thanks mate, that was nice of you!

no, thank you...

no, thank you...

After Bloom I sent out a postcard to [the so very many who deserved a massive] say thank you.

Amongst the so very many, I also sent one to Diarmuids office.

That said, this isn’t the first time the now famous postcard has received acclaim!

Anyhow, it was [pictured left] given a somewhat surprising, yet most welcome and appreciated mention in the magazine [on page 8 in the bottom right hand corner]. If you don’t want to walk to the shop – click here to buy it online.

I like this magazine – it makes me smile!

This picture also featured sometime ago…

[l-r] peter, diarmuid, dermot & gerry

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ranting and raving… ?

(c) diarmuid gavin designs magazine

(c) dgd magazine

I wrote an article some time ago for Diarmuids magazine. It went in under the rant and rave section and was titled knowledge versus experience’. Of course if you want to see what the rave was about I suppose you’ll have to buy the magazine [april/ may 2008 issue] from the good guys at harmonia.ie

It opened with, ‘In a new series ‘rant and rave’, two professionals present two sides of an arguement. Horticulturist Peter Donegan wonders – or rants – why so many people walk straight out of college into the ‘self-promoted title of garden designer’.’

GRADUATE:  N 1 A PERSON WHO HOLDS A UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE DEGREE. DESIGN: VB 1 TO WORK OUT THE STRUCTURE OR FORM OF (SOMETHING).  BY MAKING A SKETCH OR PLANS. 2 TO PLAN AND MAKE (SOMETHING) ARTISTICALLY.

HORTICULTURE: N THE ART OR SCIENCE OF CULTIVATING GARDENS

COLLINS DICTIONARV FOURTH EDITION

And there holds the problem. If one reads this definition, after qualifying it may be perceived or even believed that one has the ability to walk straight into any garden and begin designing. That is true, theoretically.  But is it true in reality?

Horticulture — the art cultivating garden — and its use as a design platform is something far more than an art form. It ultimately requires a necessary experience. From this a person can decide if he or she likes a style, or believes there is a better alternative or preference more genuine to their taste and in order to be true to their artistic individuality.

This experience and love as an artist however requires much more. It necessitates a biblical knowledge of horticulture and botany in so many more forms and these hierarchal stripes cannot be earned in any college. One must dirty their hands, experience nature and almost understand plant life by touch, feel and sense intuitively.

Akin to the factors required for the growth of any plant, if one is missing, living becomes defunct and for a designer it is similar. Because unless the essential landscape experiences have been courted, made love to and then married — that is if the designed landscape fails to become a reality — then it is nothing short of paper with etchings upon it to possibly be admired.

As a business venture or whether working in the business, it is here that the pitfalls are made because business and associated time costs money. If a ‘designer’ cannot exactly calculate the time, timing schedules and the process of events unequivocally that must occur, or understand a client’s circumstances, including lifestyle and budget; in most cases, then, there is definite potential that the design maybe relegated to the nonchalant paper upon which rests one’s coffee cup.

It is wise to appreciate that your reputation starts again and again, every day of your business life. So why do so many walk straight front the doors of a college into the self-promoted title of garden designer? Is it an impossibility based upon inexperience and possibly an ill conceited dream that gardening is great? The trouble is, maybe, that some forget or don’t admit to where they should start. That is if one wishes to work with the ground, one should start at that level and work up. It is not all theory. It is nature, a subject that comes with a constant learning, and to understand that requires more than a fine education.

‘It is natural that the newcomer, perhaps accustomed to the fixed routine of other pursuits, may expect rules which, if followed, will give certain definite results, but these I cannot give, for climate, soil, aspect, shelter, and many other connected factors vary widely, so that an exact formula would be useless.’
from The Flower Garden by E.R. Jane, 1952

For more information on Peter Donegan’s work go to www.doneganlandscaping.com

[courtesy diarmuid gavin designs magazine]

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casino royal, the pink boat & electric picnic

The casino royal boat has an amazing story. Why didn’t I use it, to my [possible] advantage? The boat was a ruin. Inside-less, sideless & due to be dumped. Could I/it ever have been fully restored – no.

