29 Sept 2022

A splash of colour brightens up the community gardens

Ballybofey facility open to all and looking for ideas

A splash of colour brightens up the  community gardens

Fionnuala Kelly applies the finishing touches to art work in the Twin Towns Community Garden as chairman John Walsh looks on

Twin Towns Community Garden has added a splash of colour as part of ongoing refurbishment works at the Ballybofey facility.

Now that the growing season is closing, the chairman of the facility, John Walsh, is keen to ensure the attractiveness remains and thanks to local artist, Fionnuala Kelly, new colourful murals are keeping the colourful appearance to the fore.

John reports work is always ongoing at enhancing the appearance and facilities at the community garden.

“We now have between 50 and 60 garden beds catering for enthusiasts growing vegetables and flowers both inside and out. Our two polytunnels are well stocked and it's great to see so many using them. You will find onions, scallions, lettuce, beetroot, potatoes, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, parsley, rhubarb, and garlic.”

Since John (above) took over the chair of the Twin Towns Community Garden committee last October he has been driving a campaign to improve their site so it will not only be a pleasure for the gardener. He also wants it to be a community focal point, a place of peace, an oasis for anyone seeking a break or just somewhere different to chill out.

“We have developed concrete paths around the beds to make it accessible for everyone, including those who have disabilities, mothers with prams, the elderly, and of course it's all wheelchair friendly. We wanted to marry the garden and community as much as possible. You don't have to be a member to come in and enjoy this facility,” he added.

John and the team also invested in some excellent garden furniture including specially designed benches, ornamental garden furniture, and wooden carvings of foxes, bears, and rabbits.

Other work in recent times includes a revamped shed and lean to provide a meeting point. He says he is delighted at the fact both local primary and secondary schools have visited the facility to enjoy a day out and learn about the natural world around them. The garden committee also entertained a group of students from Madrid for a number of sessions. They learned about horticulture in Donegal and left a permanent reminder by creating a Spanish-themed mural on one of the garden walls.

“We are also getting visits from members of the Ukrainian community living in the Twin Towns and they are most welcome to come along and exchange ideas and maybe even introduce us to some of their growing methods.”

John praised one of the original founders of the garden, Michael Rowan for his advice and guidance on what to plant where, and when. He said he also wanted to thank a number of people who help make the facility a reality. These include garden committee members Geraldine Cronolly, Caroline Gillespie, Jessica Murtagh, Maura Reid, and Joanne Cronolly; Kathleen Browne, Community Development, Donegal County Council; John Gallinagh of Gallinagh Nurseries, Dunwiley, Stranorlar; Rockwell Ornaments, Clonmany; Charlie's Flower Shop, Bundoran; Conor and Gerard McNeill, Ballybofey; Mr Gs, Ballybofey; County Donegal Parents and Friends of People with Intellectual Disabilities Ltd; Brian McGowan of Brimac Security Systems, Ballybofey, and Stranorlar Men's Shed; artist Fionnuala Kelly, Ballybofey; Gintas Wood Carvings; Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC); Tús; HSE and the local county councillors.

John Walsh with committee member Geraldine Cronolly at one of the new benches

“This is an ongoing body of work. Many things need replacement and freshening up and we will be asking anyone who can help to get in touch. We would love to install a tiny solar-powered water feature if anyone had one to spare. We welcome ideas, financial support, encouragement, and involvement. This is for the community, we are the community so it’s up to all of us to make it the best it can be. Come along and get involved.”

Applications for new beds in the garden will open next month.

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