3. Green Spaces and Landscaping 

First impressions make a difference throughout the entire year. We want ot convey to visitors that Johnstown is a great place to live, work, and enjoy. With numerous green spaces, trees, hedges, and verges we can do so much more to enhance and maintain our public spaces. 

Competition Guide Notes:

Communities should demonstrate the following: The planning, design and management of green spaces. The selection and appropriate siting of trees and their ongoing maintenance, including formative pruning, watering and attention to the stakes and ties. Presentation of landscaping of all entrances to your town/village/locality in consultation with your local authority, where appropriate. The use of suitable plants for hedges and shrubs for year round effect is important as is the siting of seasonal bedding schemes where you wish to highlight important areas. The use of plant containers can provide impact where it is not possible to plant directly into the ground. To reduce maintenance tasks limit the use of containers. To demonstrate the year round impact of the landscape works in your community, you are encouraged to provide dated photographs of, for example, daffodil schemes which are not evident in summertime. 

2023-24 Summary

(N) Johnstown Community Biodiversity Action Plan

in 2023 we were delighted receive a €5,000 grant from The Community Foundation For Ireland to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan for Johnstown. 

A series of surveys throughout 2023 by ecologist Fintan Damer highlighted species of flora and fauna and opportunities to support biodiversity. The report has now been produced and we are discussing a plan of action to communicate and implement the proposals.

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May 2nd

(M) Green Km

Our Green (4) Km supported biodiversity for the first time with both longer-grown grass verges and pesticide & herbicide-free pavement and curb weed removal.

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 'Don't Mow Yet' May 27th
Students and Council, December 12th

(M&N) St Martha's Bridge Flower Displays Map Ref 1

For the first time we hosted both Summer and Winter flower display at St Martha's Bridge with both being extremely well received by followers on social media. 

The Summer emphasis was pollininators whilst the over-winter plants added delicate colour during the darker colder months.

Thank you to Navan Garden Centre for the Summer display and Beechmount Garden Centre for creating our first ever autumn display.

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Summer Display

June 26th to November 3rd 2023

Autum, Winter, and Spring Display

November 2023 to June 2024

(M) Sunflower Trail

Following the success of 2022 we took the opportunity to expand and proposed over 50 sites with two routes. The 4 local school students participated in germinating and growing flowers for the public spaces. The local 'Grow Shop' generously donated over 40 compost bags and 10 local residents agreed to germinate an extra 500 seeds in their own gardens for sharing amongst their neighbours' front gardens to fill in the 'trail gaps'.

The weather ultimately decided the success of the trail and the germination of 1400 sunflowers was severly hampered by the very wet and unseasonal cool weather. The small plants were more susceptible to hungry slugs (we didn't encourage slug pellets) and coupled with the slow plant growth the final crop was less than 20%. This resulted in only 16 display sites. 

The 2024 trail has been abandoned due to a number of key volunteers being unavailable during critical months of May, June, and early July. We hope to have the sunflower trail re-established in 2025. 

2023 Sunflower Trail

2023 Logo, April to September

Proposed 2023 Trail

(M) Delay First Lawn Cut

Delaying the first lawn cut of the year isn't easy when Easter keeps moving around and when many decide to revisit their gardens and children want to play outside. Several estate lawns did however benefit and the display of dandelions again turned Johnstown yellow.

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Metges Rd, April 11th

(M) 'No Mow May'

For the 3rd year running, and in collaboration with Wild About Navan, we advocate 'No Mow May' followed by 'Let it Bloom June', and finally 'Grow High July'.

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Perimeter and verge cut at a Spire View estate lawn, May 5th

(N) Helping Neighbouring Groups

Volunteers donated their time and some of our sunflowers to help The Courtyard Flower Hill Residents Group and their Pride of Place Entry.

July 17th

(M) Stop Weedkiller Use

In 2022 we were unsuccessful in obtaining a grant to purchase and operate the Foamstream System but the Council offered assistance collecting the weed debris using their road sweeper. This significantly increased the efficiency and reduced the manhours required to clear 4km of road and 10km of edging during 2023. 

Now in 2024 the Council has offered to maintain the edging along the Green Km stretch using a new brush system that could mean fewer action days manually removing the weeds.

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Students and Council, December 12th

(P&M) More Metges Rd Trees Map Ref 12 & 15

We plan to double the length of the planting area along Metges Road east side and to double it's depth Trees received from MCC in March 2024 have been put into temporary pots ready for planting in the coming days/autumn.

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Metges Rd, April 19th 2023

(P) Bothar Sion Bank Map Ref 2

Our initial proposal for a sculpture and biodiversity planting project in collaboration with Wild About Navan and Cllr Yemi Adenuga, initially proposed to MCC in 2021, is still on hold. The results from an ecology report highlighted the considerable biodiversity value with over 50+ valued species within the banks that meant we should significantly scale back the project. The forthcoming Council elections may determine if funding for this project is available.

(M) Bailis Downs Fence Line Map Ref 4

The Bothar Sion Fence Line Native Irish Wildflowers originally came from an expensive seed packet and since each flower produces hundreds of seeds we've collected these.

The summer's 2nd-year display was quite different to the vivid red poppies. yellow, orange, & blue cornflowers pictured. We intervened to cast a few collected seeds in 2023 to add some vibrant colour but very few germinated but they were noticeable but the grass is overpowering the site.

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Year 1, 2021
Year 2, October 25th, 2022
Year 3, July 26th 2023

(N&P) Estate Marker Stones Map Ref 16

We expected clover in early Spring 2023 but only the native Irish wildflowers appeared, even the Rudbeckia Goldsturm's, previously held back in pots before planting in July, didn't appreciate the soil or location.

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Johnstown Wood Roundabout, August 31st 2022
August 23rd 2023

(M) Wild Area Map Ref 13

A completely 'wild' area where we're doing very little except to leave the space alone to see what grows. After walking the site with the Biodiversity Plan ecologist we have agreed to 'do nothing' to the site until we receive feedback from his report.

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Johnstown Wood, Spring 2022

(M) Chestnut & Elm Estate Summer Meadows Map Ref 15

Now into our 3rd season it is visble to passing vehicles along the busy Metges Road and is quite accepted by the public with no complaints received. The sea of dandelions soon swells with grasses, we edge the plot with our lawn mower, and it severely cut back in September. A mix up with the grass contractor meant we lost the vast majority of yellow rattle. 

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 April 15th
One foot tall grasses, occasional weeds, and early sighting of yellow rattle. May 25th
September 13th

(M) Spireview Lawn Summer Meadow Map Ref 24

Yellow rattle thrived here made a brief appearance before turning brown for autumn harvesting by volunteers.

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Yellow rattle flowers, May 18th

(M) Spireview Parade Summer Meadow Map Ref 25

We have left the area to Mother Nature since it is not resolved for us to manage the site as a summer meadow. This is still benefiting biodiversity although cutting it in September is the concerning issue.

 The unloved area where we offered to manage a summer meadow in 2022 to resolve the issues of the lack of commitment to regular traditional maintenance has yet to be embraced. The occasional attempt to cut back the grass by residents has not had the financial support of any residents and therefore the longer grass is returning, albeit unmanaged.

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(M) Kilcarn Bridge Field Map Ref 32

Benefiting biodiversity by being natural the owner is continuing to let mother nature take over.

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