A creative group of FAS workers, all but two of them Kilkenny natives, took their entry to the Blooms garden convention in the Phoenix Park, and returned home with a bundle of gold medals.
Gerard Mullen is the man to go to in the Grow Project at Cáirdeas, one of the many projects presently ongoing at the Training Centre in Belmont in Ferrybank. The course is a level five Horticultural programme, and is linked with the Waterford Area Partnership. So much for the political correctness of the project, but it must be conceded that any project, of any demand is only as good as the people participation.
This Grow Project certainly ticked all the boxes in spades for this particular group. Leader Mr. Mullen was still hanging on a cloud as he retold the narrative of success that was Blooms in the Phoenix Park a couple of weekends ago.
“It still has not really registered fully what was achieved by our group in Dublin. I mean, we are talking about the Chelsea of Ireland really - Ireland’s largest gardening and Family Food event - where aspiring garden designers, builders, sowers, florists, herbalists, etc produce their ideas for all to see, to wonder at in amazement, and to judge”, said Mr. Mullen. It is noted in the diaries of thousands at the start of each year. It was decided early on that the group should submit an entry in the large garden category. Not every group is accepted to showcase, but the Cáirdeas Group from County Kilkenny were thrilled with their acceptance.
Esther Heffernan - the spouse of Ray, one of the greatest hurling free-takers it has been my pleasure to watch - is the only lady in the group. She got involved because in addition to being a very fine artist, she also has a great passion for gardening.
“It was a great learning course from a Horticultural perspective. I love gardening, and to be involved in winning as many awards as we did in Blooms was an incredible experience”, she smiled. Another member of the Group is Tom Connolly from Glenmore. We asked him from where the idea for a wild garden came.
“We tried to recreate a garden to resemble a wild area of the Comeragh Mountains where you would have a wild, and changing vista of flora and fauna.”
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