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

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

Create Your Family Garden

If I hear the word….

…in these recessionary times….

…one more effing time, I may just spontaneously combust. I’ve had it. I’ve had it the media, with RTE, RTE Prime Time, RTE Frontline, The Week in Politics, RTE news and you can throw your man Vincent Browne right in the middle as he joins the conga party bus just as sure as one more government gaff hits the headlines. This all before I don’t pick up a newspaper.

donegan landscapingI watched the youtube clip of Shane Hegarty on BBC news – yes folks, BBC news – as he spoke about the Great Things About Ireland campaign. He yapped about red lemonade and how a wake may turn into a party, our sports and our language…. I began to smile as my mind wondered, child like, as if I was in accounting class on a warm summers day, starring at a single cow in a field…..

I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch much television. I definitely don’t watch anything that may devalue my happy head. On the one hand I spend too much time outside. But I’m happy there. I love camping in the rain. I love climbing trees, still. I love good news. I admire people who smile. I call it the great outdoors for good reason and as I type this weeks piece I’m taking my caffeine in a mug that says Happy Christmas on it. That’s the kind of happy level I like to be and am at.

I’ve realised just how much time I spend outside though. A lot of that is in other peoples gardens I admit. Towards the point, I’ve got a baby girl now and she’s one and a little bit years young. When I was camping in Lough Ennell we sat on the grass together were I played the ukelele for her while Mom was off doing stuff us adults may consider important. I know I like to keep my mind occupied, which can sometimes lead to moments of ponder. The technical term is daydreaming I believe, but Ella held tight to the sleeve of my t-shirt and sang her own or at the very least the unreleased version of whatever choon I was diddling away with. And for a moment I paused…. I wondered why this didn’t or hadn’t happened at home more often, or at all. I’m hesitant to admit some of the other pre-mentioned options.

What the flip is the gardener talking about this week Mary….?

I’ve taken at a look at my great outdoors you see. I’ve been growing vegetables. I have my fruit trees. I have had pieces in my garden like my red satellite bird bath – a satellite, painted red and turned into a bird bath – but these were or are mine. Not hers or ours. And as I delve further into my thoughts, I realise I am  now potentially reticent of the old, to me, at the time, gardeners I knew back in the 1980’s. I need to change that, in a way.

I need to plant more pretty flowers. Make the garden a place of intrigue and mystery. With hidden places. Not the stereotypical ‘childrens’ garden ie. a slide in a specific space. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There’s not. But I’d like to have that and so much more. And it’s so easy to do. To design, nee map out the garden in my head.

She will start to walk soon and ask questions and wonder why and explore and…..well that’s what the Haynes Manual on all things Children says and in my mind as I start to doodle I can see that I just need to be impractical. Forget about the manual. Pretend I’m four… easy before you giggle there.

I need to not say I can’t. I need wild flowers growing. Not out of a packet. Just wilderness growing, wild, so I can run through it, even though I might lose things in there. But then I may also find them, which will make me smile. I know she won’t always need to hold on to me to be able to stand you see and then I’ll need a little more than that patch of grass we sat on.

For me, as I see it, the en vogue gig for the general populas may well be growing your own vegetables and it really does have a great role to play in the lives and future of this nations nippers. Very happy I am to see it somewhat take the place of the microwave. But I remember the girls I knew growing up making perfume in a jam jar, with rose petals. I remember making daisy chains. Climbing trees, taking geranium cuttings, picking some flowers for a school teacher…. such simple things, all playing such a huge part in the ever increasing big picture of my time and life not indoors.

As I delve back into my adult head, my horticulturist hat back on I realise that last seasons snow meant that I couldn’t do certain things so that they might be in flower come this year. More than that it meant I lost a season. That means I must now wait until this coming October to plant my trees.  It also means the new hedge that doesn’t exist has a valid excuse. But more, even more than that, this time next year Ella will be two going three. A big difference. And if I don’t do the things I should to my garden now, this season…. well, as her Godfather explained to me, she’ll never be that age again.

