horticultural related posts and what it means in this country

This Landscaping Blog

peter donegan

It’s somewhere around about a few months ago that I was supposed to do one big whopper of a post highlighting all of the great things I did over the last 12 months. A review of my year that was 2013 so to speak. I didn’t. And I’m not going to do one of them. Not this year. No apparent reason. I just couldn’t be arsed. Not, not arsed. I just don’t feel like it. The damn things take three days or so to write anyway. Read more

Landscaping Ireland and The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme (HRI)

irish distillers pernod ricard, fox and geese garden (3)

Update March 7th 2013:

I interviewed Pat Moland of The Irish Tax and Customs Revenue – or The Revenue Commissioners [on The garden radio show] as they are better known, to discuss the Home Revenue Incentive Scheme [HRI] from both the client and contractors perspective.

The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme (HRI), according to CitizensInformation.ie is:

A new Revenue scheme enables homeowners to claim tax relief on repairs, renovations or improvement work that is carried out on their homes by tax-compliant contractors and is subject to 13.5% VAT.

The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) will be paid in the form of a tax credit at 13.5% of qualifying expenditure, which can be set against your income tax over 2 years. In general, qualifying work must be done between 25 October 2013 and 31 December 2015.

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Buying Irish This Season

When we were growing up, way back in the old 5 and 10 pence pocket-money days, Dad would reward us for bringing back sweets with Irish wrappers. Funny, a little when i think back on it, but also extremely logic. The reward was a sort of opposing Law of Diminishing returns except with financial gain.

super valu ham infographicIt’s something that has stuck with me to this day and where possible I try to buy Irish at all times and if possible local as possible. A silly random example ?

I’ve never bought KP Peanuts. I know, I know Peanut plants don’t grow so well in this Irish climate but I also know Manhattan Peanuts are based in Finglas, Dublin and support many Irish jobs.

My logic is really simple. 97% of the gardens I have ever created are in Ireland. I’m therefore reliant upon the Irish persons Irish Púnt and I figured out the rest on my etch-a-sketch and an abacus….. As that amadán of a meerkat might say, Simples.

It wasn’t until I saw this Super Valu infographic that the brain started to click a bit….. in the could I do a little more department and well, it really does kind of get you thinking. Doesn’t it…?

On a mild side note, the greatest [loudest] voice I have seems to be The Sodshow, the garden radio show I do along side gentleman and radio head legend Niall O’Keeffe.

Chatting about it and buoyed by a couple of positives [and a few negatives] we thought we’d do an entire show on the whole Christmas and Irish and shopping as local as possible. And we did.

Funnily enough, The Sodshow Irelands only garden radio show and Irelands Best Podcast for 2012 is sponsored by brothers Garreth and Russell who own an Irish born and bred company called Greensax. Nice guys. Nice story. Irish etc

Back to it…. Take a listen to the show. It’s embedded above. Mull on it over a cuppa and if you have a few thoughts maybe drop me a line. Below pictured is a random picture of a garden I most probably won award for denoting the end of this posting 😉

The links mentioned in the show can be found here: Sodshow Christmas – Buying Irish

Contact me, Peter Donegan in the following ways:

donegan gardens

Christmas Gifts For A Gardener 2012


It’s getting nearer to Christmas and it’s been a busy lead up. It the midst of it all still rolls on the Irelands only garden radio show and podcast, The sodshow, that I do alongside Niall O’Keeffe. This week, it was a Christmas gifts for the outdoors lover 2012 Special.

Take a listen and enjoy. 🙂

More info links and show notes ~ www.Sodshow.com

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Why Do I Put Myself Through This

pic courtesy John williams

I was 24 when I went out on my own and I thought I knew it all. Cocky little f@*ker, was nothing new to my ears. Though I didn’t know and still don’t if that was a compliment or an insult. Like I cared.

I hadn’t a penny to my name and the rest of that violin story has been well noted here before…. Since then the landscaping industry has changed. Pre February 2012, it was on the one hand two bouts of snow, sub-zero temperatures, the highest rainfall levels on record within the space of three hours as Noah’s Ark sailed past my bedroom window. Probably fair to discount them. But when the country’s soil is frozen, you can’t really say economy. Can you ? Honestly, no.

