Billy’s Efforts Benefiting the Birds and the Bees

Billy O’Brien pictured on his pollinators’ patch at the Castleisland Community Garden site at the Crageens. ©Photograph: John Reidy

RTÉ Radio reporter, Freda McGough used to do a fascinating gardening programme called Planting Passions on Radio One some few years ago.

I haven’t heard it for a while but it made great radio and convinced the listener of the real and true magic of the medium.

Collecting, Planning and Planting

Freda spoke to people whose passion was collecting, planning and planting and mixing and matching colours and species.

I thought of her and her programme the other day as I spoke to Billy O’Brien at the patch of the Castleisland Community Garden which he has lovingly converted to a haven for butterflies and bees and pollinators in general.

The Common Threads

The common threads of Freda McGough’s interviews were the eclectic nature of the contents of the gardens she visited and toured with their creators.

Billy O’Brien’s collection follows this lovely, community involved pattern exactly.

He points to his beds of Oxeye Daisies, Sweet Williams – appropriately enough – and a typical cottage garden rose.

Eclectic Collection

The wild, Oxeye Daisies came from ‘Georgie’s field’ – Billy explained how he took the plants, roots and all from the Castleisland AFC pitch on Limerick Road; the ‘Sweet Williams’ came from Cathleen Reidy; Noreen Keane and her gardening expert daughters, Linda and Lorraine supplied a huge variety of colour providing flowers and loads of encouragement to Billy and his project.

Encouragement, in spades, has also come from garden manager, Willie Reidy and, maybe more importantly, from the increasing numbers of butterflies and bees dipping in and lingering in this haven of colour and pollen.

Cottage Garden Roses

Cordal stone-mason, the late Moss Reidy donated cuttings of his generations old cottage garden roses and a request that they would be included in his memory.

They’re growing well in the shelter of the south facing remains of the old boundary wall of The Crageens.

People have donated: Foxglove; Marigolds; Comfrey; Poppies and Tansley and many more plants vital to our pollinators and crucial to our survival.

Green Fingered Gift

Billy, in turn, has donated his green fingered gift and his time, free of charge on a voluntary basis as he does his bit for all the pollinating species so much under pressure from the so called advances of man.

We’re living in an era in which awards are being handed out at the drop of a hat and for every possible excuse.

Here’s a man whose heart is in the right place and whose time and efforts, if reflected at government and big business levels, would leave the planet in a far better position than it is today.

I’ll rest my case.

You’ll find more about pollinators with a click on the link here:

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