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Fingal Independent – July 6th 2011

For those who have asked…. Despite the media report [below] I still own my lawnmower. Also, I still use it and didn’t trade it in. I am still a gardener, landscaper, garden designer or anything else that maybe describe one who works with plants.

Nonetheless, The fingal Independent did write this piece this week 😉

Donegan’s gardening radio show sparks rave reviews

By Robin KIELY

Wednesday July 06 2011

HE’S more used to hedgerows than headphones, but now a Fingal gardener has turned over a new leaf on the airwaves.

Award-winning landscaper, Peter Donegan, has traded in his mower for a microphone, fronting a weekly gardening radio show, which has drawn rave reviews.

Indeed, so popular is the ‘ Sod Show’ podcast that it regularly beats off competition from a host of international stations and programmes in the download charts.

Airing live on Dublin City FM every Friday, the Ballyboughal native aims to open up the world of gardening to everyone, mixing expert guests with local enthusiasts and businesses.

‘I’ve been doing the podcast on its own for about a year and the Sod Show has been on radio nearly six months,’ Peter explained.

‘We do it live and then it goes straight to a podcast on iTunes. It’s got a happy vibe and is a feelgood gardening radio show.

‘It’s for people who like the great outdoors. Brian Greene, who has 20 years of radio experience behind him does the sound and audio.

‘We’ve done a couple of good specials. We have Jane Powers on, who writes for the Irish Times, and we had the guy who grew shamrock for Barack Obama.

‘We’ve also had locals on. Ann Lynch from Ballyboughal Hedgerow Society was on, as was Phillip Murtagh who was talking about making elder flower champagne, both from Ballyboughal.

‘We’re aiming to make gardening and the show a fun place to be and it seems to be working well.’

A glance at the download charts on iTunes certainly emphasises that fact, where the Sod Show’s podcast regularly claims the number one berth in the ‘outdoor’ category.

What’s even more impressive is its standings in the ‘sport and recreation’ section, where it’s pulling in more hits than the likes of gardening shows on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Ulster and Sky Sport’s ‘Sunday Supplement’ podcast.

‘It’s phenomenal really,’ Peter reflected. ‘It’s important to recognise the amount of work being done locally in Ballyboughal and it’s nice to be able to get that out on the airwaves.

‘ We’re mixing local guest with nationally and internationally known guests. The show really is open to everyone.’

It’s another chapter in an impressive story for Peter, who celebrates 10 years in business this year and he’s still as busy as ever.

He passed on his knowledge at a number of talks with Fingal Libraries earlier this year and addressed 250 people on the benefits of podcasting at a recent south Dublin event.

And on the gardening front, he spent the weekend demonstrating garden displays in the middle of the city centre, as part of an urban living event in Wolfe Tone Park.

-The Sod Show is broadcast every Friday at 3pm on Dublin City FM.

– Robin KIELY

The Garden Group & The Skerries Mills Visit

Today the garden group took its first visit to Skerries Mills in North County Dublin.

It was always going to be a little chilly but lessons learned from The War Memorial park visit led to a choice of place in january were it was semi in and outdoor.

It was a great day to kick off the garden groups first adventure of the year. Thank you to all who made it possible and to those who came along. It is you who make the great outdoors, for me, even greater.

In particular, from the Irelands Eye garden group trip I learnt very quickly that just because I’ve been there – in no way does it mean I’ve seen it all. Amazing what the varying eye’s and minds pick out 😉

Other Reading

The Right Time To Get The Garden Done

It must be coming into your quiet time for the oul’ gardening now…..

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Just one of the many clichés I’m on the verge of hearing more regularly now that the temperatures start to drop slightly and the evenings start to get a little shorter. The answer is more the opposite in fact.

There is a point where there are certain things that cannot be done no matter what stage of the season one is talking from, but in general the wise owls, tend to, get the ‘garden done’ in what some would consider the off season.

The reality is that with the coming of October onwards and the drop in temperatures of the seasons comes the en mass planting of trees and shrubs. Don’t get me wrong summer is fine for gardening… but when one needs to plant en mass or is planning on a budget and has the patience to place into the ground what may appear as a twig – and wait – then planting when the specimen is dormant and the sky above is willing to act as your automatic watering system ie. you do not need to water every single plant to keep it alive during the pretty decent warm summer we have just had – then logic, in gardening terms is simply just that and has been applied extremely well.

