How Irish families can cultivate nature in their own gardens

  • New Department-funded book encourages biodiversity in our two million gardens
  • Biodiversity in the Garden is part of wider Action Plan to promote nature through local authorities
  • Next funding round closes May 29th


Irish families can play their part in encouraging nature, inviting birds, butterflies, bees and wildflowers into their gardens. And small steps could make a huge difference to the country’s biodiversity, with a massive total of 145,000 hectares spread among our two million gardens.

A new book, funded by the Department’s National Biodiversity Action Plan Grant scheme, offers practical tips for all ages to bring their gardens to life. Biodiversity in the Garden book focuses on fun, practical family-friendly projects, but the wider message is that we all have a responsibility to act to halt biodiversity loss.

The brainchild of Juanita Browne, the book was produced by Laois County Council with the assistance of Local Authority Heritage Officers across Ireland, with support from the Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Heritage Council. Taking a very practical approach, the book details projects to help wildlife of all kinds under a range of headings, with tasks suitable for everyone from the total beginner to the more ambitious DIY enthusiast.

With clear instructions and step-by-step drawings by illustrator Barry Reynolds, the guide offers the gardener lots of options to help our biodiversity. A colouring book for children using the beautiful garden wildlife illustrations by Barry Reynolds has also been produced, available here.

Speaking today, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, said: “Initiatives at local level can have a profound effect on our nation’s biodiversity, and I welcome the publication of the book and colouring booklet, which will help families to promote nature in an educated, but fun, way.”

The book is part of a wider scheme to encourage biodiversity. Following on from the publication of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 the (NPWS) announced in 2018 the availability of targeted funding for local authorities to implement the Plan. This grant funding aims mainstream biodiversity into decision-making across all sectors, and to raise awareness of biodiversity in local authority areas through: participatory workshops; development of media, or online/social media products; information/training sessions; or collaborative projects to enhance biodiversity and biodiversity awareness at the local level.

Laois County Council booklet on Biodiversity in the garden was just one of the 38 projects awarded in 2019. Some of the others were:

  • Kildare and Cavan County Council’s implementation of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.
  • Wexford County Council’s development of ‘marine non-native invasive species control plans for the ports, harbours and quays in Wexford.
  • Cork County Council’s Invasive Alien Species Management Project for the Bride Valley Waterways.
  • Longford County Council’s North Longford Native Tree Nursery.
  • Sligo and Limerick County Councils both tackling the issue of Giant Hogweed.

A new round of funding is available in 2020, Local Authorities have until 29th May 2020 to apply for funding for Biodiversity projects. Please contact biodiversitypolicy@chg.gov.ie for further information.



Gardening for Biodiversity Booklet



Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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