the answer is no. I don’t care. I’m not careless. I am an intelligent man. But… correct me if I am wrong… eh? I’ll make this really easy… Give me the name of one great Irish politician… who has been leader, in the history of this country. I rest my case…
Here’s my story…
Recently I sat down after the dinner to have a coffee and relax, unwind etc… tv remote in hand – that I don’t watch very often btw –
I’d just watched the RTE news, then a Primetime Special and I was almost at the point where I was hoping A Prayer at Bedtime would cheer me up before I headed off for a good nights rest…
I’ve come to the realisation that depressing media sells. I’ve also realised that that type of media depresses me. I now don’t watch RTE anymore. Problem solved?
Media aside… Ireland had virtually no summer last year. We didn’t even have a summer this winter. The reality was, I needed to seek inspiration. I needed to lift my spirits. I needed to bring a smile to my face. I first looked at my own family.
My Father has zero relevance to the horticultural industry. The reality is he has sold wine in Ireland all of his life. My point? Through the 1980’s, interest rates were around 20%; unemployment was tipping 375,000; we had one of the youngest populations in Europe; emigration was 45,000 per annum and we had, I guess, one twentieth [minimum] of the hotels and restaurants we have today and we were not a wine drinking nation. I am also one of eight children.
But today, interest rates are falling and statistics aside I realise everything in life is cyclical. If we are at the bottom, things can only go one way and as I write the sun is starting to shine.
I started my business 9 years ago. I borrowed the tools for my first job. I was naïve, maybe. I had no money. I’ve come along way, some may say. But I realise that unless I go into debt I have lost nothing. I realise that unless I unemploy myself I have not gone backwards. More recently I realise that turning off the television and asking the person I am eating with how their day was is something I should have done more often in the past, but most likely I was too busy to do so. Weren’t we all?
Horticulturally, as a nation, we have come a very long way. I remember when I was in school getting bullied because I loved growing plants. I even grew them under my bed. But ‘gardening’ wasn’t cool. It was geeky. It got me beat up. Times have changed. Gardens are fashionable. They are sexy. It’s now even funky to grow your own vegetables and we are still not there yet!
It’s not so long ago that an Irish garden consisted of a little grass seed, a cherry tree and a straight bed of alyssum/ lobelia below the window. The garden is now a lot more than that. It is now part of what makes a house a home. It is a necessary.
I wont say things are worse. I wont say that they’re bad. It is, I will say a challenge. But it always was. People not paying their bills always happened. Staff problems, money problems, the post man arriving late… etc the list goes on. Nothing has changed. At the time however we sought advice, we changed how we got paid by clients, we changed that staff member and we gave the postman a tip at Christmas time. Solve it and move on.
I needed to find out more. I wanted to know what people thought. I wanted to make that change. In a recent online survey I conducted. I got some unusual feedback.
- 100% believed a well designed garden made a house a home
- 0% said just another ruddy expense
- 90% said when buying a new home a good garden would seal the deal even if it did cost an extra few bob
- 10% said it would turn them off as they’d only have to maintain it
- 50% found doing gardening ‘a real pain in the acre’
- 50% said ‘da da da da da I’m loving it’
- 100% simply loved trees
- 0% said they simply get in the way
And so it seems we all love nature, we all[ish] want a well designed garden, we don’t mind paying for it but we are not all prepared to maintain it ourselves. Things are looking up! Another side is that organisations like the ALCI, Bord Bia and the GLDA have become more pro-active, better and more professional.
We should not forget that with regards to all things horticultural, they must be maintained, replaced, enhanced and replenished. More importantly, we should also not forget that photosynthesis is not just an equation. It is a reality.
The sun will shine. And combined with chlorophyll, green will produce growth. All I know is where I will be tomorrow and I can’t wait…