Wildlife Garden & Raised Beds
Conservation Service Raised Beds and Herb Circle
The Conservation team’s own Vegetable, Herb and Flower Garden at the back of the Discovery Centre has been in operation for 6 years. It was set up in 2010 with the aim of showing staff and visitors how easy it is to grow their own produce and garden for wildlife. Over the years the area has developed and now includes nine fully planted raised beds growing a variety of vegetables and flowers. The herb circle has also been used to grow herbs that are regularly used in the Loughside Café. Potatoes, spinach, beetroot and onions are all on the menu for the Discovery Centre’s kitchen staff and are used in a variety of dishes served for the public to enjoy.
The area is fenced off and includes 2 interpretive panels that visitors to the site can avail of. The Education team also use the area in their education and events programmes, showing schools and groups what to plant. The area also contains a range of pollen and nectar rich plant species close by to encourage insects into the area, which in turn will pollinate many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables found in the raised beds.
The wildlife garden close to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre was a hive of activity in 2010 as staff from the Conservation Service worked to improve the area with a variety of new and exciting features.
The original wildlife garden was developed many years ago by a local wildlife club who created a butterfly garden in the shape of Lough Neagh. Over time the area has been added to, creating somewhere for visitors to get close to nature.
In 2010 a revamp of the area took place with several new features being designed and built, aimed at helping visiting schools and groups gain ideas on how to benefit biodiversity in their own gardens and school grounds.
Many of the features found in the wildlife garden can be built and placed in school grounds to help children get the most out of learning outside the classroom. These include a Butterfly Garden, Compost Heap, Habitat Piles, Log Pile Bench, Willow Dome, Minibeast Hotel and a Pond.