Biodiversity Week from 17 – 24 May 2009 is feeling more like brrr-diversity week in the garden. My advisor in the Department of Agriculture keeps my spirits up however telling me, ‘Wet and windy month of May fills the barns with corn and hay’!

To be honest, I’m too busy canvassing and attending to the day job for much garden work anyway.  At least with the rain I need not worry about watering, just keep slugs and snails at bay.

I needed a second pear tree to pollinate the ‘Conference’ variety I have been growing for about 10 years, so I ordered one from the Irish Seed Savers Association in Scariff, Co. Clare. Last Saturday the ISSA had a stand at the Irish Environmental Network exhibition in the Botanic Gardens, Dublin, where I launched Biodiversity Week, so happy day – I got to take my new pear tree home. I look forward to wholesome fruit and maybe even ‘holy fruit’ as the variety is called ‘John Wesley’, first recorded in Co. Limerick and apparently planted by the famous preacher when he was in the area.

Last Monday, I was electioneering in Galway and had a chance to see some fantastic kitchen gardens. First I visited Mr. Farrell’s Galway Educate Together School attended by Ex-Mayor Cllr Niall O Brolochain’s children. Their organic school garden had a great variety planted in rotation including Elephant Garlic. I was impressed, as I was with Shantalla N.S. where their organic garden had to be moved to make way for a pre-fab. However the new garden was going to be even better. I gave a small dig out laying a path at the construction phase of their new polytunnel. I particularly loved their willow dome classroom.

Before I left Galway, I dropped in on NUIG’s organic garden under construction on the university campus guided along by Organic Matters’ editor Cait Curran of IOFGA. Colm O’Dwyer along with staff, students and local neighbours are turning a neglected space into an organic 4 plot rotation. I hope other universities follow where Galway leads once again!


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