Thursday 19 July 2018

Green fingered pupils urged to get creative in their gardens

Enjoying the fun at the launch of the 2018 Muintir na Tire Schools Garden Competition
Enjoying the fun at the launch of the 2018 Muintir na Tire Schools Garden Competition
National school pupils, competition organisers and staff from Cork County Council at the launch of the 2018 Muintir na Tire School Garden Competition. Photos: Mike English

Bill Browne

As usual Griffins Garden Centre in Dripsey was looking 'blooming marvellous' as it hosted the official launch of the popular annual Muintir na Tire Cork Schools Garden Competition. 

After all the snow and sleet of the previous week there was a definite feel of spring in the air as bright sunshine welcomed County Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley and pupils from Coachford and Aghabullogue NS for the event.

They were also joined by pupils from Skibbereen NS, winners of last years competition. 

Now in its sixth year the competition, organised in conjunction with Cork County Council's Environment/Heritage sections and Griffin's, is open to green fingered primary school pupils from across the county across a variety of categories. 

With the theme of this year's competition being 'Climate Change', there was a heavy emphasis at the launch on protecting the environment, with Margaret Griffin offering advice on topics as diverse as recycling and potting up old wellies, handbags and using new compostable coffee cups that can be planted directly into the soil. 

Once again Griffin's will this year be awarding a special prize for the best Bee Friendly Garden with Margaret's message to pupils being "plant flowers and bees will follow."  Dr Mary Stack, Cork County Council's Environmental Awareness Officer, encouraged pupils to "re-think, re-pair, re-use and re-cycle", pointing out these simple steps can make a massive  and lasting difference to the environment. 

The Council's Heritage Officer, Conor Nelligan, also urged schools to "think biodiversity" when planning their gardens. 

"This can be done in various ways for example including natural hedges, log piles, bird boxes and tables, wildflower meadows, nature trails and in particular the use of native flora," said Mr Nelligan. 

"This year being Blian Na Gaelige, I would also urge schools to use Irish in their school garden, maybe highlighting the names of trees and plants as Gaeilge," he added. 

For more information about the competition and to register your school visit