Scariff Foróige Club has been chosen as one of four youth clubs across the country that will work with Diarmuid Gavin to design and create a garden, based on the theme of time travel, at the National Ploughing Championships.
The enterprising youth club supports young people from Tulla, Feakle, Tuamgraney, Bodyke, Scariff and Mountshannon.
Nine Foróige members, with youth leaders, parents and local flower expert Martina O’Brien, will travel to Rathaniskha this weekend to build the garden and have it ready for viewing from Tuesday next.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, youth leader Tracy Doyle said the nine young people are “thrilled” to be working on the special garden and competing against the other three youth clubs.
In May 2014, the youths, who are all aged between 12 and 17, were offered a small piece of publicly-owned land at the Connaught Road housing estate by residents to plant and develop.
Tracy said the youth club members were in the process of picking a suitable project for the Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme, an initiative which gives young people an opportunity to develop themselves, create friendships and learn new skills.
“They chose the garden as their citizenship project. I entered them into the competition and several weeks later, I was contacted and we were told we had been chosen as one of four groups,” Tracy said.
“We were told we had been chosen to work with Diarmuid Gavin and it was amazing, absolutely amazing. It was great to get the phonecall and they were beside themselves with excitement.”
Tracy said a lot of hard work and thought has gone into the garden in Connaught Road and the strides made had given the young people a lot of confidence and fulfillment.
“There were apple trees and fruit bushes put in and the young people were thinking about could they make jam or could they make apple tarts,” she said.
“They were thinking about what was going in, like what herbs are good for ailments and what kind of dinners would you be able to make with what we have planted?”
Tracy said the young people met with the residents of Connaught Road a few months ago and it was agreed that they would give them another piece of land to develop for a children’s garden in Fossa Beg, Scariff.
“There was a lot of discussion. Martina O’Brien is very experienced and she talked to them about what they wanted to do and they decided to plant herbs, vegetables, fruit and strawberries, which are lovely throughout the summer,” she said.
“They also planted a lot of different colours and they were very mindful of what types of plants they need to attract bees and butterflies.”
She said everyone is really looking forward to working with Diarmuid Gavin. They have recently met with him twice to speak to him about the design and he has also allocated them a mentor.
“We have been allocated a wonderful project manager and mentor Janet Duff, who is a garden designer,” she said.
“We’re going down on Friday and there’ll be nine young people and two youth leaders, myself and Rhian O’Malley, Martina O’Brien and two parents.”
Tracy said the Scariff Foróige Youth Club members have chosen the TARDIS time-machine from the popular television series Doctor Who as the inspiration for their time travel-themed garden design, which will be made from timber.
“We will be trailing flowers from the top of the timbers. On one side it will be a round garden and the plants will be in an old cottage shape, with a scarecrow and a wheelbarrow depicting the past,” she said.
“The other side will be the futuristic side and we will have a tin-man, which will be made from recycled material from Clare Waste. We will also have a container with Pac-man made up out of flowers in yellow and blue.”