Magheralin Parish’s community garden, designed to be a place of quiet reflection and contemplation, officially opened on Friday (November 18).
Having been awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pollinator Garden Award, a grant of £100,000 in May of this year, the parish project for The Garden of Reflection aimed to create a space to be shared and enjoyed by pollinators and people alike, a place of beauty to be still and enjoy creation.
At the official opening, Magheralin Parish thanked all those who were involved in the project, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for providing the grant and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful for the administration and continued advice and support throughout the project. Thanks was also given to the designers, Waddington-McClure, the garden contractors, New Landscapes and the children from Maralin Village Primary School and St Patrick’s, Magheralin who helped plant bulbs.
Also present at the opening were Bishop David McClay, Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart, representatives of the church select vestry, the garden committee and Magheralin Community Association.
Rev Simon Genoe said: “The piece of land beside us was something of a wasteland in the middle of our lovely village, but
hope it now becomes a place that the whole community can be proud of. This is a place for everyone and we hope that it encourages a buzz of both wildlife and of people to spend time here.
"Given the occasion for this garden was the jubilee, we found it fitting that the Queen’s favourite psalm, included in both her wedding and her funeral services, would be a part of the garden.
"Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar of all scriptures, known by Christians and non-Christians alike. It describes an experience of being guided, cared for and refreshed by the presence of God through the legs of life’s journey, including lying down in green pastures. We want this garden to be a place that is good for nature where life flourishes, and we also want it to be good for people, where their physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing flourishes too.”
Carla Lockhart MP praised the parish for spearheading the transformational project for community benefit.
"To walk around this wonderful community garden of reflection and take in just how beautiful it is, makes it hard to believe that this area was largely waste ground that served no purpose only a short few months ago,” she said.
"This space is now available for the community to use, and I have no doubt that it will be used extensively. So much thought has gone into the design, with so many lovely features.
"This transformation has been made possible with support from funding from DAERA, who created this funding steam under the instruction of Edwin Poots MLA as Minister. Certainly this project has proved to be money well spent, with a long lasting community benefit.
"I pay tribute to the team at Magheralin Parish for leading this project to such a successful conclusion, particularly Judith Kinnen who did so much to turn an idea into a reality. I would encourage everyone in the area to use this space.”