Despite the poor weather of late, the picturesque village of Donaghmore in south Co. Tyrone is awash with colour right now.

This is nothing new for one of Northern Ireland’s most lauded rural communities with a commitment to the environment and the highest standards of conservation.

Last year, for instance, saw the village winning the ‘Best of the Best’ at the 2022 Best Kept City, Town, Village and Housing Area Awards.

Prior to this, Donaghmore had also come up trumps in the ‘Best Kept Small Village’ category.

Donaghmore Horticultural Community

The most obvious outworking of all this community effort is the myriad floral displays that bedeck Donaghmore throughout the spring and summer months.

The floral displays and other horticultural features that add so much to the village are all created and maintained by members of the village community.

Driving all of this is Donaghmore Horticultural Community, a group of 14 committed members with a passion for growing flowers and vegetables.

Sammy Wilson has been involved with the project since the get-go back in 2010. A native of nearby Newmills, he was born into a beef and sheep farming family.

“I have worked in the building industry for almost 60 years. But the love of growing plants never left me,” he explained.

“The opportunity of starting the horticultural community was made possible courtesy of land that was made available to us on a leased basis by the Diocese of Armagh.

“We are based within the grounds of St. Joseph’s Grammar School.”

Over the years, the members of the horticultural community have established an extensive pathway and watering system across the site. They have also constructed four polytunnels.

“We have received tremendous support from many local businesses and our local council,” Wilson continued.

“The group is split pretty much down the middle in terms of the members who concentrate on flowers and those with a strong interest in vegetables.

“We hold regular meetings throughout the year. There is also a horticultural community app, which allows members to receive regular updates.”

Sammy Wilson is keen to expand the membership of Donaghmore Horticultural Community.

“Only half of the land available to use is being used at the present time. So we have plenty of room to grow,” he concluded.