*Molly McPhillips. Photograph: Arthur Ellis
A TEN YEAR OLD Shannon student who designed Shannon Group’s new community biodiversity garden has viewed her vision in full bloom for the first time.
Last year, ten-year-old Molly McPhillips, a fourth-class student at St Senan’s National School in Shannon, won a competition to design a new biodiversity garden in Shannon, after her design which included a bug hotel, fruit trees and seating area was selected as the popular vote on social media.
Over 70 entries were received for the competition and shortlisted to thirteen finalists from three Shannon Schools, St. Conaire’s National School, St Senan’s Primary School and St. Tola’s National School.
On Tuesday, Molly, along with her classmates returned to see her garden design in full bloom during a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the community garden on the Shannon Campus.
After exploring the garden and seeing her inspirational design blossom into this new community amenity, Molly who is the daughter of Garret and Jennifer said, “I love all the wildflowers and the nature all around here. I am really happy, excited and proud. I planted a tree and I got to put the soil in, and a few of my friends helped me and we got to make a plaque that all my class took part in and we coloured it, to hang up on the tree”.
Following months of planting, pruning and a little patience, the garden now features a wildflower meadow and wildflower lawn bursting with native Irish wildflowers such as Wild ‘Shamrock’ Clovers, Bog Rosemary, Cowslips and Red Clover, to name a few. While flowering spring bulbs of Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths, and Tulips have been planted to provide an early source of food for pollinators.
Realising Molly’s vision, the garden is home to bee and bug hotels, an earthen bank for hibernating bees, and a log pile to provide shelter for insects and promote fungi species integral to the garden’s environment.
Over 35 pupils from St. Senan’s National School, in Shannon, took part in a tree planting ceremony and helped to create a wooden plaque for the garden. They also received a talk on the purpose of each specific area of the garden before being sent home with seedlings to grow themselves.
Speaking at the launch, Shannon Group’s Head of Sustainability Sinead Murphy said, “At Shannon Group we are committed to sustainability, and as this week marks Biodiversity week, it’s fitting that we are here to officially celebrate the launch of our biodiversity garden. It’s fantastic to have Molly and her classmates with us today, to see how her design has inspired the garden layout. Molly had wanted a garden that was ‘magical and friendly’ and I think seeing the reaction here today, her design has certainly helped us encapsulate that”. The new garden, which is open to the public, is located on the Shannon Campus near the entrance to the Shannon Free Zone and Shannon Airport.