Father Collins Park

Fr Collins Park

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I was talking to a friend of mine, Aidan, gate meister extraordinaire and part time garden enthusiast…. he was telling me about this [now] park that used to be a field where he and his Father used to hunt when he was younger…

Peter, you just got to go & see this park… it is out of this world

I knew the field. I said I would. I did.

To describe this park in a few words is impossible. To describe it on video would be unfair. This is without a doubt possibly the finest ‘new’ park I have ever seen in my life.

Named after Father [Fr] Joseph Collins who was the hardest working and first parish priest of the Donaghmede area the 52 acre park took about 1.5 years to build.

It is young. In fact it is still unfinished in parts. But it is pure genius at its absolute finest. I like the fact that no soil was removed to build the huge water area left the site… instead it was banked. I love that the old surrounding woodlands were kept in tact and replenished with younger native trees. Even better is the 5 wind turbines that power every single element required for the park to operate. Something more?? The wetland areas in the park are the filtration systems for the parks water and the lake and the wetlands are the drainage system for the football pitches!

From a tree planting point of view… it has a bit to go, but for the most part the maturest and finest specimens were used. It is a park I will very much look forward to seeing mature over the years. From a plant point… it’s been kept simple. Planting is en mass. But planting has been considered very wisely and logically.

Could I pick a fault? No. Not one. As I said it is a young park. In fact it only opened a few months ago. It is evolving. Still. It is still getting over the usual teething problems – but – I wouldn’t let that get in my way.

Jogger, skateboarder, walker, footballer, family, cyclist or tree hugger… you name it –  all catered for here. Even where I live in Bally-go-pothole I am so envious of the people who live within walking distance of this awe inpiring gem. It was raining when I was there and not even that could put me off wanting to take my time.

I think Joseph Collins is smiling [a big one at that] knowing what was built in his name. Brilliant. Pure Genius. Love it 🙂

Go take a look.

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silicon republic… technology for a gardener #9

The entire list of companies for ‘technology for a gardener’ is/will be here.

...and gadget republic

...and gadget republic

This is piece #9. This is Silicon Republic.

Silicon republic in my eyes like a who’s who sort of what’s what online publication of anything technical related. It is the Reuters of the techie industry so to speak. If there was ever anything I wanted to use, buy or try…. this is where I search first. Put very simply, if it ever had a 3 pin plug stuck to it or its not an abacus…. you’ll find it first at Silicon Republic.

With an average of over 81,000 unique visitors and 150,000 page views a month this is what they say:

Siliconrepublic.com is Ireland’s leading website for IT and business decision makers. Along with its sister publications, Knowledge Ireland, e-Thursday and Digital Ireland, Siliconrepublic.com provides a critical forum for decision makers that rely on our individual mix of news, views, comment and analysis to stay informed of strategic tech industry developments and to ensure their company is making the right business and technology decisions.

Thursday 26th February [yes a while ago now…] 2009 saw Silicon Republic writer Marie Boran review The Donegan Landscaping website/ blog. A long with 3 others here’s what she had to say:

This week we take a look at some of the best business blogs from around the country. Being an internet-savvy businessperson doesn’t just mean visibility for your product or service – it also means engaging with customers and potential customers in a way that grows trust for you and your brand.

Peter Donegan landscaping

Peter Donegan

While the aforementioned blogs are good examples of tech-related firms connecting through their blogs, it’s vital to see other sectors get involved.

With his gardening blog, Peter Donegan is a well-known personality on the Irish blogging scene. He says he’s no “techie genius”, yet his dedication to an online audience proves that even the tech-shy should embrace this medium for their business.

you can read the full review at the Gadget Republic Website or at the irish independent blog digest. Three other blogs were reviewed and well worth a visit. They were Niall Larkins BlogeWrite by Gordon Murray and Jason Roes Blog.

What more can I say…. go take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

Building Your Own Bar-B-Q

bbq hand made

I bought this ‘barbequick‘ bbq last year. Quick? hmmmm… €20. In December. Bargain. Left it in the shed.

my very first barbeque...

When the sun came out I built it. Did it end up looking like the image above…? not on your nelly… 😉 But for good reason….

If you do fancy building your own barbeque – here’s how.

