Urban Living in Dublin City 2011

urban living dublin city 2011

Urban Living in Dublin City took place Sunday past June 26th 2011.

As part of four plus other ‘acts’…. you read correctly, my two sessions took place just after the amazing knife and fire wielding Johnny d’Juggler and the bed of nails finalé act that are The Other Brothers. Tough acts to follow ? You’d better believe it ! But, I loved it. Every single second.

Not the usual set list my name tends to appear within, but my stay there… was to make gardening, fun and entertaining to the crowds that attended. Exactly as gardening should be, for children and for adults.

I worked with the children and with help from the taller people, we created and arranged and spoke about plants and gardening and caring for the plants that will make our homes and Dublin look that little prettier. The smallers funnily enough better behaved that the tallers at times [I jest]. From a children working with plants perspective, en mass, it was something really brilliant, truly amazing  and absolutely wonderful to witness.

peter donegan

Even more brilliant than this wonderful gardener though lay a bigger theme. The press release noted that:

This vibrant event maximises the use of Wolfe Tone Park, a key Dublin City public space in the heart of the Capital by animating it and transforming the space into a creative hub where visitors can relax, learn and be entertained by an engaging programme of music, circus and gardening workshops.

I arrived just after 9am at Wolfe Tone Park – I took the second half of this video just as the day came to a close. A slight bit of a difference, for the better and more importantly as was the gigs intention.

The press release had also suggested that you might…

…..dine al fresco in the open air picnic area?

peter donegan - urban living dublin city 2011

I’m of the thinking that the lovely people of DTE Events and Dublin City Council pretty well achieved what they set out to do.

Gráinne Walker of DTE spoke about the behind the scenes of the event on Fridays SodShow. To listen, press play, wait for it to load and then press the little green button below….

NB: I’ve posted some more images over on facebook. To the many wonderful people I met throughout the day – Thank You so very much. It was an honour.

Contact me – you can do so in the following ways

Garden Design

Last week I vented some of my frustrations out on the keyboard of my computerised typewriter. In short I think my piece can be easily summised as follows:

I’d rather get a hug from my one year old daughter than watch some big old political laundry pile churn around in the washing machine on every radio and television show, all pretty much asking which state departments whites come out whitest in the hot whites wash.

To this I know two things: I can pick up snippets of todays news on twitter in around two minutes and then I’m back in the real world. Two: the evolution of my daughters mumbles mean much more to me that of any politician.

And back to gardening…..

Hello…. My name is Peter Donegan and I am a gardener. A garden designer. A horticulturist. A landscaper….. I am the Johannes factotum of the gardening world.

And for those of you who figure out what that means, do note:

The earliest recorded versions of the phrase do not contain the second part. Indeed they are broadly positive in tone.

Thank God for wikipedia and moving swiftly on.

As always there is relevance in both of the aforementioned quotes. Because whether I am considered a gardener or a garden designer the question I am asked, most probably the most, apart from the usual about my dashing good looks…. yes Mister Potato head, I hear the panto crowd shout back, is:

I was thinking about getting something done with the garden…. how much would you charge for…. when is the best time to….?

There are a few ways of making your garden pretty-er. But to put logic to my previous writings, no matter how great a garden design may appear on paper, in order for it to be actually made a reality, it has to be realistically possible to build it. In every possible way.

Two examples: I have known of gardens were the trees, paid for and delivered, could not actually fit into the back garden. I have also met homeowners who, after paying for a garden to be designed have asked for it to be priced and realised it could never be afforded. But as The Family Fortunes buzzer resonates between my ears, I know of those gardens that I have made and been involved in that have started and finished on time, fitted the clients budget and the image they had in their head and look absolutely stunning.

In saying this I would like to note: I love a challenge. More than that, when I get to work with a client as versus for, from a behind the scenes perspective, we both end up smiling as versus the Da Vinci type benefactor and me possibly hoping she or he likes it.

As regards the best time to get the garden done. It is the time that suits you best. The calender for my planting, is quite simply done in autumn and winter. Why only as for me it means I don’t have to water the plants. Don’t  get me wrong I’ve no problem tending to my own garden it’s just for me, I feel that the plant is under less stress when temperatures are lower and it’s on the verge of going asleep for a few months. Think of it like going to Torremolinos [?] or some such holiday resort, in November as versus June.

