Community Garden Celebrations

November 8, 2012


A community garden celebration is a way of promoting environmental education and encourages Tidy Town volunteerism. An event gathers a large group of adults and children together for the purpose of creating or developing a new community garden area composed of either Irish trees, wild plants, wildflowers or cottage garden flowers. A celebration should coincide with an environmental date (i.e. National Tree Week, Tree Day, Earth Day, Biodiversity Week, etc.), a designated European theme for a particular year (i.e. volunteerism, intergenerational cooperation, active citizenship, etc.), or a traditional seasonal celebration (i.e. Samhain, Bealtaine, Imbolc, or Lughnasadh). Connecting to one of these themes is helpful when preparing a press release for the event. An attention seeking title for the celebration is also a good way to ‘brand’ the event, ‘tagging’ it with a theme that adults and children can connect with.

A celebration is both a gathering and a work party to undertake the planting of a new garden. The celebration dedicates the planting of the garden to a greater environmental agenda, i.e. biodiversity. The celebration is an opportunity to engage local residents in the making of nature. It is a learning opportunity that demonstrates methods of eco-friendly gardening. Native trees, wild plants, and wildflowers are key ingredients within the celebration, along with the application of organic liquid feeds (made from nettles and seaweed), and mulches (i.e. grass clippings, rotted leaves, compost, seaweed, etc.).

Costumes, decorative displays, and crafts made from natural materials (i.e. willow wreaths, flower garlands, clay candles, painted stones, etc.) should be included in the celebration. Seasonal poems, songs, stories regarding the history of the area, are also important ingredients of the day. Refreshments and music are additional features of the event. A designated speaker should share the meaning of the day and welcome everyone to take part in the day’s proceedings. The garden should be decorated or a fire lit to mark the occasion.

Simply giving children balls of wool will encourage them to decorate trees, and hedgerows, not unlike how special wells are adorned with pieces of cloth and thread. What is exciting about celebrations is the life they bring to neglected areas of land. It is particularly important to locate a new community garden near a playground, church, school, community centre, library, etc. where local people naturally congregate. Then the garden can be appreciated as a feature of everyday life and also nurture a source of pride for all those who created it.

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