After all the snow and sleet of the previous week, the beast from the East was finally banished and spring is in the air. The team at Griffins in Dripsey pulled out all the stops to get everything ready in time for the official launch of the Muintir na Tire Cork School garden Competition.
Muintir na Tire, Cork County Council’s Environment and Heritage Sections and Griffins Garden Centre have all come together to organise this exciting competition, now in its sixth year with many primary schools across the county already entered.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley spoke of his own love of gardening and praised this great initiative that helps children to learn the importance of nature while staying active.
Special guests included the children and teachers of Skibbereen Boys National School, overall winner in 2017, with Coachford and Aughabullogue National Schools. These schools had the opportunity to meet and chat with local beekeepers and learn the importance of bee friendly gardening.
Margaret Griffin and the local beekeepers are asking schools to help protect our bees and plant bee friendly gardens. The message is simple. Plant flowers and bees will follow. This year Griffins are are again awarding a special award for the best Bee friendly Garden. Margaret and her team also gave the children and teachers lots of invaluable advice on recycling and potting up old wellies, old handbags and even using their new compostable coffee cups, which can be planted directly into the soil.
Schools are encouraged to rethink, repair, refurbish along with reusing and recycling items in their garden. Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council’s Heritage Officer, urged schools to think Biodiversity when gardening. He particularly suggested the inclusion of natural hedges, log piles, bird boxes, bird tables, wildflower meadows, nature-trails and the use of native flora.
This year being Blian Na Gaelige Cork County Council is urging schools to use Irish in their school garden, maybe highlighting the names of trees and plants as Gaelige and be creative.
The main theme for this year is Climate Change and the Garden Categories include Edible Gardens, Biodiversity/Wildlife Garden, Up-Cycling, Art and colour Garden, Mixed Garden, Small Garden, Best New Garden , Creative Ireland Innovation and Creativity, use of Irish in gardening and the overall best Pride of County Cork Garden All schools all automatically judged for this Award.
Log on now to www.muintircork.com to register your school for the 2018 School gardens competition.
Miriam Dillon Griffins Garden Centre, Mayor Declan Hurley and pupils from Aghabullogue NS and Skibbereen BNS getting ready for the Cork Schools Garden Competition Photo Mike English