I was chatting about this with a gardener friend of mine. I was explaining that my chicken coop is painted pink and white. I will of course openly admit I had a lot of that colour left over from a previous garden endeavour. I explained my thinking, my hands almost directing  traffic as they flapped about in the air etching the garden into nothing-ness. In jesting, we came to the conclusion that if I had had a baby boy I may simply have needed a set of goal posts.

But the horticultural minds considering poetry as versus trigonometry, both agreed that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the imagination is something that should be applauded and enccouraged, maybe even nurtured. We thought of the seasons, the seasons of nature one needs to pre-empt in order to be able to attract it to your garden so it is there when that time arrives.

Now that I have told myself my story and what I would like that road ahead to have in stock for me…. I think it’s about time I designed a garden for the future and for my family.

I remember some time ago being asked by a Client, who was also a Dad to visit his daughter. She had just bought her first home and had, as he described it an extreme case of the independance streak.

She inherits it off her Mother. Who inherited it from hers…..

He told me.

After a consultation with her and partner a list was drawn up. A wish list, that would make a garden. On the other page, a great big garden doodle. With numbers, arrows and outlines. But, after each item on the list was the ingredients to make that particular piece or space.

The benches, for example, were new railway sleepers, six inch nails, paint and some cement. The planting was seperated into trees, bulbs and then the lower growing plants, bed by bed. The sketch and the itinary were given to the Father. He then framed it and paid me for my time. It was her house warming present and it was hung in the kitchen, by the patio doors.

For each birthday, anniversary or celebration some items, ingredients or were it maybe got a little technical, my time was purchased by the various relations.

Better than the salt and pepper shaker she always wanted. Anyways the garden will be a nice home for that swing I’m gonna make her….

For the weekend that has just passed, Happy Fathers day. And before anyone asks why I didn’t mention Dads day last week….? I of course had to be reminded 🙂 There are reassons why I never buy myself socks.

Contact Peter Donegan:

Lough Ennell Caravan and Camping

I did do a post on Lough Ennell. This post however is about Lough Ennell camp site….

I was so impressed with Lough Ennell Camp Site, you simply wouldn’t believe it. First up, let me break this down for you, it is not a 5 star hotel. I shall proceed…. 😉

Family run and owned, the first thing I noticed when I arrived on a Thursday afternoon was that the resident mobile homes had their own wee little gardens, hanging baskets, garden gnomes even and beautiful veranda’s. The point of noting that and my reason for noticing is that people who are there for the short term don’t make long term home improvements. There was a sense of pride about the place.

It’s not until one meets Eamonn O’Malley that you realise why the people stay. I was so impressed with Eamonn’s ethos and the work his family have done over the last years, that I interviewed him for The SodShow – the garden radio programme I present.

Listen!

The bathrooms were clean. The campsite is constantly being improved so I was told and as was blatantly evident to see. Signs were multi-lingual and the waste bins were segregated into what could and couldn’t be recycled. I liked the shop, the food is great and also good value. They even sell ice.

What you may also notice for the tents people is that where I pitched my tent, the lawn is raised, so when the rainy day does arrive, it drains just that little bit quicker. Believe me, the amount of times I have seen a tent pitched in what could be considered a potentially very large puddle. It is the little things.

But more than that, for me, it is the people that make a place and this the O’Malley family did extremely well.

Did I tell you the campsite is [really] just a stones throw from Lough Ennell. Happy days. I could have stayed there for three weeks. I might just do that….

If you are popping into Mullingar Town Centre, I will highly recommend C.R. Tormey Butchers – they are located in the shopping centre that includes a Dunnes Stores. Polite, friendly, good value and darned tasty ! Well worth a visit. I still miss his fancy sausages.

Also Hamills garage. If your car should should break down…. or you are simply automotively inept like myself, look no further.
Listen!