neil o’ gorman – pr thursday garden guest #1

if you would like to know more about thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

neil o' gorman

neil o' gorman

For the moment writer #1 is Neil O’ Gorman of Bespoke Comunications.


Prior to working in PR, Neil lived and taught English, Law and Politics in Paris in a variety of roles before returning to his native Dublin in late 1995 to “get a career together”.  He worked in a variety of project management roles in the charity sector, before landing a job in PR.  Neil is a former Director of Edelman where he spent 6 years working in the agency’s Consumer Brands division before leaving in October 2004 to set up a PR Division in BTL agency, Banks Love Marketing Communications. Neil established Bespoke Communications in June 2007.

What I like about gardens…

I have always loved the smell of freshly cut grass and it always makes me think of sunshine.  A bit less so in recent years, but I still equate one with the other.  In fact it was the love of that most hopeful and optimistic of smells that led to my obsession as a kid with cutting the grass in our home in Sutton Park in Bayside, Dublin 13.

As early as 9 years old I remember marking this out as my territory … “Mum, from here on in, I’ll do the gardens.  Front and back.  That’s now officially my job and you don’t need to even think about it any more”.  After all, I was the only one in the family obsessed with neatness and, therefore, was the only one who would really capable of doing the job ‘properly’!  And that meant not only cutting the edges all the way around and giving it a good old short back and sides of sorts, but also trying to create the sort of effect I used to enjoy observing on the pitches of England’s most famous football grounds on Match Of The Day or The Big Match.  Although, it has to be said that I was quite content producing an effective but consistent vertical pattern.  Even back then I knew my limits.  So, as much as I marvelled at the diagonals and the circular designs which started in the centre circle and got bigger and bigger as you moved closer to the touchline, I knew this was beyond me and my modest garden tools.  Efficiency, without real creativity.  A neat job.  That was enough to give me great pleasure.  I still do a neat job on my own garden, but still have never quite mastered the world of plants, flowers and shrubbery.

As is the case generally, it was all so much simpler back then.  Just grass and a few plants and bushes.  Nothing more exotic than roses, daffodils, honeysuckle (they used to taste so good!) and hydrangeas. That was it.  Easy, really. Now, however, in the same way that it is no longer merely enough to have a house, neither is it a case of just having a garden.  Our recently acquired national fascination with interior design has extended outside our front and back doors with some impressive and beautiful results everywhere you go.  But, it’s all got a bit too technical and high maintenance for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love walking into people’s gardens and admiring what they’ve done to transform the space into something personal and personally rewarding with a little bit of imagination and a little bit of knowledge and understanding.  I have even felt a sense of regret when I’ve met people who have really taken time to apply themselves and learn something about the variety of plant life available and how to really look after it and, well, not just keep it alive, but help it thrive. What’s more, I’ve been known to become completely absorbed by gardening magazines in the doctor’s surgery and have wondered if it is one of those things I could turn my time to in later years. But, plenty time for that in the years ahead.  I’ve many other challenges to master before I turn my hand (or my fingers) green.

Still, to all those who have persevered, much respect.  And to all those who continue keep my favourite parks and gardens looking (and smelling) amazing – Botanic Gardens, St. Anne’s Park, Iveagh Gardens, St. Stephen’s Green, Phoenix Park – thank you. Your work has not gone unnoticed.

... i just love it

... i just love it

top posts for december



the top posts for November were getting back to a more horticultural nature and December a little moreso again – but – I still don’t understand why a post on taxi ranks has rated in the top 10 since it was written….? Maybe someone can tell me?

That said, I still have to publish the top posts for the year of 2008…

For the moment…. from 1-10 here are the top 10 posts that you liked to read the most for last month. Once again, enjoy and thank you for visiting and reading.

Of course you can also have my posts sent direct to your e-mailbox – click here or follow me on twitter – click here


the taxi regulator and the rank…
Rick… thursday garden guest #6
Small Gardens – good design
budget car hire….. ?
trees – crown raising, topping or traini
Cedrus Atlantica Glauca Pendula
phil… thursday garden guest #7
south africa, 2008, gardens & the ni
khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – part 1
electric pinknic… picnic

donna… thursday garden guest #8

If you’d like to know more about thursday garden guest – click here

For the moment writer #8 is Donna. There are few things that one should be in life. One of them is polite. To be able to say hello and thank you, the basics in their simplest form. After that anything else, for me, is a bonus. Donna is one of those great ones that comes with a lot of little bonuses and if ever a series of articles could show a different side to how you may have perceived anyone, Donna’s is one that in that context that has made gardens interesting yet again. People of world, please charge your glasses, coffee cups or beakers… Donna!

