Johnstown Sunflower Trail 2023

Each year we endeavor to engage more members of the community in trying to help build a better place to 'Bee'.

Our Aims

The iconic sunflower catches everyone's attention and our previous displays have highlighted the lack of any other colourful flowers in our public spaces.

2. Engage the community in supporting biodiversity.

Sunflowers were chosen because of their large noticeable iconic shape, they are easy to grow, and they easily bring a smile to people of all ages. They can provide a neighbourhood theme and, being of great benefit to wildlife, they work towards creating connected bee corridors.

Building on the success, and learnings, of the past 2 annual trails we continmue to propose new locations with easterly and southerly facing locations, all in prominent locations close to footpaths and where nearby businesses or residents would help to plant and water the flowers.

Staff and students at our 4 nearest schools, St Stephen's National School, Colaiste na Mi Secondary School, St Mary's Special School and Ard Ri Community National School, were approached and they welcomed the opportunity to be involved in germinating and growing hundreds of seeds until ready for planting.

This year we're asking local residents from different estates along the trail to germinate and grow hundreds of seeds for distribution to residents. These households along the route can then participate by growing them in their own front gardens.

We have created a street poster with QR codes to direct interested members of the public to our website for more information.

We will encourage trail followers to photograph and record any wildlife or insects seen feeding on the plants.

3. Create a Walking and Cycle Trail.

Following mainly public roads and paths the looped +10km trail is part of our Healthy Living Plan to encourage and promote walking and cycling. The recently opened Milbrook and Johnstown Wood pedestrian 'Gap' access path means that we don't need to rely on the loop route through the IDA. This is good news since the IDA closes the Bothar Sion gates on weekends.

In the Summer we plan to team up with the Navan Cycling Initiative group to further promote this. 

If our germination and planting prove successful we aim to participate this August in the national Heritage Week by hosting Johnstown's first event.

4. Sustainability

2022 Trail Review

2023 Timeline





July to September



Potential Locations


2023 Gallery

Updates will be added throughout the project

A very big Thank You to The Grow Shop for providing the compost.

Our thanks to Beechmount Garden Centre for obtaining the seeds for us.

April 27th

Germination Time

Today we distributed compost and seeds to staff and students at St Marys Special School, Ard Ri, and St Stephens Primary Schools. Colaiste Na Mi Secondary School will soon hopefully join them in germinating 800 sunflowers for this year's Johnstown Sunflower Trail.

We'll also soon be asking members of the community to help germinate a further 800 to fill in the gaps between our display sites to make the trail even more exciting.

May 13th

Germination Team

Volunteers quickly came forwards to germinate sunflower seeds on mass. Each has a compost bag with 40 seeds to care for and between the dozen resident volunteer growers we hope to have over 1,000 plants to add to our 2023 Sunflower Trail.

Pictured is an ingenious bird and pet defense barrier plus an eagle eye to keep the slugs away.

June 22nd

Sunflower Sapplings

Our Sunflower Grow Team are nurturing the seedlings and we hope to see them planted out by resident groups in the coming weeks.

June 27th

School Sunflowers

'Thank You' to Darragh and all the students and staff at Ard Ri NS for growing over 200 sunflowers for our trail.

July 11th

Planting Begins

Delaying the planting by 2 weeks compared to previous years has allowed some of the sunflowers to shoot up.

You can follow our planting progress here and of course see the sites yourself.

July 11th

Kentstown Rd 'Welcome Sign'

July 11th

Bailis Downs Metges Rd Entry

July 11th

The Boyne JPP entrance.

July 12th

Johnstown School Campus

This year we included the fenceline and roundabout.

September 1st

O'Briens Johnstown Village

September 1st

Chestnut Close

September 1st

Navan Tenis Club

Sept 23

Sunflowers popped up unexpectedly throughout estates.

2023 Trail

Despite great planning and effort only 16 of the sites made it into flower along an 8.5km trail that could take nearly 2hrs to walk / 30min cycle.

Great plans were made but there's no guarantee of success, yet we still made a noticeable positive impact with this year's display. The last-minute decision to withhold planting until close to flowering meant that we made the most of our displays.

The review will see that Mother Nature had the final say on the scale of the 2023 trail, very wet weather favoured the slugs, lost sunshine from June to August also reduced the crop production to a fifth, and the significant increase in volunteers heading away for summer holidays made maintenance commitments difficult. 

Previous Trails

With community help each year our trail grows bigger and stronger.

Contact us if you would like to get involved and lend a hand.

Sustainable Development Goals

This project has connections with the following categories: