2009 A Good Year ….?

I did do a review of the year 2008. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2010… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2009.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as possible 😉

  • December was kicked off with the Carbon Neutral Revolution and Trim 2025

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done… it should be noted that none of this would make any sense without someone to share the stories, the laughter and equally the tears with. I am forever greatful to the so many great friends and people I have met along this years road. Thank you. 🙂

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is an easy an easy one especially when I work in an industry that is so weather dependant and I am self employed. That is not a complaint…. more an additional reason to appreciate the people who stand tall by my side when time are tougher and there too when we laugh our socks off.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Nollaig Shona duit. Slán agus beannacht.

Thank you again, for everything.

*View the statistics for Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog

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Nollaig Shona

If you didn’t get a Christmas card from me this year. Don’t be offended. I didn’t send any. My reason…

I took the money for this and gave it to a friend of mine called Amy. When you read what she has to say…. you’ll understand.

Amy explains it so well….

I have decided in a moment of madness to brave the Irish seas on December 25th in the name of charity…… I will be trying to raise a few bob for St Francis Hospice Raheny who provided palitive care for my beloved Gogs (Grandad) and invaluable support to my whole family! My Gogs passed away in February 08 and our last Christmas with him was very tough as he was very frail and ill. This has left Christmas in ours a little sad.. so asides from raising money I hope to bring some cheers to the house!

Funny thing is my Grandfather [pop] also passed away there….. Such a kind man that I loved and still miss very much. That said, I’m so happy to have really known him and Christmas will never be an unhappy one with such happy and fond and happy memories of him. If you read my 101 amazing facts – you’ll know why 😉

Back to it…. Heres to Amy, Carol and Jenny and Gog and all those at the St Francis Hospice who I know will be doing only their finest on Christmas Day.

Have a really happy one. And I’ll see you in the new year.

Peter

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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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101 Amazing Peter Donegan Facts

I had written some time ago a list of ten things you did not know about me. But recently I was reading the weblog of Eolai Gan Fheile and found he had done 101 which I found so much more interesting…. I realised I should do something a little more indepth.

