Martin’s been coming to Allens Gardens pretty much every week since he turned up to volunteer two years ago. And if he doesn’t come to work for the day, he always tries to make it for lunch time…
Why do you like coming?
I love gardening, it’s great exercise, good company and great craic*.
And what do you like doing most?
I started off doing lots of the growing stuff – weeding, cropping etc. – but now I’ve taken a ‘visiting gardener’ role: tidying the yard, the ‘art direction’ of the site, so letting in the light, cutting back the elders, building the netting over the fruit trees…I tend to ‘garden’ the site and let the growers focus on the food growing. And I enjoy it. Strangely I am not so into growing veg but it is nice to be around people who like growing organically.
Anything you don’t like?
No, nothing. All positives.
And what do you do in the rest of your time?
I work at Games Monitor (which is why it’s so important he gets a rest from the computer monitor!)
Something else that Martin brings to the site is his passion for the robin, and I’ve loved how much he has taught me about this territorial, vociferous yet eloquent bird. He spent a long time taming it to take food off his hand, coming to the Allens Gardens regularly with his film canister of yummy maggots, so that it became totally familiar with him.
The day I interviewed Martin (8 Sept) was the first time he had seen it again in a long time – it spent the summer gadding about with a lady friend – so he was delighted that it was in such good shape. He tells me that it is moving towards winter mode, so is being friendly again to its potential source of food. Cheeky opportunist…
Amongst his other talents, Martin’s also a keen photographer. This is one of his photos.
* craic is Gaelic for what we get up to at lunch time…talking sense and nonsense at the same time…