“THE lawn was just deep, deep moss, the wall was dilapidated and the ancient hedge was overgrown,” Ally Bunbury explained as she stood in front of 24 Askea Lawns, Carlow town. It looks like any other house in the estate except that this address is the home of Barnardos, the charity that helps children and their families in crisis.
Ally, author and writer, was doing some volunteer work for Barnardos when she noticed how unkempt and overgrown the front garden was. It was dreary and a little depressing for families who were already feeling below par, so she set about having the garden transformed. She approached several companies and organisations, but it was Topline Doyle’s which committed to giving the garden a complete makeover.
“The staff were completely committed to this. They worked Saturdays and bank holidays to complete it. They dug nine tonnes of soil out of the front lawn. Now look at it. The families are already uplifted by it,” said a delighted Ally.
“The back garden is now like walking into a rainbow. The house is like walking into a hug. The garden looks cared for and looked after and that’s reassuring to the families who come here.”
Marian Dowd, head of Barnardos in Carlow, was overjoyed with the results.
“We’re bowled over by what Ally and Topline have done. The garden was so sad looking before, but we just didn’t have time to work on it. This is just what we needed,” she said.
Not only was the front of the house given an overhaul but the backyard was spruced up, too, and looks wonderful with an array of bright colours and fresh plants and shrubs. The gorgeous garden furniture was made by local members of Carlow Men’s Shed.
The tidy, calm garden now befits the ethos of the Barnardos family support service in providing a welcoming place for children and their families who visit the centre.
“Topline Doyle’s had wanted to get involved in the local community and in some way give back to the people of our region,” explained Pat McGuane of Topline Doyle’s. “When the opportunity came up to work in an area we are experts in, we were delighted to support it. We feel it is a perfect match to support Barnardos, who provide such valuable services that are often not appreciated until you need them.
“Being a well-known business, we are often asked to support various events, but we simply can’t afford to support everything. Every week many families visit Doyle’s and any family, at any time, can be hit with challenges, so we wish Barnardos all the best for the future and hope this helps with their day-to-day work.”
The transformation would not have been possible without the hard work and generosity of several people, including Ally and Turtle Bunbury, Jolene and James Reid, Pat McGuane of Topline Doyle’s with the garden centre team, Shane Blanche, Roy Gleeson, Allen Cullen Maintenance, Carlow Men’s Shed, Ray Whelan Skip Hire and Tom Thorpe of Power Tool & Plant Hire Carlow.