If you are of the belief that time is money and you believe you can save yourself a few bob by doing a bit yourself. Do yourself, me and your family a favour – play to your strengths and do only what you are very good at.

I personally don’t mind if your brothers, cousins, sister in laws, dog minder is great at doing decking and is willing to do it at the weekend, but you may well be better off in the greater scheme of things saving yourself the money it might cost and not install it in the first place.

If you are looking to make something of your garden and you wish to have a go even in part by yourself. Here’s were you start.

Step 1 : Measure up the garden.

Step 2: garner some idea of the theme you want in your garden. Ensure that everything you fit into the theme after that fits it. To analagise, would you put antique furniture in a room with linoleum ? It may work, but it probably won’t.

Step 3: consider the practical wish list:

  • shed – what size and type? Brick or timber
  • washing/ clothes line – Rotary/ retractable
  • barbecue – built in or movable. Gas or coal.
  • Kids play area – Swings, slides and pits. Sand or bark mulch. Movable or resident
  • Lighting – Security or decorative. Sunken or above ground level.
  • Outdoor electricity points – where
  • water source – water butts or outdoor tap
  • Table and chairs area – Just for two or the entire Partridge family
  • Raised timber structure or Patio
  • Green waste area

I am The El Guapo

After that you are now hopefully at a point were ergonomics and some creativity is required. This is were you can choose to call somebody very talented like myself. Simple as it may sound, but as I referred to in last weeks article, it is perfectly allowed to pay for a rough ‘outline overview sketch’ and some paint by numbers type instructions of how to put the garden together. That is unless you will need to use it to apply for planning permission. Assuming that is not the case, the only suggestion I will make is that you let the gardener know how much time and what gardening tasks you are willing to spend/ do in the garden. And please be honest and realistic.

I have said this many times before, remember:

  • Know your budget limit but be realistic.
  • don’t end up with a very expensive piece of paper that will never become a creation
  • Agree all prices before your contract starts.
  • Stonework requires dry weather and plants/ lawns need water.
  • Don’t pay for contractors tools to sit in their shed on ‘down time’ and don’t end up paying a contractor to water you plants
  • You don’t have to do it all at once.
  • Gardens can be phased in over a period of time. It may take a little longer but you will get that dream.
  • Don’t be afraid to do something different
  • Quality products cost more and cheap can be often tearful rather than cheerful.

And finally – a garden is more than just some pieces of furniture or a new feature. It needs plants. Plants to suit, your soil, your space – your garden. It joins the dots, it makes intrigue in winter and spring. It is flowers on your table and a road side pollinating café for fruit trees. It can be the defining factor as to whether you will have the sound of birds chirp in your garden. It is what makes sitting in the shade reading poetry looking at the sun, cast shadows on your lawn. It is what makes the difference between a house and a home. It will be what defines you and your garden and makes it something beautiful and creative.

Honestly, I can tell you that the gardens I remember making and further to hold dear in my heart, were not those that had the power to buy a medal nor any amount of awards – money, size, and style aside – but those within the journey of which I and the person who would live with the garden after, smiled.

The Sodshow – Friday Garden Radio on Dublin City Fm

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, www.sodshow.com all good podcast stores.

The #Sodshow – June 24 2011 Friday Garden Radio on Dublin City Fm (mp3)

The SodShow – Fridays 3pm – 103.2 Dublin City Fm

Listen to The SodShow in MP3 – or – subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed The SodShow June 17th 2011

Details on how to listen below…. apols for the shaky start just at the start of the show…. live radio can do things and this is our first….. moving swiftly on

With thanks to this weeks guest:

sodshow sodshow

above: [left] thanks to malones cleaning for the t-shirts
above: [right] after we went for a pint to get our photo taken.

Listen Later:

Listen Live:

  • Tune in: 103.2fm on your radio dial if you are in the Dublin area
  • Listen online: every Friday 3pm just click t9.ie/SodShow
  • or: visit www.dublincityfm.ie and click the listen button
  • also: use the hashtag #SodShow

Making Contact:

Thanks for listening 😉

Beetroot

One of the easiest crops I have ever grown is beetroot. As they take up very little space and require a very shallow depth of soil for root development, I found these left over cavity blocks quite useful for sowing the seeds.