It was next to consider could I give it *any* use other than a skip? yes.

The question now was how does one restore the boat – to a use. The timber replacing the gaping holes would never look right. Pink was the obvious choice. It was perfect. I wanted recycling to come out of the doldrums and to be seen by young an old as something not of a rhetoric ‘wellies and cabbage patches’ of The Good Life style tv days of old. We did that. Not accepted by the Judges of Bloom or the horticultural critics… but that wasn’t the intention [ie. medals].

The pink boat became a part of my garden design for Bloom 2008 ‘pour l’amour de jeux’. A fully recycled recylable garden. Something not for the cricket judges, but for the people – a ‘show’ garden.

The problem was we had no home for the boat after. We had no sponsor [this also upset the Judges, i’m sure]. We couldn’t afford to move it again and it would have been ‘immoral’ to smash it up and put it to landfill.

The pleas went out on 2fm courtesy of Rick O shea. It was never for the money as I think you can gather by now. Hence the name – translated as ‘for a love of the game’, the reason why I put an entire company almost to financial ruin. Some critics say attention seeking – I say it would have been cheaper to put my face on billboards all over Dublin City for a year… it would. Electric Picnic were all of the right answers. It was a boat I’d got free. They took it free. They gave 2 tickets to me and 2 to auction. I outbid the highest bidder.

The casino royal bit – I knew. All involved did. At Bloom, I met a lovely guy Bill and his wife Ann at the show. Bill was a boat builder by profession. He was contracted to rebuild ‘casino royal’ all those years ago. The name had to be erased. The guy who contracted Bill went broke and the boat stayed in storage already stripped, empty and getting worse. In the meantime the name had to be removed [legally] from the boat… and it was.

A letter from Ann after the show explained:

Of course the name has been erased from the boat because of copyright. Once the film was made, it was then only permitted the use of “Casino Royale”

This is what electric Picnic says on their website:

11). ‘Casino Royal’ Boat – donated by Peter Donegan
The 1957 Royal Cruiser Mark II is reported to have been originally christened Casino Royale and allegedly featured in the James Bond movie of the same name in 1967.

Fast forward to 2008 Peter Donegan gives it it’s inaugural land trip to the Bloom Festival where it featured, freshly painted pink (“to make people smile”) in his fully recyclable garden that he designed & landscaped for the festival. Wanting to find a good home for it after the festival he launched a national campaign on 2FM which is when we heard of it and were happy to adopt it in exchange for some festival tickets which were auctioned for the Niall Mellon Township Trust www.irishtownship.com where they hope to build a Garden of Hope community garden.

That said it all still comes down to a very large list to whom I still say thank you.

All Posts related post and the Pink Boat Story can be found here.

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silicon republic review…

peter donegan landscaping weblog

irelands very own silicon republic

I started ‘blogging’ around October last year. I blog passionately. I try to. I never really worried too much about what I wrote – as long as it was from my heart. I hope[d] this [would] shine through.

I never for one minute expected that my experiences of ‘my’ horticultural world would be reviewed [?] by Irelands Technology News Service – Silicon Republic – and the great writings of Marie Boran [It was never my intention].

This, to me, is like my very own little oscar. A big deal for 5 horticulturalist in a meeting this morn! It’s not a blog award. It’s not a blog post award. It’s not an award. It is for a horticulturalist. It is to be posted on the notice board in the office – possibly even framed! It is more than an award, to me. Thank you Silicon republic. Here’s what Marie [flowers are on the way] thought:

Move over Diarmuid Gavin! Peter Donegan is a complete gardening nut and blogs religiously on the topic. It is obvious from this blog that it is not just his profession but his passion.

I particularly love the post where he tells us about his deep-rooted (no pun intended) love of gardening, which started with the growing of bulbs under his bed at the tender age of four!

There is something wonderfully captivating about holding in your hand the power of life within a tiny seed and having the responsibility to nurture this living thing. Unfortunately, I bored easily as a child and was apt to let my precious plant die.

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an oldie but a goldie…

this was around the time of bloom ’07 [click here] and was a feature done for Capital D featured on rte. This was so much fun…. [I think it was my first time on the tiny screen]