Back Garden Landscaping. Swords, Dublin.

swords dublin, garden landscaping

It’s kind of hard to explain the actual how an unbuilt garden picture [see before pic/ vid] in my head type dream becomes a real space that is something of the now present, great or better.

And, more often here I analogise that to falling or being in love, because essentially the [your] garden is a place or space that makes you feel something, of which you smiling as a minimum should be, the end result.

Before I get to where I’m going, go see the before works started image/ video below.

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Back Garden Landscaping. Ballinteer, Dublin

garden landscaping ballinteer

There are very many reasons why I love so much what it is I do as my work, if I might call it that.

Second place to the top of that pile for most gardens, for me, is the what it was before hand to the what it has become. That in mind, this little ditty sits right up there with the very best of them.

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Interview: Peter Donegan. Horticulture Connected, Summer 2015

peter donegan, horticulture ireland magazine, 2015

Horticulture Connected, Ireland’s Hort Trade Magazine, Summer 2015 Edition.
Peter Donegan talks with Editor Barry Lupton.

Generally speaking, most industry folks agree that gardening coverage on TV and radio in Ireland is pretty poor and this has a negative impact on the market for goods and services. Ask those within media circles why it is so, and it all comes back to the same factors: production costs, scale of the potential audience and the need to generate ratings using the lowest common denominator. If you want gardening on TV, it better come with sex, violence, emotion, upset and scandal.

But all is not lost. The downward pressure has produced a knowledge vacuum and a necessity. Necessity precipitates creativity. Thankfully, one industry figure is adressing the issue.

Peter Donegan is well known in the fields of horticulture, construction and design. Owner and operator of Donegan Landscapes, he established his name with a series of dramatically imaginative show gardens in the early days of Bloom in the Park. Like many in the design and construction sector, Peter felt the full force of the recession and took steps to contract his business to see it through the lean years. But he didn’t just hunker down, he saw an opportunity to redirect his energy online and to address the poor level of gardening media coverage.

The Sod Show was created in 2010 following a suggestion from a friend that he build on his existing gardening blog with a weekly radio podcast through Dublin City FM. And the rest, as they say is history. A burgeoning audience, multiple awards and an interview list which includes people from every corner of horticulture, the Sod Show has become an important component of Irish gardening media. One which continues to grow in both audience and influence.

I was delighted to meet up with Peter recently to get the back story on his success with the Sod Show and his plans for the future.

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Bloom 2016. The ‘Your Name Here’ Wedding Garden.

wedding garden, bloom 2016, donegan

I have always seen gardens a lot like falling or being in love, or a feeling, or emotion, of sorts. Like that moment when you first kissed and Erma Franklin or Wilson began singing secretly in your head for no apparent reason. But it then, now and still every time you hear that song play, makes a tear drops trickle from your eye. And twenty, or one, or a bizillion years later and you hear that tunes intro and it somehow magically brings you all the way back to that exact moment and place and you know, that it felt and still feels so right and yet it still makes no perfect sense. And you can either identify with that or you can’t because you were so in love and felt that something magic and such attraction if you will, and therefore it actually makes perfect sense, to you.

Being slightly more logic, I’m sure there are more formal ways to introduce a garden concept or plan, but in this case, maybe, there quite simply is not. Or just not for me. But that – the first paragraph; is what essentially what this garden will become.

Surprising it may sound to chat show gardening already, but Bloom garden designs are required to be submitted somewhere around September/ October this year for June 2016.

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Back Garden Landscaping, Fingal, Dublin

It’s a funny one with landscaping small-er spaces. Because I guess, from a personal perspective; and I know, that it may sound a little selfish, but you essentially end up with one visual of an end result.

In this case, on the one part that comes partly down to client brief. The other reason is that it is down to not so much size, but more the dimensions of the new to be garden and that is something I cannot change. Here however there was an added whammy or a deduction to be taken from the budget.

Because prior to my getting there the space inherited was a grey, gley, bland wilderness of a deforestation programme that had then evolved in to something really terribly horrible, horticulturally. Is that even even correct english ? I wanted to scream very, very quietly at the ‘soil’. Or use a kango hammer on it. Riddled with Ash tree stumplings; all covered over with a sprinkling of grey slate shale, just in case you needed a little more inspiration in life. It was a garden according to the client in which they [quote] had never sat at their own patio table and chairs.

The story does get better….

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Village Park, Kilbrittain, Co. Cork

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I was away camping (the very best way to see the great, outdoors of this very beautiful island of Ireland) in Cork with old Kildalton Horticultural College mate Finbarr O’Mahony. His business, The West Cork Secret is based in Kilbrittain and, though it’s no surprise that I’d never heard of or seen the Village Park before, this little gem is more than well worth a visit.

Some purists of the botanical latin may suggest that I should see, or at least be here noting recreational spaces differently, considering I guess and rightly so the larger gardens and spaces I have designed and built. But life needs variety and also places that will make a 5-year-old princess giggle and, ask questions. And no, it is not a very long dinosaur.

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West Cork Secret, Kilbrittain

peter donegan, finbarr omahony, west cork secret

Pictured above: Finbarr O’Mahoney of West Cork Secret and Peter Donegan.

They say:

The West Cork Secret is a magical hideaway, loved by all who discover it. It couples the serenity of beautifully landscaped gardens with the shrieks of excitement from the obstacle course. The perfect place for a family outing…..

I say:

If you get a chance to go there, do so. And if you can make it happen, try to get a group together so that you can stay and camp there. The grounds are stunning, extremely well thought out and is to this day a work in progress – Finbarr is constantly trying to add something – set within 35 acres and surrounded by the finest views. Daytime was nothing but the sounds of young and old enjoying all it has to offer and if I could live forever in one piece of Ireland’s landscape, this pretty much has all that I could ever want.

The video and images below explain it much better…..

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