On the other hand and pre, pre that, there was an industry of which the higher percentage of turnover ran off the back of a so-called building boom. Something I never really witnessed. And whilst some companies chose to insert plants into industrial and housing estates all over the country I was pretty fine just doing my own thing. I still am. I did make the show gardens for some builders developments, but I have to admit I never really got into bed with them.

Did I get stung ? Yup. Winkers. That said I still work with two or 3 good fellows. We are good friends to this day. For the right reasons.

Like some infatuated love struck fool ~ and though there’s nothing wrong with that, I did and had to look hard at myself in the mirror and ask myself the hardened question.

Why the flip do you put yourself through this ?

Not getting paid. The longest hours and not enough in the day. No summer holidays… the bad weather, the politics. The taxman. Winker. And so the list went and goes on.

In the middle of all of this was always [at least] one beautiful garden and one of the same cloth type client. I don’t like that word, client. And it made it all worthwhile. It was never and not necessarily the garden with the biggest budget or the best final photograph, for me. It has always been the story, the behind the scenes and the person that is as I would hope my wee daughter to grow up to be. If you get me.

I remember doing a front garden for a friend of mine. Rolled turf. Simple but just delicious when it was finished. It could only have been. It was a derelict overgrown space for over 2 years. This was his first house and mortgaged up to the hilt, he eventually got himself a couch and some second-hand mod cons and some matching cups. He wasn’t there when I put it together for him but, he rang me in the wee hours of the Friday night to tell me that he had just come home, off the night bus and was lying on the lawn, totally naked and can of beer in hand for the last hour. A terrible image I know and a complete nut job, but still one of life’s nice guys.

I could have given you a far sexier [of the garden] type example. My point – it was never about the dollar signs. I know, I know that doesn’t pay the bills. But I was making gardens when I was 12. Cutting grass at 8 or 9 and in college studying horticulture at 17. Also I knew and still know that Ireland is not famed for as a sun holiday resort and yet I still spent 4 years in college, studying horticulture for that I would do work of the great outdoors category. On that note, the one pound dearer than a Matthews,  Bus Eireann bus was nothing as cosy as it is now.

I like the quote that if you see a bandwagon it’s too late. In my personal life, I’m a little bit, of a why buy a bookmark for a dollar when you can use the dollar for the bookmark. I think that goes back to when I was 17 years old and working in the garden centre out by Dublin Airport, hoping that I had a days work that Saturday coming. One got used to the off-seasonal. Even through 3rd level, the pint of Guinness after a full summers earnings eventually churned into a pint of coke with a Guinness head – 30 pence if you must ask, for the latter. On a slight side note and back to it, the quote I stand by the most is only surround yourself with people who lift you higher. In that regard, I am most blessed.

To the original question, why do I put myself through this ? A question I was asked last night. In short, I’m not really putting myself through anything. Sure, I think you’d be mildly confused if you broke into my home* as there really is very little to take – unless you like camping. That said, it is a good home and you won’t taste a finer salad this side of Dublin when I’ve got my green groove on.

To the suggestion that I should be concerned about peripheral factors such as the budget, the Vincent Browne television programmes of the economy and the like, maybe so. But in reality it can only ever have a depressionist outcome on me and I find that unfair on those around me.

I find myself extremely fortunate that my passion is what I do for a living as well as my past-time. I know that the weather has been tough. I’m sick to the teeth of the newspapers and the constant depression that oozes from their pages [running a very close second is the X-Factor] and as a result maybe, I haven’t bought a newspaper in some years now. Also I can’t remember the last time I watched an economy type programme, which is to an extent mildly surprising considering I studied only business subjects all through secondary school. I won’t mention the radio, but fair to say the down-turn-lovers have had a field day and either or it’s a little overkill and for far too long, for me at least.

Monetarily speaking, I know I’ll never be the richest man in the world. Then again, I don’t really know that. And on that note, I and you don’t really know what’s around the corner. Sure, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow – and if you’re Irish the only bit of advice you can take on that note is to make sure you’ve clean underwear on.

What I do know is, I work extremely hard at what I do and I am good at it. I’ll happily settle with that knowledge for now.