Have you ever seen someone watering plants in November…?

The other advantage is that the new plant is not competing with weeds as it tries to settle into its new home, wherever that maybe. Because essentially, weeds are plants – they simply don’t know that we don’t want them to grow there – and –  like the plants we do want to grow, both are in their over-wintering state.

Generally speaking in this context, put into the summer months, the turning of the soil in order to plant [the plants] brings with it weed seeds flourishing to the surface. Come the rise in temperatures towards the end of spring it is hoped the developing canopies of foliage will assist in reducing this problem – and therefore the competition for nutrients. A mild nipping of the tips helps here.

The question then remains – when is the best time to get the garden done? And the answer is pretty simple – whenever you wish. The question back is what do you want from your garden [?]

If one for example wishes to have a ‘not always just green garden’ ie. one where the plants come and go in and out of flower throughout the seasons; like the forsythia below that flowers on bare stems in early and mid spring – if planted in summer – then there is a wait until the following season for it to come into its own and fullest glory.


Based on last year [2009] which was a complete wash out of a summer which followed straight into an iceberg…. there was a point where freakish summer climatic  conditions meant the gardener [yours truly] had to take time to let the clothes dry out, at some point, eventually.

But this year has been quite good. I’d easily gather bbq sales were up on last year and with that summer feeling has come a rise in requests for garden make-overs, tidy-ups and manicures [with mild additions to]. The other thing noticable is that clients and potential clients started calling in June to plan for the coming ‘off season’.

Tree and hedge planting season is what it may be called for some. But what are people calling Donegan landscaping asking for ?

The requests all have planting of some form involved, but generally speaking the reason to do it, as versus the type of planting, in the off season is the fact that the couple/ family or in the case of one residential complex – the client[s] do not wish to have to water or maintain the plants once planted. A smart move, when making the most out of ones budget, as versus reducing the budget in the main season and not getting the most from the project.

It also means the planting is not trying to flower, establish and settle itself throughout a period where transpiration and growth are also a trying to take place.

It may well be the weather for you to stay inside, but for the tree, the gardener and the plants, investing wisely now may just give you the same rewards for a lot less effort come next spring and summer.

And on top of that…. there’s some hedging and really, really nice trees to be planted 😉

How does your garden grow…?

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An Interview with Green Party Senator Dan Boyle

...with Dan

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I’ve had my run ins with the Green Party. No secret there… [a quick search in the blog will help you there if you’re interested 😉 ]

But when I reviewed the latest Irish budget… I asked would any politician like to meet and have a chat… credit where it’s due… Dan responded and answered yes.

Before I go any further may I just thank Dan Boyle for his time. Whatever the answers to my questions [and whether you agree or not] he was the only politician in Ireland to stand up and accept….

Today I went into Leinster House and met Dan – I put the following points to him:

  • €1.7 million spend on forestry in the december budget
  • wind turbines
  • carbon credits
  • copenhagen
  • is deidre de burca going to europe ?
  • do you know Anto ?
  • how green is dan boyle ?
  • do you know the ward hunt?
  • why are they unhappy with the green party?
  • if dan boyle could change one thing in politics?
  • what does dan boyle want for Christmas?

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supporting trees…

seamus enns...

seamus ennis...

you might be wondering why the Seamús Ennis centre is in a gardening  article?

Apart from is being an amazing place… It is the tree support in the background of this photograph that it is here.

Rather than chop the arms off a fine and well represented  tree in the beautiful village of the Naul… someone, I assume Fingal County Council decided to come up with the logic of giving it a helping hand.

I thought it a great idea and more than deserved of a mention. I haven’t seen a tree ‘staff’/ support used since I was 22/23 years old and over the grounds of Dublin City University… [10 years ago now…].

The building is beautiful with it thatched roof and honestly, cutting off the limb of this tree would enhance the structure less than more… If you are out for a Sunday cycle why not drop by, take a look and let me know what you think? enjoy 🙂

tree-supports seamus ennis centre naultree-support-street-planting seamus ennis centretree-supports-street naul co.dublin