The lockdown and social distancing has made a video star of gardening tutor Linda Gilsenan! Maybe a reluctant video star, but she does include videos from her own garden in her Design Your Own Garden night class in Boyne Community School, Trim, Co Meath.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the school is offering a mix of face-to-face and online classes on Monday nights in the Autumn term. Linda’s Design Your Own Garden night class will be online.
A designer of wildlife-friendly gardens for individuals, community groups, and companies, she is an organic gardener passionate about biodiversity. “With the videos, I can bring people into the garden, show them what I am talking about, and then they can ask questions afterwards.”
Examples of her recent work include designing planting beds for biodiversity with a Tidy Towns group and a webinar on how to propagate plants. “You have to adapt – as gardeners, we’re not really into technology, we want to be outdoors, growing things. There’s a lot of work in the videos – my husband videos me talking and is able to get close-ups of the work involved in the garden.”
Interest in garden spaces
Gardening experienced something of a renaissance during the lockdown earlier in 2020. “Because people were at home then – and may be at home again next Spring – they wanted their gardens to look nice. They saw the garden as a social space and started to look at it more creatively.”
But deciding what you want in and from your garden takes a little analysis. “In the class, we start from scratch. So, I get them to observe their garden space in terms of where the sun shines, what shelter is there, what way does the wind blow.
“I ask them what they want from the garden. Is it a play area? Do they want to sit in the sun or the shade? Is there a clothes line, a shed? What do they want the garden to do?
“If you’re designing a garden, look at where you spend you time inside when you are looking out? If you want flowers and colour, place them right beside your house so you’ll see them and be able to keep an eye on them in terms of maintenance.
“In the class, we look at the sun, soil types, the types and size of plants, trees, and shrubs, flowers and bulbs, climbing plants.”
Biodiversity is a huge interest for Linda, and she points to the loss of hedgerows and hay meadows as a concern. “Plants are great for wildlife, and fruits trees for pollinators. We wouldn't have apples without bees pollinating – as humans, we want to be out and about in nature and our gardens, and we can do that without hindering biodiversity.”
A former operations manager in the The Sanctuary, a meditation centre for social change in the heart of Dublin city, Linda used to teach gardening courses and has brought that ethos with her into her work.
In the Spring, she will deliver an Organic Gardening class in Boyne CS, focusing on vegetables, fruit, and herbs.
And, with biodiversity and the natural world coming more to the fore every day, her classes are right on trend!
You’ll find Linda Gilsenan, Wild Way Garden Design, on Instagram.
Details of night classes offered by Boyne Community School are available on the Adult Education Department’s website and Facebook.