Hello, I’m Maeve. I started as the volunteer garden facilitator in the Green Ribbon at the start of this summer, and it’s been a great experience working in the garden there with members of the Basement Resource Centre gardening group. We head over to the garden every Thursday afternoon, and spend two hours in the garden doing whatever bits and pieces need to be done there.
Although we’ve been having quite a relaxed attitude to the gardening, we’ve been busy! The front section of the garden is planted with a really beautiful range of ornamental and unusual plants, and we’ve been watering and tending to this area every week. When the good summer weather really started, this section of the garden grew really quickly and started to look like a bit of a jungle! We found ourselves needing to cut back and prune some of the plants there so that the walkways would still be accessible, and to make sure the beautiful mosaic lighthouse which was made by members could still be seen and appreciated. We also had to support and prop up some of the Echium. Echium plants grow really tall, and make an amazing looking pillar of flowers! Passers-by sometimes stopped to ask us the name of it, because it is such an unusual type of plant to see in Ireland. The bees and pollinators love it too, so it’s a great one to have in the garden, and it’s fantastic that it is doing so well and creating such a lovely first impression for people seeing the garden from outside.
In the back section of the garden, we have also been busy with growing vegetables and herbs. Things that had been planted last year were already well-established, and we’ve also started some things this season from seed – we planting broad beans, garden peas, beetroot, scallions, and courgettes. We’ve been amazed at how quickly things have grown! As the season has gone on, we’ve harvested any veggies and herbs that were ready for use. Members have been great with tending seedlings, transferring them into the raised beds, weeding, thinning them out, and then (maybe the best bit of all!) harvesting. We got to try fresh radishes, and to go home with onions, carrots, peas, beetroots, and courgettes.
The garden group is always open to members, and people are always welcome, whether you’d love to get stuck-in or even if you don’t consider yourself a keen gardener, or up to doing physical work. There’s always a range of things to do, and it’s also just a good opportunity to spend a bit of time in the fresh air. And, thanks to the structural ingenuity of some members, we even have a shelter to stand under when it rains, which we’ve made good use of a few times!
I’ve really enjoyed meeting and getting to know the members of the Basement. Everyone has been helping me feel very welcome, and every week I have enjoyed the interactions I’ve had with people in the centre and in the garden. I always leave the garden feeling better than I did when I went in – I love spending time with people doing bits and pieces of gardening together in that beautiful space, and I really love what a great example it is of what can be achieved by people working together in a small plot in the city centre.