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The local community is also being recruited into this green militia. “People can grow anything here in the garden, bar cannabis. We are giving away onion bulbs and seeds – people can drop down and collect them. We’ll arm them to green their own areas. Anyone can be a social botanist.”
Today, rock ‘n’ roll gardener Neal Wright – a Belfast-born drummer who moved to Inchicore 15 years ago and plays in vampire metal and jazz bands – is busy with his shovel outside. Viki put the word around Inchicore that she needed a local part-time gardener around the time gigs got quiet, so Neal has been gardening here since March and drops in when he’s not homeschooling his children.
When restrictions allow, he also gives garden tours, helping visitors pick botanicals for their drinks.
“The garden outside was a wasteland – shockingly derelict – and, when we started at it, people said it’d only get wrecked, but locals really appreciate having it on their doorstep,” he says. “We had graffiti once and someone stole the head of a scarecrow, but that was it.”
Soon, Neal will plant lavender and herb meadows on either side of the river’s slanting banks. “This year we’ll have lots of juniper, gooseberries, blackberries and the lavender will take away the stink from the river in the summer. I’ve a water feature for frogs going in and an English garden with hanging trees, with a bench for locals to enjoy a cup of tea.”
Pat points up at beehives on the warehouse roof and reveals that the wild honey from these Inchicore bees will be used in Luke’s Bees Knees cocktail.
“An old lady came back from Tesco one day and put in little yellow plants and she loves to come and sit here. A little lad went home with sweetcorn. It doesn’t belong to us – it belongs to everyone in Inchicore,” Pat says.