Owen Hanover and Erin Krasniqi at the new sensory garden being created. Photo: Brian Lougheed

Sensory garden in the making at Cope Foundation

Previously unused ground is being transformed into a sensory garden in Cork city.

The garden is being created at the Cope Foundation in Montenotte and is next to Beech Hill Garden Centre. It will include features and plants that stimulate the senses through touch, sight, scent, taste and hearing.

Raised beds have been constructed and have already been filled with herbs, plants and flowers. There are plans to further develop the garden during 2022 by adding water features and more vegetables and herbs. The project is a collaboration between the charity and Trigon Hotels. Cope Foundation is the hotel group’s charity partner for 2021.

Volunteers from both Trigon Hotels and Cope Foundation have agreed to tend to the garden.

Shane O’Sullivan is a student at Cope Foundation and took part in the planting day. He said: “I really enjoyed the planting and meeting the people from Trigon Hotel. I hope the plants and seeds we planted will grow well and I will look after them.”

Jo-Anne Higgins, Communications and Fundraising Manager with Cope Foundation, said: “Various lockdowns curtailed our progress but we were able to finally put our plan into action during the autumn. We cleared out the space and replaced the raised beds making them ready for the Trigon Hotels team and horticulture students to fill them with plants to delight the senses.

“Our expert horticulturists from Beech Hill Garden Centre coordinated the planting day and are kindly overseeing the various initiatives. We have also planted some micro vegetable seeds in the Garden Centre's polytunnel and we are looking forward to watching these grow.

“We have big plans for spring when we can further develop the sensory garden, plant more vegetables and herbs together and use these to create delicious dishes.”

Denis Mangan, a horticultural tutor with Cope Foundation, said: “Horticulture is a hugely popular subject in our Further Education and Training Programme and has always played an important role in Cope Foundation's skills development work. It is great to have the opportunity to grow together with the team in Trigon Hotels - we are learning from each other and having a shared interest in plants, herbs, and vegetables means we are doing something we all enjoy.

“We all had a very pleasant morning when planting up the new sensory garden at the Beech Hill Garden Centre. Our ongoing activities will be of tremendous benefit, allowing for opportunities to engage in physical activity and social interaction. We at Cope Foundation are looking forward to a busy sustainable spring with the growing of fresh healthy organic produce with the Trigon Hotel team.”