Gareth and friends get the daffodils in!

Miss Adlard's P5 After Schools Gardening Club from St Patricks Primary School get busy planting daffodils in the garden. (211012JC1 Photo: Patrick Duddy)
Miss Adlard's P5 After Schools Gardening Club from St Patricks Primary School get busy planting daffodils in the garden. (211012JC1 Photo: Patrick Duddy)

Gareth Austin, Community Gardener, this week continued the challenge of planting 10,000 daffodil bulbs with local school children and community groups, as part of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Social Education Project.

The week started in St Thereses’ Primary School with the pupils coming out in force to work their way through 1,000 bulbs under a blue autumn sky.

The HOPE Project (Horticultural Organic Produce and Environmental) based in Derry's Playtrail, show off their gardening skills with the daffodil planting. (211012JC2 Photo: Patrick Duddy)

The HOPE Project (Horticultural Organic Produce and Environmental) based in Derry's Playtrail, show off their gardening skills with the daffodil planting. (211012JC2 Photo: Patrick Duddy)

Tuesday saw St Paul’s Primary School take up the challenge and saw another 500 bulbs successfully planted.

From there it was a quick hop to Steelstown Primary School, where the pupils helped by volunteers from Shantallow Community Residents Association made short work of their 1,000 bulbs - bringing the weekly total to 2,500 bulbs in two days.

It was Take Two on Thursday for Hope, St Patrick’s Primary School After School Gardening Club and Maybrook Adult Learning Centre as they got ready for their re-arranged planting days following the previous week’s downpours.

It looked for a while that Mother Nature was going to be cruel again as the day started off rainy. Undeterred by the grey skies the groups got stuck in and by the end of the day the half-way mark was passed with St Patrick’s planting the 5,000th bulb.

Next week sees Cathedral Youth Club, Fountain Primary School and Drumahoe YMCA donning their wellies (and more than likely their raincoats too!) to help push the project towards the 10,000 bulb target.

Gareth said; “The challenge definitely built up a head of steam this week - even the weather couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the folks involved. I’ll be struggling to keep up on my blog at www.garethaustin.com. The groups are planting faster than I can type!”

Catrina McFeely, principal at St Paul’s Primary School, said of the project; “It was delightful to see all our children from the Nursery to Primary 7 getting the opportunity to take part in this environmental project.

“It was great fun! Thank you to Gareth Austen and the Housing Executive.

“It is a great example of real pupil participation that connects so many elements of learning across the curriculum. We are all looking forward to seeing our own ‘host of golden daffodils’ in the Spring.”

Patrick Duddy, NIHE Social Education Officer added; “It’s great to see so many people getting involved.

“I have to say thanks to Gareth for his involvement and to all the kids, teachers, and community volunteers for their time and effort. I’m looking forward to next week already!”