  1. I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers
  2. My Mothers father [my ‘Pop’] was a furrier by trade
  3. When I was 6 years old he told me he blew up Hitler with a grenade
  4. He was a pioneer [never drank] for life
  5. My father has been in the wine trade all of his life
  6. My Mother was only 2lbs in weight when she was born. ‘Thats 2 bags of sugar…’
  7. I wasn’t allowed go to a disco until I was 14.
  8. My first home was in Leixlip.
  9. In one year in school I played on the following teams table tennis, hurling, rugby and athletics.  I also played gaelic football.
  10. I had to write an essay about myself in 6th class. My Mother made me write that I was unique as the closing line. The teacher wrote after this ‘how very very true…’
  11. I had an action man who eyes used to move. His eyes looked dirty so I cleaned them with bleach. This removed the blue and looked quite scary. So I cut off his fingers with a pliers.
  12. He refused to marry my sisters barbie. That caused an argument.
  13. I have not taken a summer holiday since I started horticultural college at the age of 17
  14. I still call my younger sister Jackie ‘snotser’
  15. I used to wear camouflage clothes and crawl around the garden thinking nobody could see me.
  16. The first seeds I ever grew were radish. I was 4
  17. The first bulb I ever grew was a hyacinth. It cost 17 pence. I was 5
  18. The first cuttings I ever took were geraniums. I was 11
  19. I used to own a grifter [bike]
  20. I thought myself how to play guitar when I was 14. I still play
  21. I once busked on Grafton Street and made £1.74 – one pound of that was in sterling
  22. My Dads Dad [my grandfather] was in the special branch
  23. I never met my Dads Mom [my grandmother]
  24. I was born on March 2nd 1976
  25. When I was ‘small’ my favourite snooker player was Terry Griffiths. My brothers was Steve Davis
  26. I used to cut grass for pocket money
  27. I was in the cubs and the scouts.
  28. Me and my brother disassembled a Bastille Day rocket bought for my oldest brother and set it alight on the window ledge. As we closed the window the curtain netting got caught outside and burnt. We fixed it with white thread and tipp ex.
  29. I am God Father to my best friends [John & Siobhán] child
  30. I have two dogs. Whitey – who is black; and sparky who is not very intelligent
  31. I take a size 13 shoe
  32. My first car was a Citroen AX 1.1. It cost £2,000. The insurance cost £2,119. I was 22.
  33. I owned an MGB GT for 8 years. I sold it for €1 this year. It was previously owned by a man called Jack Taylor.
  34. The first house I bought was a one bedroom dormer bungalow in Balbriggan.
  35. Because there are so many children in my family… when we were being called for dinner each name was shortened to one syllable. Peter became Pee. Which is what my close friends call me.
  36. My Dad once told me he’d cut my fingers off. In fairness I did take most of his tools apart…. to see how they worked. I now know he was joking.
  37. When I was 8 my brother Fran told me that the only way to get hairy arms like my Dad was not to wear a jumper and that my body would grow hair to keep me warm. I think it worked.
  38. I once ate an entire Vienetta ice cream cake in one day. My older brother and sister got the blame. The week before I had been given Sunday ice cream in a bowl that previously had ham in it. I don’t like salty ice cream to this day.
  39. My Grandmother had false teeth. I still think she can hear me when I speak about her.
  40. She bought me a key ring that said ‘worlds best gardener’ on it. I was 9.I still have it.
  41. When I was younger I wanted to be a stand up comedian. My teacher in school told me: ‘stand up and everybody laugh at you’.
  42. My favourite team is Arsenal. I once wrote to David O’ Leary. But he never wrote back. I hope he reads this.
  43. The first country abroad I was ever in was France. Carnac to be exact.
  44. My family used to have a caravan in Arklow. We lost the key to it and used to have hoosh my brother through the bedroom window.
  45. I don’t like horror films. I do like funny ones. My favourite are The Marx Brothers.
  46. I used to have long hair. It goes curly when it get long.
  47. Once I went to sleep in the back of a neighbours truck. I have also slept in a hedge. The hedge is warmer. It was a griselinia.
  48. The most dinners I have ever eaten in one day is 8. I was in Clonmel.
  49. The first song I ever thought myself to play on guitar was The Rolling Stones Paint it Black
  50. The first Band I ever saw in concert was The Hothouse Flowers
  51. The first [vinyl] record single I ever bought was George Harrison. The first vinyl album was David Bowie ‘The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
  52. 3 of my sisters are originally red heads. When I don’t shave I get a tiny blotch of approximately 1″ square of red come through my beard
  53. I have never bought myself aftershave
  54. I have never asked a girl to dance.
  55. In my leaving cert mock German exams I got 19% intentionally. I had a German girlfriend at the time
  56. In the April – May of my first year in business it rained for 5 weeks solid. I was living in a rented room. It was the first time I had cried in a long time.
  57. For the craic once, I went into a police station and asked for a big mac and large fries
  58. I went to electric picnic this year only on the Sunday. Apart from the clothes I was wearing I only brought €150, a roll of toilet paper and a roll of sellotape. I slept in a plastic bag.
  59. I used to write Jake on my knuckles in black marker.
  60. The most times I ever watched the blues brothers in one sitting was 12
  61. The last time I was in a fight I was 14.
  62. When I was 6 my Dad gave me his old briefcase to use as a school bag. One morning I put mine in the place where his was. He arrived at my school to exchange shortly after.
  63. I once used a  bin lid as a frisbee and threw it through the kitchen window. My brother was meant to catch it.
  64. I was sent to bed for a week when I was 7 for letting the hand brake off my Moms Citroen 2cv. It rolled out of the drive way and hit the pillar on the far side of the road with me in it.
  65. I was thrown out of piano lessons after 2 years. We didn’t own a piano.
  66. After reading the Random Acts of Kindness book I bought everyone in the café on Westmoreland Street coffee and a cookie anonymously.
  67. I do not wear pyjamas.
  68. I am afraid of flying. But I still do.
  69. I ran the womens mini marathon 2 years ago under the pseudonym of Petra Donegan
  70. I used to have an Italian girlfriend called Petra when I was 15. We broke up after 3 weeks when she returned home.
  71. I still turn the first middle cigarette of every box upside down for good luck. I have only not done this once when I was 14. I got caught with cigarettes by my Mom that day.
  72. I still bang my right elbow after I bang my left by accident. My sister also told me this was for good luck. Now after I bang my right elbow, by accident, I bang my left twice and then my right once more. She told me this one when I was 8.
  73. The most donuts I ever ate in one go was 25.
  74. I want to grow my hair long again.
  75. I prefer red wine to white
  76. My favourite drink is Guinness
  77. I have only owned 3 pairs of black shoes since I was 20
  78. When I moved to Scotland, Aberdeen [Stonehaven]. I decided on a Wednesday. I had nowhere to live. I had never been there before. I moved there on the Friday. I had a job organised but nothing else. I found home on the second day in an apartment over The Queens Hotel.
  79. When I lived in London my address was Clonmel Road, London. It’s near the seven sisters tube station. I had just left Clonmel Co Tipperary.
  80. I don’t mind wearing odd socks.
  81. I once smoked pot pourri to take the smell of cigarettes off my breath.
  82. I think all politicians should be made have a real job as mandatory before they are allowed get elected.
  83. I own a mandolin, 6 guitars, a tin whistle, a harmonica and 3 sets of bongos.
  84. I have never received social welfare as an individual or a grant in any format as a business
  85. I like to close my eyes when it rains softly so it tickles my tongue
  86. I did a business plan when I was 19 for a garden centre with a coffee shop. The bank manager told me if I got rid of the coffee shop part [he thought the idea ridiculous] he’d loan me the money.
  87. I would like to be a member of the band The Riptide Movement
  88. I still speak in Irish. [As Gaeilge]. My name in Irish is Peadar O Donagáin.
  89. I used to have a weekly column in the farmers journal newspaper.
  90. I don’t like beans on my breakfast.
  91. I prefer coffee over tea. I like it when its made from real coffee beans. But I hate watery coffee. I like watery tea.
  92. When  I first moved house [from Leixlip] I wondered the next morning how the beds moved too. I also wondered when we were going back to our real home. My Dad told me this today.
  93. My favourite fruits are grapes and bananas
  94. The Beatles poster now framed in my living room has been in every home I have ever lived in since I was 17.
  95. I only have 3 chairs at my kitchen table. One of them is odd. They used to be my parents. The kitchen table used to be my sisters.
  96. I like art. I like art that I start to day dream at when I look at it. I have only ever bought one painting. I bought this in the Dominican Republic.
  97. I think I’d be a great Dad. I haven’t really spent much time thinking about it though.
  98. I was extra in the film ‘A Tigers Tale’. I have never seen it. I never told anyone. My friends said they saw me in it.
  99. I like to sing in the shower.
  100. I need a new maximum minimum thermometer. I bought my first one when I was 19
  101. My eyes are blue.

If you really read all of that, consider seeing a therapist.

For the record there is no significance in the order, and they do not include the things I regard as the most important.

Quiz Mistress Powers and The Irish gardeners

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Last week I gave you the Irish Times, Jane Powers super dooper Christmas quiz.

If you didn’t see it….? Just click this Irish Times Jane Powers Quiz link. Because this Saturday it will return again.

Reckon you can pit your wits against the finest in the land… Go buy a copy of The Irish Times tomorrow – it appears in the magazine section.

If you did try the quiz…. and you would like the answers…. Jane very kindly emailed me them.;) Take a look and see how you got on….

Thanks Jane!

ANSWERS:

1. Beech keeps its dead leaves over winter.

2. Mistletoe is a parasite of trees.

3. Spiders are not vegetarians.

4. Narcissus was the young man in Greek mythology who spent much time gazing at his reflection in a pool.

5. The highest box hedges in the world are at Birr Castle in Co Offaly.

6. Carrots are propagated by seed.

7. The rabbit-eared flower is lavender (Lavandula).

8. False. Fresh grass clippings are high in nitrogen, not carbon.

9. An awn is found on the flowering parts of members of the grass family.

10. Arran Victory, Edzell Blue and Congo potatoes have dark, blue-toned skins.

11. Sarcococca is commonly known as “Christmas box”.

12. 2008 was the United Nation’s Year of the Potato.

13. An “eyecatcher” is an architectural feature on a distant hill.

14. The petals of buttercups are not edible.

15. Pomes and drupes are both fruits.

16. The garden with the Italianate pond is Ilnacullin, Garinish Island, Glengarriff.

17. The flower of the dragon arum (Dracunculus vulgaris) smells like carrion.

18. It smells like this in order to attract pollinating insects.

19. Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ and Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ all have “black” foliage.

20. In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge’s suggested stake is made of holly.

21. Vine weevil larvae consume the roots and underground parts of plants.

22. A fruit cage is an enclosure to protect berrying plants from birds.

23. The botanical epithet “bonariensis” means “of Buenos Aires”.

24. Cornus, Nepeta, Equisetum and Arisarum proboscideum all refer to animals: dogwood, catmint, horsetail and mouse plant.

25. The spiny flower is teasel.

26. The words “holly” and “mistletoe” combine to make the anagram “little me, so holy”.

27. To “harden off” a plant is to gradually expose it to colder outdoor temperatures.

28. Tom Stuart-Smith designed the “Best Show Garden” at Chelsea Flower Show 2008.

29. A pedicel is a flower stalk.

30. Potatoes are propagated asexually.

31. The Latin epithet “alpina” means that the plant is an alpine, growing high on a mountain, above the tree line.

32. Raceme, corymb, panicle and spike refer to the inflorescence (the flowering part) of a plant.

33. The common name for Euphorbia pulcherrima is poinsettia.

34. “I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree.” are the first two lines of the poem in question (Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer)

35. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ have red flowers.

36. The name of the garden show last summer was Bloom.

37. Alchemilla, Athyrium, Cardamine pratensis and Cypripedium are all “lady” plants (lady’s mantle, lady fern, lady’s smock and lady’s slipper).

38. Lamb-Clarke Collection at University College Dublin is composed of Irish apple varieties.

39. The hoverfly is a friend to the gardener.

40. Crassula ovata (also sometimes known as C. argentea), is commonly known as the money plant.

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