Belfast Telegraph

Seeds replace CDs as disc jockeys give growing of wild flowers a spin

By Linda Stewart

Two breakfast radio presenters are battling it out to see who can plant the best floral display – DJ style.

Cool FM DJs Gareth Stewart and Connor Phillips are getting their hands dirty to help a new wild flower planting initiative across Northern Ireland.

They have been busy putting their own distinctive stamps on the new plant displays at the station, with Connor employing two speakers used in the first Cool FM studio. He potted wild flowers in the speaker drums in what he is calling his 'stere-grow'.

Meanwhile, Gareth, who is also a popular club DJ, brought along two of his music cases before filling them with soil and planting flowers in what he has labelled his 'seed-e-cases'.

Both flower displays will be put on display in the radio station's reception and the two hosts have become more than a little competitive over whose efforts will get the most attention.

Gareth said: "I'm new to this sort of thing but it's been great fun getting to know about wild flowers and using it as an opportunity to be creative and to spruce up the station.

"Over the next few weeks and months it's going to be brilliant seeing my seed-e-cases in bloom – I'm sure they'll be the star of the show."

Connor said: "Grow Wild has put a huge smile on my face – what a fun way to improve your surroundings.

"I can't wait to see my flowers shoot up. It's been a great laugh so far – the only thing that will make it better is when my stere-grow turns out much better than Gareth's attempt."

The DJs are greening their fingers to take part in Grow Wild, a £10.5m programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Botanic Gardens in Kew to inspire people to sow, grow and support UK wild flowers.

Eight community groups in Northern Ireland have been awarded funding, including a walled garden and wild flower meadow on Belle Isle Estate in Fermanagh, regeneration of a neglected urban space in west Belfast, and a bluebell walk and local history project in the village of Benburb.

Seed kits have also been distributed for free to 1,200 groups in the province who signed up for the Royal Botanical Gardens project, while a further 6,000 seed packs have been posted out to individuals.

Stephanie Baine, Northern Ireland partnership mManager for Grow Wild, said: "As well as helping our wild flowers to flourish and bring life to unloved spaces, Grow Wild is about people re-connecting with the natural world."

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI director, said: "Grow Wild is about making connections."

Further details about Grow Wild can be found on or via social media.


Grow Wild wants to inspire three million people to sow wild flower seeds and share results through social media. Thousands of groups across the UK have already signed up to receive special Grow Wild seed kits. In April, 80 special Grow Wild projects received funding to help them transform unloved spaces.

Belfast Telegraph


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