Gardening for the Future - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Gardening for the Future

A series of workshops exploring how we can help to combat climate change in our gardens and growing spaces

Monday 11 December 2023 | 7pm - 9pm

Admission: Free

Book Tickets

This workshop and event series is part of David Beattie's project Future Light from Distant Stars. A working greenhouse, workshop space and light installation.

Food Waste

Monday 11th December, 7pm - 9pm

Healthy Eating Without Costing the Earth – how to avoid the marketing pitfalls and reduce our food waste. What influences food choices, and do we really know what we are eating or where it came from? Why is food processed and what are the alternatives? Join Dee Sewell for this participatory workshop that looks at our food systems. It might help us waste less food throughout the coming season too as we make decisions about whether we really need it!

Dee Sewell Bio:

Social, Community, Therapeutic Horticultural & Environmental Education

Dee created Greenside Up in 2009 to help promote the grow your own ethos and raise environmental awareness. With over 13 years of experience behind her, Dee has worked with a wide range of social, community and therapeutic projects in Ireland.

Trading as Greenside Up, Dee helps people to garden using organic principles, to consider biodiversity and food waste, and to live more co-sufficient lifestyles with an emphasis on social, community and therapeutic gardening. She has a wide reaching network that can link people together, believing that:

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much – Helen Keller

Tickets are free but should be booked in advance

Previous dates:

Weeding without Chemicals – slides, talk & walk

Saturday 4th March, 11am - 1pm

A talk from Dee Sewell of Greenside Up.

Dee will discuss the issues surrounding the use of chemical weedkillers and the alternative solutions. This will be followed by a walk around Visual to identify weeds and look at alternative solutions that don’t include weed killers.

Gardening for Biodiversity – Wildflowers and Mowing Techniques

Tuesday 4th April, 10am -12pm

Join Molly Aylesbury and Dee Sewell for a talk with slides and a demonstration around wildflowers and mowing techniques. There is a global biodiversity crisis with scientists predicting that nearly 40% of all species will face extinction by the end of this century. There are many practical measures we can personally take to help the wider community of life within our own gardens and local areas. Dee Sewell and Molly Aylesbury will share these with a talk and walk around VISUAL and the Carlow College grounds.

Container Planting

Tuesday 23rd May, 7pm-9pm

Given the biodiversity crisis, the advice is to move away from filling our gardens, villages and towns with plants that don’t support a healthy insect and pollinator population. In preparation for the summer months, Dee will be demonstrating how to plant up pollinator friendly containers with flowers and edibles. Participants will have an opportunity to plant up and take home their own container.

Tickets for this event must be booked in advance.

€20 ticket includes plants, compost and your own container to take away.

Bees: creating happy environments for solitary bees

Sat, 17th June 11am – 1pm

There are 101 bee species in Ireland and 79 of those are solitary and require different nesting habitats. Planting for these pollinators is more urgent than ever! During this practical workshop, we will take a tour of the potential nesting sites within the grounds of VISUAL and visit VISUAL's bee hives. Carlow Beekeepers will also give a talk about honeybees and how their communities work, feed and interact.

Garden Pests - How to Ditch the Chemicals

Saturday 8th July, 11am to 1pm

During this workshop, Dee Sewell will look at different methods we can use in our gardens to dissuade other creatures from eating our plants. Whether we want to deter slugs and aphids, or encourage Bats & Hedgehogs, this will be a talk and walk session in VISUAL, the greenhouse and surrounding grounds.

Conserving Water & Irrigation Techniques – Heritage Week Event

Wednesday 16th August, 2pm – 4pm

As our climate changes we don’t know whether to expect flood or drought, but we can future proof our gardens with a few rainwater capturing solutions. Adding a pond to our garden is one of the best things we can do for biodiversity. Our guest Ann Phelan from LAWPRO, we will explore everything from ponds to rain gardens, bog ponds, along with rainwater harvesting.

Seed Saving & Seed Sovereignty

Saturday 23rd September, 2pm - 4pm

A food revolution starts with Seed! The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme is sowing a biodiverse, ecologically sustainable and resilient seed system. During this month’s gardening for the future workshop special guest Jo Newton, author of A Seed Saving Handbook for Ireland, will be joining us, collecting seeds and providing us all with an opportunity to learn about the importance of this most precious of things.

Jo Newton has been an organic grower for over 30 years, living as sustainably as possible on a small holding in Clare. Seed is a key part of growing good sustainably and she has been saving her own crop seed over the years.

She worked for 20 years co ordinating the growing, harvesting, threshing and storing of 200 crops each year, for the Irish Seed Bank, conserving and protecting heritage varieties and Irish crop diversity.

Jo is looking forward to sharing her knowledge with gardeners and growers of Carlow, including practical seed saving demonstrations together with seed sovereignty in a bigger context. There will be time for questions and discussion and plenty of seed to share!


Saturday 21st October, 11am - 1pm

Dave Beecher will host a live soil demo on screen with microscope showing us the micro worlds of soil. We will look at composting techniques – talk, slides, practical. As we learn more about the living creatures within the soil and how they feed our plants, we need to source organic matter to feed our soils. We will look at some examples of effective composting techniques and discuss best ways to create and manage our heaps.

Dave is the Field Officer with Danú Farming Group and is involved in researching the benefits of Biological Farming in an Irish context. He has a long-term commitment to supporting farmers in their transition to Biological/Regenerative farming and has a keen interest in soil health and its connection with plant, animal, human, and ultimately planetary health. He is currently enrolled in a Masters in Organic & Biological Agriculture at SETU.


Saturday 18th November, 11am - 1pm

It’s bare root season so time to plant our trees! If you’re not sure how, or why it’s so important that we choose wisely, then plant as many as we can, join us for this talk and practical demonstration.

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