Bailis Downs Fence Line

Initiated 2020

Transformed by volunteers into a colourful wildflower strip the fence line looks so much better now that weed killer use has stopped and replaced with a long-term feature that supports biodiversity.

We think you'll agree with us about which looks better.

For several years this was the summer scene showing weed killer use. Hopefully, it's now a thing of the past and never to be repeated. 

Residents of Bailis Downs helped to transform the fence line not only to enhance the area but to act as a barrier to stop the litter from blowing into their estate. 

Irish wildflower seeds can only be purchased from a handful of suppliers. Please read the label carefully and ensure it says Native Irish Wildflower Seeds. 

Another tell-tale sign will be the packet price - they are more expensive than most others. 

Volunteers carried out seed harvesting in late summer and early autumn largely collecting poppies and cornflowers seeds. Some were retained for reseeding and some were given to volunteers to use in their gardens. 

Autumn and Spring are the best times to sow native Irish wildflower seeds and they are great alternatives around trees, street signs, lamposts, walls, and fences.

It was decided not to cut back the stems in autumn 2021 since they continued to provide the litter trap for easier waste collection, and they offered habitats to overwintering insects. Therefore weeding out grass took place in spring to ensure space for the wildflowers. The lawn edge was neatly mowed and edged and the spent flower stems were then shaken to release any final seeds before being cleared for composting.

After reviewing the article advocating not to sow more wildflower seeds in favour of natural local wildflowers. 

We can also help estates to manage long grass areas, commit to reducing the frequency of estate lawn cuts, plant more trees, and create more planting areas. Send in pictures of locations where we could help improve Johnstown's biodiversity instead of letting it be killed off with poison and traditional practices that hinder it.

In 2021, as part of the 'Green Km Initiative', Meath County Council stopped spraying weed killer in Johnstown's public areas. Any signs of scorched earth are now being caused by individuals, resident groups, and businesses. The alternatives are not quick, or easy, but together we can help to stop the use of poisonous weed killer. 

2022 Progress

June 3rd

Verge Cutting

Meath County Council aims to cut verges every 4 weeks but we needed to distinguish between grass and intentional wildflower planting.

September 1st

Long Verge Cut

An unplanned, yet very welcomed, development during the summer months was the 'Let it Grow' verge on Bothar Sion at the Bailis Downs estate. 

Today it was cut and cleared having been let grow since May. This protected the wildflower strip and helped trap litter that would otherwise be blown across the estate lawn. 

October 25th

Colour Set to Return

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.

This summer's 2nd-year display of perennial wildflowers dominated the strip with mainly white flowers interjected by spears of yellow Mullen. This was quite different from the vivid red poppies. yellow, orange, & blue cornflowers previously seen in 2021

This Autumn we by cast a few collected seeds after cutting back and clearing the spent stems.

Plan for 2023

It will be interesting to see if the harvested wildflower seeds sown in Autumn add colour with poppies and cornflowers to allow more seed harvesting later in the year. We're also hoping that the existing perennial wildflowers can prevent the grass from returning.

No additional colourful corn or poppies had arrived by June 5th 2023.

The triangular grass lawn between the pavement and the fence is not walked on and during 2022 we managed the verge as a long meadow. This was only possible since it didn't grow quickly but an alternative will be to remove the grass completely and sow clover as a low-maintenance flowering ground cover that provides for pollinators.

Sustainable Development Goals

This project has connections with the following categories: