Cabinteely Community Seed Ark

News Type 
Thursday, September 5, 2019
Intro Text 

Planting pollinators is an effective way to support biodiversity in your local area. Insects – such as bees and butterflies – are vital for pollinating our food crops, gardens and wild plants. One third of our local bee species is currently under threat due to lack of food and nesting sites. Planting pollinator plants ensures food supply, and creating wildflower meadows provides both food and habitat in one location.

At Cabinteely Library we are proud to host the first seed library in the Irish Public Library Service. Inspired by Mary Reynolds’ “We are the Ark” project, our seed collection focuses primarily on vegetables and pollinators. Housed in an old library card catalogue drawer, the collection has been growing since May of this year. Over 90 packets of seeds have been borrowed so far, thanks in part to a highly successful seed harvesting workshop which got the word out to our climate-conscious library users. 

Following a recent seed gathering expedition to Cabinteely Park, the Ark is stocked with beautiful local wildflowers – clover, primrose, yellow rattle and oxeye daisies – with more to come. Perfect pollinators for your wildflower patch!

The Seed Ark is free to use, we only ask that once plants have ‘gone to seed’, some seeds are collected and returned to us. This ensures we run an environmentally-friendly initiative that keeps on giving.  For guidance on this process, there is a wide range of seed gathering books available to borrow, our National Biodiversity Data Centre has some really useful info, and help is always on hand at

We will be hosting a seed gathering walk in the first weeks of October – contact the branch - by phone, email or in person - and register your interest for further details.


Top tips for wildflower seed gathering:

  • Wait until seed heads are brown and crunchy
  • Collect seeds from healthy, strong plants as that is what you would like to grow!
  • Use secateurs to remove seed heads without damaging the plant
  • Leave your bounty somewhere sheltered outside for the first night to let all the bugs escape
  • Dry out seeds on newspaper in a hot-press, conservatory or other dry place