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Cavan Towns and Villages go Pollinator Friendly!!

Cavan Heritage Officer, Anne Marie Ward is heralding a new project to increase awareness of pollinators and their role in our environment.

Six local areas of Butlersbridge, Ballyconnell, Bawnboy, Killeshandra, Glangevlin and Blacklion within the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark are under the guidance of Sarah Rubalcava of Rubalcava Heritage Services. In relation to the project Sarah notes:

‘These community groups and individuals recently completed training on pollinator friendly planting covering the nitty gritty of what, why and how to plan for pollinator friendly planting in a garden or community space. As part of this training community groups in Killeshandra, Butlers Bridge, Ballyconnell, Daisy Hill House & Garden (Ballyconnell), Bawnboy, Glangevlin and Blacklion are all receiving suitable trees, perennials and bulbs.’

Sarah Rublacava strongly recommends the planting of native plants in rural areas, especially ‘outside the garden gate’ and outside the village and town boundary. Bawnboy Development Group and Tidy Towns and Ballyconnell Tidy Towns groups will be planting native shrubs and trees including mountain ash (rowan), hollies, and spindle. Cavan has many damp sites and river banks, Blacklion Tidy Towns will be planting native alder, an ideal, riparian (riverside) zone tree. Meanwhile in Glangevlin, the local group will be planting small groups of guelder rose, rowan and spindle heading out of their village where the Council have recently restored a stone wall.

Our pollinators do not see colour as we do. Instead, preferred colours of our pollinators especially our bees include blues, purples, yellows, pinks, mauves and whites. Think blue of the local Devil’s Bit Scabious, yellow of our dandelions and gorse and whites of our bramble and flowering hawthorn hedges. Several communities will be planting guelder roses, not a rose but a native Viburnum has white flowers during the Summer and clusters of red berries during the Autumn and Winter. Killeshandra will be planting 1,000 native bluebells beside the wooded area of The Strand and the long flowering, blue Geranium ‘Rozanne’, in their flower beds with added Winter pink flowering heather.’

Daisy Hill House and Garden, in Ballyconnell is already very pollinator friendly with fruit trees and an herb garden in addition to other areas. They have agreed to practice the six-week mow regime on some sections of their grass. To add extra colour and support pollinators, crocus is being planted. The grass already has pollinator friendly clovers, self-heal and dandelion. Crab apple will also be planted adding to the local biodiversity of the garden and improving pollination of the other apple trees.

Another important factor for pollinator friendly planting is flowering time of our plants. From early Spring to late Autumn (and during a mild Winter), our bees and other pollinators will forage. The Queen bees emerge in early Spring and need to eat high quality protein and nectar prior to laying eggs. Many bees will be still out and about well into Autumn. Ireland’s Nature has provided willow, dandelion, clovers, brambles, hawthorn, dog roses, and ivy along with many other native wildflowers like vetches and violets.

Sarah recommends that in the garden, or village centre, we can plant a huge variety from crocus bulbs to purple Hebes to pink Spiraeas, white flowering, red berried Cotoneasters. But before planting, see what colour or season is missing in your garden or community space. A worker bee will tell her fellow workers where there’s good food sources. When planting, plant in groups of three or five, both for impact and for the bees!

Butlers Bridge has some great shrub and flower beds in the village centre. However, the beds have gaps. Gaps in preferred colour and seasonality. Planting perennials and shrubs in small groups of 3, 5 or (even 7 space allowing) both gives a better visual impact but is also better for bees foraging. Worker bees will communicate to fellow workers of good food sources! Butlers Bridge Tidy Towns will be planting out more Hebes, Spiraeas. And adding in perennials like Japanese Anemone and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ for Autumn colour and the hungry butterfly and bee

Anne-Marie Ward, Heritage Officer believes that “pollinator friendly planting does not need to be boring. It can serve our wildlife, our communities, our requirements to look after our climate change commitments and keep our villages and towns looking well.”

Local artist Heather Brett has been commissioned by the Heritage office to illustrate the important pollinators and the plants that are necessary for their continued existence like the Devils Bit Scabious, ivy and brambles.

Anne Marie Ward Heritage Officer for Cavan County Council and Sarah Rubalcava together with participating groups are to be applauded for their efforts in raising awareness and bringing the facts to the public so that we all can Protect our Pollinators!

Sarah Rubalcava, Rubalcava Heritage Services

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