The varyingly named beets or beetroot are a variety of the Beta vulgaris [chenopodiaceae] and it is, you may or may not be surprised to know] the swollen root that we actually eat.

The books suggest a sowing time from about March to July and a cropping period from around June to October, but I have in the past stretched this a lot further past those boundaries. The basis of the recommended times is generally based on low temperatures causing them to bolt. I have personally found that using a bolthardy variety, suitable placing and maybe some covering has seen me through and I generally sow and harvest when I feel it’s the right time.

As you can gather I also pay zero attention to recommended spacings and seed depths. For those who want to know [?] the recommended pH for growing beetroots in 5.9. Once again this is ideal world scenario and as you can also gather I’ve never bought a pH soil testing kit in my life.

Either or if gardening is all about having a go…. then you wont go too far wrong with these guys and you can always leave a comment if you’re stuck.

Urban Living In Dublin City

Urban Living, Animating Our Civic spaces12pm to 6pm, [This] Sunday 26th JuneWolfe Tone Park, Jervis Street, Dublin

peter donegan

For the last few years I’ve been involved with a gig called ‘Urban Garden’. In short, it’s based somewhere in Dublin City Centre and the gist of it is… well, my take on it anyway, is that it’s about brightening up a specific part of Dublin City Centre and making it something even more beautiful.

The last year I did the gig, I made a recycled garden…. It started with this….

peter donegan

But this year, I’m going back to how it all started doing some really easy garden demonstrations and chats to help you brighten up your little space outside…. the press release [below] has all the details and more on the day.

To my bit…. If you have a wee balcony, a window ledge or just one or three pots you like to call your garden…. or maybe you wish to pretty up your existing space…. If you are in the city, drop on by and say hello. Did I tell you it’s also free, all courtesy of Dublin City Council. Should be a bit of craic. Always is. I’ll look forward to seeing you 😀

peter donegan

For the Ulysses fanatics who prefer their directions by Dublin pubs… it’s just at the back of The Church [the Pub version]. For the shopaholics, it’s the space just opposite the Jervis Street car park.

The Official Blurb

Dublin City Council, as part of their SUMMER IN DUBLIN programme of events and in association with Down To Earth Theatre Company are delighted to announce a FREE fun filled family event – URBAN LIVING on Sunday, June 26th , an interactive event which animates an urban space in the City Centre through performance and colour.

This vibrant event maximises the use of Wolfe Tone Park, a key Dublin City public space in the heart of the Capital by animating it and transforming the space into a creative hub where visitors can relax, learn and be entertained by an engaging programme of music, circus and gardening workshops.

Ireland’s top Circus performers JOHNNY ‘D JUGGLER and THE OTHER BROTHERS, walk in Circus workshops, stilt walkers, face painting and a 24 piece Barbershop Troupe – Blue Heaven will engage and entertain audiences young and old.

The innovative, award winning landscape gardener Peter Donegan will preside over gardening demonstrations, sharing his thoughts and ideas on how to get the best out of our urban spaces including using quirky recycled household objects!

Naturally Wild’s, Dale Treadwell engages with young people as he looks at the different wildlife that enter our urban habitats with his highly entertaining show LIFE IN YOUR OWN BACK GARDEN.

Market stalls, trading in hot and cold foods, delicacies and confectionary will also be in Wolfe Tone Park – so why not dine al fresco in the open air picnic area?

Urban Living will take over Wolfe Tone Park, Sunday 26th June from 12 – 6pm, a FREE event not to be missed! Urban Living is brought to you by Dublin City Council as part of their SUMMER IN DUBLIN programme of events.

For more information on URBAN LIVING please contact Grainne or Shane on 01 4089750, check out our web page www.dteinc.ie or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153440944725027 and for information on SUMMER IN DUBLIN check out the Dublin City Council website www.dublincity.ie

Urban Living, 12pm – 6pm, Sunday 26th June, Wolfe Tone Park, Jervis Street, Dublin

peter donegan