Following a recent trip to the Delta Gardens on the outskirts of Carlow Town by members of the Newbridge Family Resource Centre (FRC) Men’s Sensory Garden Group, Martin Kelly writes:
The members of the FRC Sensory Garden group met at the Centre, bright and early before setting off on the relatively short journey to Carlow Town, where these extraordinary gardens are located. From the moment we entered the Delta’s Visitor Centre, we sensed that we were in for a treat. After a brief outline of the gardens, we embarked on our tour of discovery. It certainly proved a sensational excursion for all concerned.
Just like children in a sweet shop we took off very enthusiastically and while some members of our group have previous knowledge of gardening and could identify many of the plants and herbaceous shrubs, we were having difficulty in coming to terms with most of the phenomenal ornamentation. However, before too long we stumbled across a Delta Gardener called Angela and she put lots of little things into perspective for our enquiring minds.
As this was tiring work and after an early start, we adjourned to relish a very hearty lunch in the Delta food hall which catered for our disparate tastes. Now fully replete, we didn’t wait to sample the Delta’s delicious homemade desserts, and because of time constraints, everyone was anxious to head back out to complete the Delta Garden experience.
Fortunately, we came across awesome Angela again and given that some of our members have a visual impairment, Angela offered to take us on a more comprehensive journey around the five Senses Garden areas, which we truly benefited from.
This included our good Leader (Luke) volunteering to step on the representational ear to hear a beautiful nightingale sing a pretty tune for him. We were taken on a virtual touch tour of the area and even got to taste a variety of the plants, in this sensational garden.
The Celtic Walk, accessible to every one
We had earlier experienced several of the themed gardens from the formal Rose Garden, to the Peace Garden, the Circle of Life: the Stolen Child and the Wellness garden. Not surprisingly, there is now a Memorial Garden to commemorate the period from 1916 to the present day. The Celtic Walk around the gardens is purposely designed to make the whole experience accessible to everyone and wheelchair users can move around the many gardens with ease.
As we subsequently discovered, the various impressive freestanding limestone features were the creation of Bob or “Bob the Builder” as described to us. Angela also managed to dig up “Bob the Builder” and he was more than happy to share with us his ideas around the numerous creations, which are fundamental to the Delta Gardens. Bob answered a range of telling questions from the group before going on to describe the piece of limestone that he was currently working on which will find its way into one of the themed gardens as it evolves into a large tree.
Angela then accompanied us to the Poly Tunnel area where a vast array of plants are under cultivation and will shortly find their way to the Delta Garden shop. After this insight into plant horticulture, we then made our way to the Delta Green House and once again Angela explained how the latest collections of various seeds were starting out on their seasonal plant lives.
Unfortunately, the thief of time had caught up with us and it was time to once again re-join our transport and for Darin to take us back to Newbridge and our own fertile space, now armed with a myriad of fresh ideas to assist us in the creation and cultivation of the Newbridge FRC Men’s Sensory Garden.