The Garden – What I like about…



One of my earliest memories of gardening is living in Saskatchewan (Canada) and picking baby carrots, peas and green onions from my mom’s garden to snack on in summer time. I remember the many hours my mom spent on that particular plot of land – clearing the grass off the top first, staking out the boundaries and picking all the rocks out – only that garden also brings back memories of us kids being made to pick rocks too! Was it worth it in the end? Now of course I think yes, but back then…



When I had my own place, I was on ground floor and under my window was a small strip of ground, about 2 feet wide, and 5 feet long. I was only renting but asked the apartment manager if I could plant something out there. He said yes, so I dug it up, picked all the rocks out (that brought back memories!) and went to the library to find a book. I found a neat one called Postage Stamp Gardening that impressed upon me how much food I could grow in a small plot of land. After a week of planning and scheming, I went and bought seeds, and seedlings… if I remember right, radishes, cherry tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and two zuchini (I think UK people call them vegetable marrows?). I called my mom all excited about my new garden, and told her two about my 2 zuchini and she laughing asked if I planned on feeding the entire neighborhood! By the time summer was over, I had reaped a harvest of 3 meals of beans, a ton of zuchini, a few mishapen radishes that were so hot I could hardly eat them, and no tomatoes. Apparently I didnt water my plot often enough 🙂



A few years later, I got married, and moved into my first home. My husband lovingly built me a raised garden in the back yard, under a huge fir tree. We bought top soil, and again I plotted and schemed as to what to plant. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself reaping a harvest of fresh lettuce, watercress, cucumbers, garlic, snap peas, even swiss chard – all things that my mom had successfully grown in her own garden over the years. Needless to say, the first year I planted too soon and our Vancouver rain washed away my neat rows of lettuce seeds, drowned my garlic, and caused my cucumber plants to go moldy. The lettuce did sprout, but instead of nice neat rows, it was all in one clump at the lowest point of the garden! I was crushed, but not beaten!

The next year, I dug my own compost into the garden, waited till after the May 24th long weekend ( my neighbor told me to wait, as thats when the rain would quit) and I tried again. Again my garden was a sad state – the plants grew, but so did the weeds! And I had gone from a part time job, to a full time job and ‘inherited’ two stepsons so had little spare time to put into it.
The third year – my husband gently persuaded me that although my thumb is green in my own mind’s eye, in real life it really isnt so 🙂  So I planted all flowers – Static, and flowers for drying. California Poppies, Bachelors Buttons. Two blueberry bushes. Even a Peony plant. My garden thrived! We had a multitude of blueberries all summer long and it was wonderful.


The fourth year – I had to clear nearly 6 inches of dead pine needles off the top of my garden – it was under that giant fir tree remember? And the soil by this time was so acidic that even after adding lime to it, it wasnt balanced enough to grow anything decent… except weeds!  So we put plastic over it, let the summer sun kill off all the weeds, and then dismantled the garden and redepositied the soil around the rest of the yard.

Am I sad about having no garden? Yes and no. I still love digging in the dirt. I know there are still things I’m good at growing… blueberries and flowers that dont need watering every day 🙂  And potatoes. I know I can grow potatoes. But until I get time to do gardening on a daily basis (which might be soon actually), I’ve chosen to plant things around my yard that are native to where I live: Lupins, Foxglove, Ferns, Shasta Daisy, Lily of the Valley, Crocus’. And I do have a Lilac tree, Lavender bushes and a Clematis that no matter what I don’t do to it, I just can’t kill!
Thanks to Peter for letting me share my gardening adventures.

thursday garden guest time…

over at twitter the suggestion came up to have some guest writers on the doneganlandscaping weblog. People seemed quiet pleased with the suggestion ;). So we made a few rules. It had to be relevant to horticulture of any nature, type, size or style and it had to be personal… Titled ‘gardens – what I like about….’ This was the green-day for those who generally wouldn’t consider themselves so.

The offers came in unusually very easy and so every Thursday 10 guest writers will write ‘their’ little piece with their photographs of a moment they had with something that photosynthesised. Just remember it your post and your happy thought…. enjoy!

[ps. your deadline is 3 thursdays before your date… don’t forget ;)]

The 10 writers are:

That’s the list for this year…. I’ll do another in the new year – but for the moment don’t forget your deadline and happy gardening, garden memories or whatever made you smile at some point whilst surrounded by a little green 🙂

thanks trevor, that was nice of you!

peter and trevor

peter and trevor!

I got this in the post yesterday from Green Party Mininster of State Trevor Sargent. It was a little bit of a surprise to be very honest, but a most appreciated and very welcome one.

After Bloom I sent out a postcard to [the so very many who deserved a massive] say thank you. Trevor received one. Credit where it’s due, he also stopped by the garden during Bloom; lives not to far away from me and as you can gather from this photograph, we’ve know each other a while now –

Of course it took me a little to figure out exactly what it said…

For those of you who had the same trouble, I’ve translated below! [well, if you’re going to call it a hippopotamus…?!]

...sincerely, most appreciated

Peter, A Chara

I was to see that big pink hippopotamus of a boat at the electric picnic. It fitted right in just like the family of topiary elephants. See you soon. P.S. Thanks for your card! Le meas glas