Sea Legs and a Green Thumb

SeaScoutsOrganicGarden1 - girls at work

The 4th Port Dodder Sea Scouts are sequestered at the end of a cul-de-sac in Derrynane Gardens, off Bath Avenue.

Occupying a stretch of the Dodder riverbank, it’s easy for the eye to miss from the footpath opposite, as it sits behind high floodwalls.

NewsFour paid a visit to learn about their Organic Gardening Project, three years on from its inception.

“Don’t point your camera over there, the greenhouse isn’t finished yet,” jokes Geraldine Smith, a Troop Leader with the Sea Scouts. She and fellow leader John Allen are giving me a tour of the Organic Garden. The greenhouse will shortly replace a polytunnel which looks from the outside to be very full with colourful flowers.

John points out some young apple trees growing against the floodwall, and some berry bushes which are slow to mature but with luck and effort will produce whiteberries, strawberries and raspberries, maybe for next year. There is also a bed of herbs: lemon thyme, parsley and chives among them.

The unpredictable weather has delayed the development of the garden this year and the cultivation of a regular crop of organic potatoes.

Later, Geraldine explains the nature of the organic gardening project. “Scouting is about development; social, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and character development. That’s the same message from every scout group. The other stress is on learning by doing. Gardening links into this because it involves so many skills. We have at least one weekly meet per group per garden section. So one group will be on herbs, another on vegetables and another on flowers. All the produce is donated to the local community. Even the hanging baskets outside the pubs will be arranged by the kids.”

The hope is for good weather this year and next. 2014 is the 4th Port Sea Scouts 80th anniversary. Here’s hoping it’ll be in full bloom by then.

By Ruairi Conneely