Stone type:

  • i tried to get the same brick sizes as per the instructions – but – free bricks are much nicer
  • i wanted a ‘looks like its been there for a while…’ kinda finish – it’s also the greatest excuse if you’re not the best brick layer in the world
  • don’t use concrete blocks unless you are going to plaster the walls

Location:

  • decide where you want it. This is built from stone. Solid stuff. It hasn’t got wheels. So be darned sure it is exactly where you want it.
  • Keep it well away from walls… smoke? black? and more important timber fences… fire?
  • not right beside the patio – smoke/ guests eyes; flames & grannys new hair do

How I built mine:

  • I picked my spot.
  • Took the measurements from the instructions and layed a foundation about 4″ deep – to finish just below ground level. Left it for a few weeks day or three…

Materials:

  • 300 no. brick
  • 2 no. bags cement
  • 1 no. bag of gravel
  • 3 no. bags of sand
  • washing up liquid [substitute for mortisiser – bonds the cement better]
  • some paving slabs for the base – for you to stand on

Tools:

  • spirit level – a good long one
  • a block splitter ‘or’ a good bolster chizel and a mallet
  • a trowel
  • a wheel barrow to mix cement in

Conundrums:

  • I measured the foundation from the instructions but that was based on ‘their’ brick sizes. Mine were smaller & I needed a lot more than they suggested.
  • The clips to support the grill are ‘only’ to suit that size of block. They obviously wouldn’t fit ‘my’ barbeque.
  • I also wanted an extra, adjoining counter to the side for plates and food so I had a bit more to do.

Don’t Forget:

  • To stick a few long screws into the cement while laying to hang your implements on
  • Measure twice and cut once rule

My thoughts:

It will take about 2 days to complete. And there is nothing more rewarding than sitting back with a cup of coffee looking at a wall that you built. Sincerely. Especially if you are a man…. 😆

If one was to pay to get it built….? In my opinion, it would be cheaper to go and buy one. To approximate the costs briefly; if the bricks costs €1 each; multiplied by 300 bricks – One is already at €300 before it gets built….?

That said, I didn’t want a gas barbeque. I wanted one that I could say in years to come… that ‘I remember building that…’ I also have the ability to barter eggs for materials and so apart from my time – this really didn’t cost me whole lot.

paeonia [peony rose]

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I love the peony roses. They were one of my Grandmothers favourites. But they came with so many ‘how and what not’ fables attached it’s infallable…. When my Nan passed away my Mam brought one of these from her garden and planted it in ours. It ‘died off’ shortly after she planted it… but came back up the following season.

I always thought of them as a bit of an old fuddy duddy. They are. And the fable that they hate being disturbed or moved *is* 100% correct. If you can and must, it’s probably best to do so over winter while they are sleeping.

Funny thing, I prefer these to the more common rose. But then again… these aren’t biblically/ botanically roses at all 😉

The paeoniaceae are a genus of over 30 species and they are herbaceous perennials truth be told. ie. they die back but come up year after year… Other than that, the only main thing of note is *if* you do manage to eat some of them [?!!] they will give you a bit of a dickie tummy! The real beauty about these plants is that they can be lifted and divided and passed onto the neighbours…. and what a gift to give!

lawn problems….?

Last year from around the middle of May through June Bank Holiday weekend climates and weather almost mirrored that of  what we are having now.

With reference to lawns here are the articles that I wrote then:

**images 4 & 5 are a patch of grass I started to repair about 6 weeks ago. The rest of the images are from last year [2008]

One should really take the first article and read it well. The second of course being my sense of humour but still a very logic answer.

I have prepared lawns that have had full seed germination within 10 days. I have also prepared lawns where very little to nothing will happen…

  • as long as one of the factors required for the growth of any plant is missing
  • as long as it is not ‘logic’ for the seed to germinate
  • as long as we do not have ‘typical irish weather’

And the answer to that of course is when it comes to nature sometimes patience is the greatest asset. My own lawn prepared about a month before I wrote the above articles is clear evidence of that and hence where I got the photographs from, The lawn sown in the pebbles almost a better germination…?

One may have had the soil prepared and presented well when the contractor left the garden… the soil may have dipped and hollowed slightly… some may have the ‘sahara desert’ cracking effect… in some cases some stone has been brought to the surface… all in all it looks a bit rough. I assure you – unless one has a bottom-less supply of rolled turf, a fire hydrant on full blast over night where the lawn will take in the most water and a shaded [completely] garden – no green [or very little] will appear… Funny thing is, the weeds will most likely grow there first.

I have just re-read – again – my article from last year…. and I once again realise that not even a degree in horticulture will help one here… it didn’t help me. It just helped me to understand better the why and why nots.

The truth is even when all of that is overcome…. the shelves of the supermarket gardens centres are brimmed with horticultural paraphernalia to help you and your lawn… and for very good reason. Clover, moss, weeds, fertiliser the list goes on *and* has done for eons…

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