant a further 100m of native hedgrow on the playing field side of their site, now the guys are becoming a dab hand at bare-root hedge planting, and the group tackled this with ease and confidence. Another great step towards their City and Guilds Horticultural qualification through the North West Regional College
This week we took a group of North West Regional College students down to Gransha Wood for a great tour by Derry City Council Biodiversity officer Christine Doherty, the old wood is comprised mostly of Oak, Beech and Sweet Chestnut with some Holly mixed through. We were lookingt the canopy layers and the range of bugs, plants and animals that live there...
Last Friday myself and the HOPE (Horticulture Organic Produce Environmental) students from The Playtrail who are doing a City and Guilds Level1 in Horticulture joined the Conservation Volunteers for some Oak sapling planting in Claudy Country Park....we planted these 4+5 year old oak saplings which had been gathered from acorns from the wood previously and growin on in mushroom boxes...
saplings being planted
RAPID, Derry City Council and the Woodland Trust have come together to form the
Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership which aims to “create a vibrant, natural
and cultural diverse landscape within the Faughan Valley that the whole
community appreciates, and is engaged with, making it a sustainable landscape
for living.” and it was as part of this we were called to action!
the pictures are a bit deceptive.....it was lashing rain...and I mean lashing, so after a few hours the group were getting a bit fed-up and restless, so I was delighted that landscpaer Paul O'Kane from Garden Care Landscapes showed up to offer some inspiration and gee-up the guys....
Details of the project can be seen here in the Londonderry Sentinel piece...
Planning ahead...sure we're all good at it...right??...Wrong, we all get carried away in the here and th e now and we always forget to plan ahead, well Sweet Williams don't come in the here and the now and you have to plan ahead for these bad boys. As old as the hills, most folks will mind they're mams or dads growing these, or even grandpa but they're magical and well worth a try...why? beacause they're wonderfully scented and provided great colour in the garden in early summer....but you'd wannae get the finger out....
Sweet Williams make a great cut flower, and are great at attracting beneficial insects and polinators to the fruit and vegetable garden....Get a packet of seeds (in any gardend centre) and sow a coupel of seeds to a cell in a seed tray (we've some here sown 2 weeks ago by a city and guilds level 2 class), the reason we sow these fellows now is that in their first year they grow into wee bushy plants and then in their second year they flower on and on and on...
After 8 weeks you'll have plants which look like these (these have been potted into bigger cells and then bigger pots this week), these will be ready to plant out in a few weeks , they'll sit handy in the garden or in pots all winter and then flower next April-June in the garden, and if we cut the flowers regularly they shoudl flowers for 3-4 years before they become exhausted...so 70 plants for a £1.29 pack of seeds....happy days!!
a classical example of a good or beneficial bug is the humble ladybird....seen ehere amongst some lettuce...each ladybird equals 2000 less greenfly....so good bugs are great to have and save you a lot of hassle...so its well worth planting or sowing a few seeds for plants which will help bring these wee guys (or ladies) in the garden...enjoy!
A busy past fortnight with the clippers being in town, lots happening, lots going on and lost to be proud about. A project which I was involved with were these planter boxes which decorated along the Quayside for the Clippers. There were 12 in total, each planted up by a different school in the town. This one was planted by the kids in Foyleview School, and schools such as Fountain PS, Oakgrove, Gael Scoill Eadain Mhior, St Patricks etc all planted one each. The planters were delivered to the school about a month ago and a class from each planted up the boxes. The plants chosen were a special Biodiversity mix, rather than just doing bedding plants we wanted them to last for a few years and provide some benefit to the insect population of the area. The plantes were all grown locally in New Horizons , the kids had a great time caring for them for the last 2 weeks of school term and then the council collected the planters, and the kids all got to come down for a photo-shoot when the planters were set up. This small project is part of the Derry City Council Pride in our Place programme, this has also seen the Community Gardens in The Fountain and Leafair Park nominated ias best community gardens in Ireland. Next time your walking along the fabulous new Quay...keep an eye out for these planters and see how a simple project can involve well over 200 kids from every corner of the town.
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond