For the moment writer #4 is Thomas Brunkard of Bvisible
Thomas Brunkard is an account executive with Bvisible Communications, a creative, progressive and dynamic PR agency with a wide-ranging client base. He assists in the development of public relations programmes across the full client base including strategic communications initiatives, online PR strategies and print and broadcast media relations. He managed to out-flank the recession and land his current job by using a blog and social media strategy.
Taking a break from the blogosphere to climatise to agency work, he will return to blogging on the PR landscape at the soon to be re-launched Bvisible website and on music, life and guitar playing by the summer at his own site at www.thomasbrunkard.com
An ex-professional musician, Thomas continues to inflict [his words not mine 😆 ] his guitar playing on audiences nation wide, particularly most Saturdays in Dublin’s Porter House Temple Bar.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:
I had always hated gardening. The loathing started when I was a child growing up in Kilmainham. We had a yard with a big coal bunker and a smattering of potted plants but nothing that would constitute a garden. Since we lived on a busy road in a relatively edgy inner-city area, outdoor excursions were limited and the yard was mine and my brothers’ outdoor universe. Our imagination moulded it into the Wild West, Cybertron and Cooley.
My Da often had delusions of our family aspiring to country gentrification. His own father had grown up on a farm and he himself had grown and sold a field of barley in his youth. Our holidays to the countryside took in the ruined relics of manors past. Powerscourt, Emo Court and Malahide Castle were regular weekend haunts for the Brunkards. The terraced rises of the Poer family and the sprawling Talbot demesne inspired my father to bring our inner-city micro-house in line with the old planters’ opulent and baroque excesses.
After one trip to Malahide my Da’s inspiration took flight. He resolved to turn our back-of-house industrial wasteland into Eden on Earth. In a stroke, our summer became a Dickensian nightmare as we were co-opted as pocket-money gardening slaves.
Hauling bags of compost and disposing of the odd coal-crushed mouse was not the fun alternative to multiplication tables and Irish we had longed for that summer.
Da outlined a grand vision for our inner-city Babylon; fountains, hanging baskets, trellises and terracotta bowls of life fired him with enthusiasm. One Saturday morning, the process began with a 7am rise and a whistle-stop tour of Wicklow’s garden centres.
Our postcard sized yard began to transform rapidly. Our coal bunker dissolved into steel buckets, the blackened walls were painted a gleaming white and the outdoor toys of our infancy were consigned to anonymous cement bags.
We diligently filled window baskets with carefully selected combinations of onion-like bulbs. Pre-grown bedding was delivered in bulk for our newly green fingers to pot and display. My Da relished his new role of garden foreman and, as my brothers and I scurried around the yard, he barked instructions over a blaring Count John McCormack record.
And then it was over, our new “garden” had become the very spectrum of colour. Yellows, reds and blues and an unplumbed water feature. Our Herculean efforts were rewarded with a bounty of beauty.
A hoped for resumption of the summer status quo was not on the cards. Sword fights led to demolished ceramic and were hastily outlawed, football shattered tulips and followed suit, our garden had become like a sitting room full of cut crystal and prematurely killed our outdoor childhood.
Our forays into this botanical set-piece were reduced to early morning wake-up calls for watering, weeding and pest control. One such extermination campaign ended in a social disaster for my Da.
My observation of the relative demerits of poisoning a garden where the family dog eats everything earned me the role of chief executioner for trespassing snails. “I want to see 100 dead snails by the afternoon”, my Da barked in his best drill sergeant-like manner and harumphed off to involve himself in unrelated DIY projects taking place elsewhere in the house.
Taking on my new assignment with vigour I rounded up as many slimy crustaceans as I could find. Nearing the hundred mark I pronounced my charge and verdict to the invaders: “On the charge of destroying loads of the poxy leaves that ended our Kilmainham Football League I pronounce you – Guilty”, I proceeded to lay other charges against the helpless rascals who’s only mistake was to gorge themselves on Lord Brunkard’s demesne. All were guilty without recourse to representation or due process.
And then the sentence came to be delivered. A distant marching snare rung out in the distance, a soldier produced blind folds and a priest gave last rites to the assembled hermaphrodite infestants. A trumpet sounded a solemn tune. Then CRASH! I slammed down a spade on the assembled snails. Splish, splosh, crunch. My execution was worthy of Teppes, Bathory and Nero combined and soon the convicted resembled a gone off beef stew with extra cabbage. Satisfied that my excesses would excel my father’s expectations, I retired to do some crucial guitar practice.
And then later that evening I heard a not-so muffled scream and other sounds of distress and agitation. My mother and father had guests out into the new yard and they had happened on the remnants of the grizzly justice I had meted out. With the innocence only possessed by a child as my only defence I tried to explain how I was merely a soldier following orders to no avail. The snail execution had been my brief and my father playing Pinochet to his guests and denying knowledge and blaming poor soldier discipline.
Gardening sucked I decided there and then.
These days I have mellowed my attitudes. My girlfriend is a German culchie and she has brought all sorts of plant derived wonderment into my city-slicker life. Her miracle avocado tree (planted from an avocado!) and Bonsai coddling attracting me back into the fold of Plantopia. I bought a Rosemary bush after reading Eoin Kennedy’s post to try to give myself some sort of connect with this piece. I especially like herbs as you can eat or make tea with them. Next weekend I’m trying out Peter’s seed post. Who knows? If I make it big in PR from here I’ll look into a fully fledged garden to inflict on my future off-spring. The circle of life will be complete.
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