Courtlands News

Lovely post from Joanne, Dublin City Council – please read this!

By July 5, 2023 July 7th, 2023 No Comments

Here’s an interesting message from Dublin City Council:

Good afternoon everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know that the North Central Area judging for the City Neighbourhood competition was completed in June and the winners from each category have been sent on to DCC’s Litter Management Office to compete against the winners from the other 4 Dublin City Council Administrative Areas. The citywide judging will take place in July.

The North Central Area is spectacular and the amount of community input is outstanding. We are an area with a strong focus on the environment, biodiversity & sustainability and this was evident during the judging. A huge well done to all who entered the competition this year and I hope that those of you who did not enter will consider entering next year.

I will be in touch soon with a confirmed date & venue for the North Central Area Awards night which will take place in September J

***While we were out judging we noticed that a lot of communities are still putting boxes around the bases of trees. We don’t encourage the use of boxes so I asked one of our gardeners in St. Anne’s Park to give me some suggestions for plants for tree pits without a little box being built around the tree. We also noticed beautiful flowers growing out of cracks in paths and bases of walls which were so beautiful and eye catching and great for biodiversity ( I attach some photos) The list below is based on plants that self-seed easily into cracks in paths and walls and thrive with very little soil or maintenance. These are all plants that she has seen do well in tree pits around the city.

The key with planting into these pits is to use very small plants as it will be very hard to dig into the soil due to the tree roots. Smaller plants will have a much stronger chance of taking root once they are kept watered in the weeks after planting.


Antirrhinum – I would try these as direct sown rather than as plants. Simply harvest the dried seed heads from established plants and scatter over the tree pit once the pit has been weeded and the soil scuffed up.

Verbena bonariensis – I have seen these absolutely thriving in tree pits where they have self-seeded from neighbouring gardens. I would try as direct sown or as very immature plants for the best chance at success.

Campanula carpatica or campanula poscharskyana are great rockery plants that often thrive in cracks in walls so the dry environment of a tree pit is perfect for them.

Stachys byzantine – lamb’s ear. Divides very easily and not difficult to establish from small divisions. Great groundcover for dry sunny tree pits. Will not like shady spots.

Hardy geraniums – establish as small divisions from mature plants. Great groundcover.

Erigeron karvinskianus – Mexican flea bane – small daisy like flowers that self-seed very well. If you get a couple established on a road they will spread so easily and look incredible, growing out of cracks in walls and pavements and in the neighbouring gardens.

Erigeron glaucus – bright pink flowers that will be a carpet of blooms all summer.

Poppy – the field poppy, Papaver rhoeas do very well in dry poor soil so will establish well in tree pits once the soil is scuffled a bit. Harvest seed from ripe seedheads and scatter liberaly on the soil.

Cetranthus rubra – red valerian – seen in abundance in coastal areas and establishes very easily from seed.

Linaria purpurea – Purple toadflax – a beautiful purple wildflower that will spread very easily and requires very little maintenance.

Diascia and nemesia are two bedding plants that I have seen thrive in tree pits also and will often survive for a few years providing we do not have a very hard winter. They are both very easy to propagate from cuttings.

All of these plants are pollinator friendly.

Note: I am currently working with the team in St. Anne’s Park and we hope to organise a propagation workshop in St. Anne’s Park in early September which we will be inviting you all to attend.  

With best wishes



Joanne Kelly (O’Sullivan) I Acting Environmental Liaison Officer

North Central Area Office, Dublin City Council, Northside Civic Centre,

Bunratty Road, Coolock, Dublin 17.

Phone: (01)2228541 I  087 2868325 | * I