The judges were greeted by the sun when they travelled to Santry, Co Dublin on 4 August.
They were also received warmly by the members of the Santry Community Gardens. The local representatives were in charge of touring the garden, but many of the members came out to show their support. The community had created a detailed presentation to lay out the core values and accomplishments of the garden.
Once an ignored and barren lot, the Garden initiative was founded in 2010 to breathe life into the community. In just four short years the garden has transformed, thanks to the persistent team work of the Santry community.
The gardens now include:
- A thriving kitchen garden
- A beautiful heritage orchard
- An ornamental section
The work that has been put into the garden has paid off for the people of Santry. Not only does it bring about a sense of team work and community, but it also provides a facility for groups to meet.
Currently the community activities include:
- Conservation Volunteers
- Whitehall Beavers
- Trees for Cities
- Dublin Community Growers
These groups benefit from the gardens, whilst the volunteers also benefit from the sense of team work and community spirit. The gardens are a hub of the area and a positive initiative for its people.
Buzz about the Community
The judges toured the facilities of the garden, and heard from locals about the good work that has been done for Santry community. They then visited one of the focal points of the garden – the apiary. The apiary houses the bees that the gardens keep to harvest honey. The community told the judges of the various exotic plants available in the gardens for the bees, resulting in some of the sweetest honey to be found for miles.
The local volunteers weren’t shy to boast of the gardens.
One member said:
We started over four years ago with a few vegetables in the back corner. Now we have a wonderful kitchen garden and wildlife area
It was clear to the judges that this garden was not only a community project, but a source of pride and inspiration for its members.
The judges learnt a lot about the work that had gone into restoring the garden, but it was clear that Santry Community Gardens still had big plans for the future. In the presentation they learnt about the visions and goals of the garden. The volunteers explained that while there is a lot of practical day-to-day work involved in the garden, they had not lost sight of the long-term goals and plans for the space.
The core values of the Santry Community Gardens are:
One of the most important projects for the remainder of the year is the Raised Beds Initiative. The members are currently tackling their ‘problem area’, a difficult patch of earth that is currently being made more structured. Details of the plan are readily available to members of the public and anyone is welcome to become involved.