Some great pics and community involvement in the old 2013 Pride in our City portfolio from Derry City Council.
wonderful planting of blue thistle, yellow rudbeckia, large leaved bergenia, upright stipa grasses and low growing carex grasses make a wonderful effect at the derry city council offices on the strand road
Just poppped into the Foyle U3A in Gransha and caught a group of the ladies out tending to their veggie box. These Veggie boxes are part of a project with Derry city council for Pride in Place. This will see 6 of these boxes planted and then placed around the city centre for the general public then to harvest and utilise the produce - which includes rosemary, sage, coriander, chard, beans, raddish, borage, chives and more...
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
Thsi week a group of City and Guilds students from North West Regional college worked with The Conservation Volunteers and Derry City Council to plant and repair some hedgrows in the Blackburn Crescent/Avondale Avenue Park in the Waterside....it was cold and crips but the guys got well tore in, planting a good few hundred.
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...
Burntollet Wood is the new forest being planted by Woodland Trust, its up beside Ervey Wood and these two and Ness Wood form Ness Country Park. This week myself and City and Guilds Students from North West Regional College joined the Faughan Valley Regineration Group for a day fun exploring the woodland and planting trees...
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...
I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the Springtown Activity and Horticultural groups 'Grow it Cook it' day in the Ballymagroarty Communtiy Garden a week past Monday....the group had arranged a special cookery show-case to unveil their new polytunnel for the garden area. The Polytunnel and group are generously sponsored by CityCabs...might seem strange a taxi company sponsoring a horticultural group...but its all local...local taxis, local group, local produce...all good.
The Springtown activity and Horticultural group were fortunate enough to be able to get the multi award winning Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant to come and cook al-Fresco in the Community Garden, Ian brought his mobile kitchen down and cooked up Salmons, Steaks and the likes with loads of fresh herbs, salads and veg from the garden itself...all under close scrutiny from the Ballymagroarty locals....
Ian is no stranger to the Ballymac Community Garden, he's been a visitor to the garden before, getting advice from the group on how to grow herbs and salads.....and commented on the selction of produce the group had, especially the Swiss Chard, Sprouting Broccoli, Kale and Bean selections.
and i'm sure this selection of goodies was tranformed into something amazing in Browns Restaurant that night!
now at the start of the demo folks were sitting down watching.....but as the flavours kicked up the folks stood up and packed over to see the goings on up-close....and to get a taste at the end of each dish Ian cooked....first come first served when it comes to sampling lol
and to give a perspective to the transformation here....this pic is the site of the ballymagroarty community garden last September....a dumping ground unused by anyone....transformed into the garden it is today...a place able to create the buzz and enthusiasm of this type of 'Grow it cook it', creating positive images and health messages to the entire community....
to help unveil the polytunnel Brenda Stevenson from Derry City Council came along....and to add to the buzz and the atmosphere Felix Healy brought the outside broadcast unit from Drive105 along and made the day extra special for everyone.
The Queens Quay area of Derrys Riverfront has seen a great transformation over the past 12 months....with the help of some £400k its been transformed in to a fantastic area. And provided a wonderful setting for the Derry-Londonderry Clipper arrival. With the help of acclaimed photographer Marie Moore McGrellis here's a flavour of what the area lookslike...post Clipper.
The Riverfront has been paved superbly, the paving from Tobermore Concrete is superb, and the patterns bring a nice sweep to the riverfront, and it doesn't in no way look like a 'Concrete pavement'....the big planter boxes which are permanenet are big chunky and in scale with the size of the area, in the one pictured here there is some feature with the pyramid Boxwood with a mass underplanting of golden euonymus. There is a strong repetition of planting theme along the riverfront, with mass planting (makes for lower maintenance) being the order of the day
Here you can see the sweeping patterns made with the two-tone paving and the big chunky Bollards....both for decoration and for seating. Also there is a number of areas for parking bikes at...a novel idea...but will it encourage more cyclists?
and who'd forget about the Quayside Balls....I love these...i've always loved the smaller terrecotta pots you get for your garden....and I love these more! They're big, bright bold and great fun looking....Far better than some big concrete posts to prohibit parking! The repetition of planting bring the entire Quayside together and in these containers the golden evergreen has been replaced by Dianthus but the pyramid boxwood remains
For the clipper the riverfront was awash with colour, and I'd say that the Parks and Cemetery Department of Derry City Council will keep it looking great, last summer the area around the Peace Bridge was wonderfully planted with wall baskets everywhere and I'd say the entire Quayside will be kept heavily planted for years to come. The Council won a Gold Medal in Britain in Bloom last year for best small city and it was largely due to the work the council did on concrentrating colour along the main approach roads and high profile areas in the town.
The big wall baskets used are special self-watering containers, these have an in-built reservoir, this allows the Derry City Council staff to water them heavily, the reservoir then holds a back-up supply of water so as the compost dries out it sucks up the water, this lowers the maintenance cost and gives for better displays of flowers as the tubs never go dry....(well thats the plan!)
What do you think of all the flags?
and lets not forget whats coming up in 2013....
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond