Posts Tagged ‘Amma nature’

Planting in Rathvilly GreenFriendsWe want to express huge thanks to all who helped make this Tree Planting possible and tell you the story of how the planting went.

On Saturday afternoon we arrived on-site and began to bring stakes and trees down to the land we will plant. We space the tree stakes at 2.5 m apart, beginning with the central oak circle and from the circle we create a path down to the river and path from the circle back to the orchard. The paths have a nice winding human scale way about them. Wild Cherry and Hawthorn will line the way. As the evening is coming in we walk the rest of the land and see how the river has been fenced off. This is hugely important as the River Slaney is a spawning river and preventing grazing animal access to it will allow re-emergence of wild planting, giving the possibility to the river to re-harmonise as an ecological system. We head away as prepared as we can be for our planting event tomorrow.

On Sunday around 10 o’clock we arrive and prepare the welcome table with our sign-in sheets and the booklet documenting the plans and rationale for the planting today. We then set out the rest of the stakes and begin the process of laying out tree specie in accordance with the plan. The plan has broken the land into 3 zones depending on the likely frequency of flooding. [See full rationale in our previous post]

As people begin to arrive and start planting we give a planting demonstration of our method for planting trees, paying close attention to the nursery line of the tree in order be mindful to plant at the same dept. Nicholas has kindly brought sheep’s-wool and he show’s us how to put it at the base of the roots where it will slowly release nitrogen for the tree. Nicolas learned this is from Joseph Dunne, who is the guardian of the lands in Hollywood, County Wicklow. In Ireland we are only regaining a culture of planting and caring for native woodlands, much knowledge has been lost.

This is one of the key reasons for documenting what we do so we can share knowledge with each other and build upon that knowledge. GreenFriends have planted 250 trees in Hollywood with Joseph last spring and hope to plant between 250 – 500 more on the 21st January 2018.


As we plant we are finding that the ground it is quite compacted having been grazed grasslands for so many years, with that associated management. Ruth has the idea to ask the strong men to go ahead and break ground while the rest of us follow and carefully plant the trees. This works well. We keep going until well over half way done before breaking for lunch.

Once again hot soup and tea on these cold days is most welcome, and lifts our spirits. As does the salad and scrumptious apple crumble! Which was good because it then started to rain. The thing about tree planting, once the date is set, we must go ahead no matter what the weather, so the harsher the day the more help we need! With a quick finish of the lunch we planted the remaining water loving Alder and Willow down by the river.


Heartfelt thanks to all who helped with this planting day, even if you could only plant a few or one tree, to all the children who came along and cheered us up with your presence we are so grateful. We plant trees for our Earth and to care for Earth so our children and generations to come can connect with nature, so for children to be helping with the planting is lovely.We would also like to thank the landowner for being far-sighted enough to give over some space to make a beautiful refuge for wildlife. We are also so appreciative to the Amma Ireland committee for their warmly given consistent support and encouragement.

GreenFriends Rathvilly Carmel talking to Children


The photos from the Drone, illustrate how this land will become a little haven for wild life, where all around for miles is cultivated farmland. It is lovely to work together to give something back to Mother Nature. With our next planting again on the 21st of January, preparation has begun and we are looking forward to it already. Hope to see you there, we wish you a peaceful Christmas and joyful New Year until then.


The GreenFriends woodland + nature reserves team.





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Meelin, Clare, Tallow and Dublin, we are sowing acorns anywhere we can.

[Author: Roisin Byrne, voluntary consultant landscape architect and woodland + nature reserves coordinator for GreenFriends Ireland]

We were on our way into Citywest Hotel Saturday 1st of October, to meet with other volunteers to prepare for Amma’s visit on the 14-15th of October when Noah spotted a mass of acorns under the oak trees. We couldn’t stop right then but as the day went by, we swapped stories with some of the many volunteers of their acorn adventures. To store or sow straight away? How to store? Spacing? Soil? How to transplant? Animals misgive? Frost?

We did sow 160 acorns on 24th of September on the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve. These acorns were selected from just under 200 which we, 6 children and 3 moms, had collected the week before from Tomnafinnoge wood near Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, a beautiful native woodland. [http://tinahely.ie/walking/tomnafinnoge-woods/] We planted these at in a 4-foot turned over bed, a hand span apart. It took three of us just about an hour to turn the bed and 15 minutes to sow the acorns. Many hands make light work, and its more fun too. planting-acorns-in-meelin. The day after that sowing we visited Irelands very first Greenfriend’s woodland, in Corofin, planted 7 years ago. John Fisher, guardian of the woodland said ‘the woodland wouldn’t of happened without the Greenfriends volunteers’ and now the trees are 4-5 meters high, with many the oak among them. john-paddy-noah-in-clare John Fisher, guardian of the Corofin woodland has much experiential based advice for us on our acorn-planting quest. He himself had guerrilla planted oaks in Bristol planting 3 at a time saplings, which had grown from oaks he had sown. He marked where he had planted these on a book. He had been inspired he said by the animation The Man Who Planted Trees https://youtu.be/KTvYh8ar3tc.

Coincidentally Paddy McMahan, guardian of the Meelin woodlands and nature reserve had show us this same video just the day before to inspire us as we were about to plant our acorns.

John and I agree its best to plant straight away where possible. John pointed out its not necessary to be very fussy about spacing, or how much cover the acorns need, these are hardy things. Acorns produce a taproot and so when they emerge, and are ready to transplant that taproot can be cut a little to encourage a more fibrous root ball. Close spacing will encourage to trees to grow upwards too. If storing the acorns should not be allowed to be too moist, or they will rot, nor dry too much that they lose their vitality. Storing in a hessian sac is recommended.

Back in Citywest, Gordan is telling of how some animal wiped out his acorns which he had transplanted after they had germinated. He had found out its a good idea to let the acorns dry on perorated trays in a location where lots of fresh air can move very freely. He just happened to have a nice big bag so we went out to gather acorns, collecting off the paths, discarding the many nibbled ones to gather about 300 or so. Sue and Eefja will plant their 60 or so straightaway when they get to Tallow and Clare. The rest will be carefully stored to prepare them to return to the Greenfriends table at Citywest on the 14th. We’d love to see you there and hear your acorn stories! We all have some knowledge and it’s so nice to share stories of our endeavours to plant trees, after all many hands make light work, and its more fun too.


If you’d like to work together with us, we would be delighted [link]

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