THE green-fingered residents of Shanakill are celebrating the tenth birthday of their community garden this week and to mark the occasion they've organised a weekend of horticultural fun and games at the garden.
Shanakill's Community Garden, which is located close to the local Community Resource Centre, was set up in 2003 as both and educational resource and a place for the community to relax and bond.
The community garden project was the first of its kind in the country and over the years it has expanded dramatically from its humble beginnings a decade ago.
What started as a small, walled garden containing some modest flowers, young trees and a few vegetables has grown into a lavish garden with a small orchard of fruit trees, a pond, trees flowers vegetables and a polytunnel where avocados and tomatoes thrive despite Ireland's bleak climate.
Every week over 50 people from the area come to attend gardening and horticultural lessons or simply to meet friends and enjoy each others company as the tend to to garden.
A few years ago the garden was expanded into two areas with the creation of an extensive allotment area containing some 30 plots that are used and maintained by around 20 people from the area.
To mark the garden's first ten years a growing a weekend of events have been planned. On Saturday and Sunday, Shanakill residents and people from all over Tralee are invited to come to the garden to see it for themselves and to enjoy attractions including gardening lessons and lectures, kids competitions and activities a range of craft stalls. Visitors will also be able to enjoy cookery lessons using locally grown food and and also enjoy food prepared using produce from the garden.
"It's been ten years since the garden opened and we thought it would be apt to celebrate the occasion," said Garden manager Rachel Budd.
"When it first opened a lot of people thought it couldn't work or that it wouldn't last and I'm delighted to see that's been proved totally wrong," she said.
For more details on the weekend activities call Rachel on 085-7729614.