Sunday is Mother’s Day and, although we will not be able to celebrate the day in the usual ways with hugs and kisses and treats of family gatherings and lunches in restaurants, the sentiment will most definitely be the same. In these uncertain times, mothers are, as always, at the centre working overtime to make sure their families are protected and kept safe, more so now than ever. Grandmothers are kept from their grandchildren for now and are missing the feeling of little hands reaching up for special hugs. But they can look forward to those hugs for real in the coming months. And so, to all mothers we send hugs and to all grandmothers everywhere we are sending hug tokens on this Mother’s Day.
David Keeley davepkeeley@gmail.com was kind enough to offer his expertise. In these uncertain times with usual schedules of sports training, music lessons etc. on hold, it is a great time to take a look at new rewarding hobbies – something like Planting and Gardening perhaps. Making an effort with our garden, helping to add to the Ballincollig Pollinator Corridor or improving our particular Estate would benefit us greatly during these worrying times and would help pass many an hour.
Parents often want to help out with making their gardens more Pollinator friendly but do not know where to start and the first thing David would say to them is to experiment. He always buys perennial plants that come back year after year and from which he can collect the seed. He has no use for anything other than Pollinator Friendly plants in his own garden.
In getting a garden together each year he always buys a few nice established Pollinator Friendly plants from the local garden centre, He checks his beds for self-seeding plants and bulbs that are ready for division or are “crowded” – foxgloves for example can seed and create lots of mini plants that can be relocated in an estate. Most bulbs produce another bulb every year so if for example some Allium are planted, make sure to dig them up and add to new flower beds. He himself grows quite a lot from seed. This is a great time to pick up packets from the garden centre and for a small amount of money you can have gorgeous looking beds for the rest of the year.
If there is a corner in an estate that could do with some wildflowers, he advises to section it off from the lawnmowers and make sure you scarify and get rid of as much grass as possible. He recommends seed from wildflowers.ie as they sell native Irish seed. An experienced gardener is never shy about gathering seed from plants in autumn. In terms of the Tidy Towns Estate Awards having a Pollinator Friendly Estate and a wildflower meadow or flower bank will always gain extra valuable points. Why not have a chat with your estate gardening committee or management? Work would be done in March before any real heat comes along so that young plants can establish themselves.
If people are getting a pollinator bed established for their estate and want advice, be sure to email davepkeeley@gmail.com – he also has limited free packets of seed (poppy, foxgloves and more) for any estate committing to a Pollinator Garden in 2020. More information on beneficial plants can be got on pollinators.ie.
The past week was out of the norm for our CE / TUS workers but they were kept busy up to last Thursday. They started removing Kerbside weeds in parts of Muskerry Estate. While we don’t normally do work in individual estates, we felt that in doing so, it would benefit them.
Although there was a lovely smell of freshly cut grass around Ballincollig last weekend, the Cork City Council and Ballincollig Tidy Towns have agreed that they will wait until early April for a number of green areas to be cut. This is a joint initiative that will leave the grass uncut so the Clover and Dandelions can grow. These are both essential early Spring foods for the bees.
The more people who leave the grass uncut the more food the bees will have. Think before you cut and make a difference.
Sunday morning last, our numbers were well down which is totally understandable under the circumstances. We had sixteen Volunteers and two Transition Year Students on the weekly Litter Pick. The total amounts collected for the week were five bags of Litter, two bags of Cans and two bags of Glass. Safe practices were carried out in relation to Covid 19.
It was good to read a message recently on Twitter highlighting our positive work and noting that we were exercising Social Distancing, gloved as required, and managing to spread a little positivity.
Although the next few months are full of unknowns, Ballincollig Tidy Towns is still hopeful for new Volunteers to help with upcoming projects and ongoing work. We would like to point out that all our Volunteers adhere to the safety guidelines set out with regard to Social Distancing and Hygiene.
With most everything on hold at the moment, many people have extra time on their hands and so, perhaps they may wish to spend some of that time working with us. If so, contact Pat Clarke on 087 6348807.
Right now, the more we can do as a community the more we can support and make each other feel secure which in turn will help us get through this.
Don’t forget to visit our website on www.ballincolligtidytowns.ie