All Posts Garden Talks and Events with Peter Donegan

Talks, Speaking and Event MC, Ireland 2016

peter donegan television

Bookings Now Being Taken for 2016.

Peter Donegan – A Very Short History:

I started growing plants from the age of 5, created my first garden aged 10 and of now have won national awards for the design and build of 17th and 18th Century estates. I have also built and designed show gardens for both display and at national competition. And whether I am creating gardens privately, advising, teaching or talking about a particular horticultural subject, horticulture and gardening has been my entire life and I am at my happiest when I and the great outdoors are together. I started Donegan Landscaping Dublin in 2001, aged 24.

On Garden Speaking and Talks:

From a horticultural speaking perspective, I am one of the hosts and producers of The Sodshow – Ireland’s garden radio show (twice awarded Ireland’s Best Podcast) and I have spoken at everything from music festivals and one-off public gardening demonstrations, to private gardening classes and demonstrations and also done talks to Gardening and Horticultural societies.

In The Media:

I am a former garden columnist and writer with The Farmers Journal and Self Build Ireland magazine and have also written freelance. I have given gardening demonstrations on national tv and featured on Irish television and as far as Australia with gardens I have made under my own name and as part of televison shows. I have also featured on radio not only for The Sodshow but also on RTE radio, Today FM and LMFM, to name but a few.

Bookings and inquiries are now being taken for 2016.

peter donegan, event mc, helix dublin

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Donegan Gardens: A Dublin City Garden

Wider rather than longer, this garden may appear quite simplistic, maybe at first glance. For me however, it is one of the nicest small/ city gardens I have ever created.

Don’t get me wrong there are other gardens, more show off pieces so to speak that maybe and of course can come quicker to my mind. The one offs aside and to this case I will note that there is a big difference between the warm home and nice house feel outside and my ticket always, unless otherwise directed by you, is on your behalf to create your garden.

Here my first step was to clad the walls and piers with white-painted timber, allowing the join lines to show and running left to right [or right to left], something that really gave the impression of a far greater and brighter space as it moved out of the seating room to the lawned and planted areas. Vertical lines would have done very much the opposite in working with the existing layout.

Partly down to plant choice, I really like the dappled shade as it flickers against the walls on the bright sunny days. I like the fact that the seating area, a room within itself comes with a view of the entire garden; there is a lovely feel from within of separation from the rest of the garden.

In making the space look greater, timber clad aside, the idea was to stretch the eye to the furthest points; the lawn runs longest from the bottom right hand corner to the top left and the steppings walk from the bottom left to the room now created in the top right hand corner.

Over many other alternates the brighter and smaller in size sandstone cobbles were chosen, again the lean was to creating the feel of a greater space. Though I’m sometimes hesitant to recommend it, the built-in seating and table area was a smart move. I find it helped the finished garden look of existing for some time yet very well maintained.

The planting wasn’t over complexed and was kept to a quite short palette. The choice was to a quite natural flow of foliage and silhouette, allowing for some specifically chosen to have their day on the horticultural podium through the seasons. Outlandish only through the photosynthetic maybe. Of note the tall and thin [note: bright, airy feel of space] dwarfed fruit trees were used to the back wall and for want of a better description by category, the tall shrubs brought in semi mature also helped create that instant existing feel to the new space.

Whether it be the steppings that lead out from only one set of doors though both of course can be used, the seating to the side wall or the fact that there is via the plant choice colour for all seasons and intrigue when maybe there shouldn’t be, or very simply a decent sized lawn, this garden for me, works.

My personal test as to whether I like or love a garden always comes down to the question of whether I would happily sit within A specific space outdoors and allow time pass me by. This garden passes with flying colours.

Thoughts, comments or queries:

  • leave a comment below or
  • have a chat with/ contact Peter Donegan

donegan gardens

All Posts Garden Talks and Events with Peter Donegan

Garden Talk: Spirit Of Folk Festival 2012

  • Speaker: Peter Donegan
  • When: 1.45 – 2.45pm, Saturday 22nd September 2012
  • Where: Spirit of folk Festival 2012, Dunderry Park, Co. Meath
  • Area: The Festival Ecology Area
  • Admission: see for tickets and prices

What is The Spirit of Folk Festival:

Spirit of Folk is a three-day, family friendly festival running from 21-23 September in the stunning grounds of Dunderry Park, Co Meath. Over the weekend we’ll be rockin’ to some of the finest and freshest acts that folk music has to offer. Spirit of Folk promises to be the most eye-catching, intimate, and bewitching festival of 2012!

caroline duke, natasha duffy, peter donegan

Pictured above: Spirit of Folk organisers and lovely folk, Caroline Duke and Natasha Duffy with Peter Donegan at Dunderry House

  • Garden Talk Title: Gardening is for Grandmom’s. Grow Your Own is for for hippies.
  • Further: an evolutionary look at how we, horticulture and our relationship with the landscape has changed and grown over the years.

Peter Donegan began gardening at the age of 5. When he grew up, he went on to study horticulture for 4 years. In 2001 he set up Donegan Landscaping and has won a host of design and landscaping awards for 17th and 18th century gardens and show gardens at National competition. Peter hosts and presents The Sodshow, Dublin’s only garden radio show and podcast and lives in the wee town of Ballyboughal, North County Dublin with his family, his two dogs and his three hens.

More information on The Spirit of Folk Festival 2012:

Further information:

  • email: info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • twitter: @DoneganGardens
  • phone: +353(87)6594688

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Wicklow Mountains, Wild Camping

wicklow mountains

Saturday 10th December, The SodShow teamed up with Gelert and Millets Mary Street to take five people and record the journey as we hiked, trekked and wild camped overnight, without tents, in The Wicklow Mountains.

Why do this for Dublin’s Garden Radio Show The SodShow ?

We have spoke many times on The SodShow about my Hedgerow walks, eating from the wild, native Irish plants and trees, the garden groups outings and [ordinary] camping. We thought it a good idea to somehow and in someway, join them all together.

In this case and of note we went to a [Wicklow] National Park. From a horticultural perspective, it contains many pre mapped nature trails including a flower walk and tree walks. Eight of the Park’s plants are in fact classified as threatened – three are vulnerable and five are rare. We also wandered much of its forestry and slept only with what nature could surround us with. Also we don’t think this has ever been done for radio before and – the landscape is absolutely stunning.

That aside, if the equipment and clothing used will more than suffice overnight in December in Ireland, without tents, in the Wicklow Mountains – it should do you well whilst out for a[ny] walk or work in the great outdoors.


  • The five are very experienced in [in short] the great outdoors.
  • The audio recorded will be aired as a mini series of sorts for The SodShow.
  • All equipment used was supplied by Gelert Ltd and Millets of Mary Street.
  • It is not recommended you do this unless you are experienced.
  • Wicklow Mountain safety and no trace guidelines were followed at all times and more info can be found at Wicklow National Park Website inc. notes on wild camping.
  • Mini series set to air: on radio/ podcast for 4 weeks from Dec 23rd & Jan 6th – 20th. There will be no SodShow December 30th

Our journey timelines are as follows – Saturday 10th December

  • 08:30 Meet for debrief and equipment check at Millets Mary Street
  • 10:15 Arrive Wicklow Mountains and final checks
  • 10:30 Depart from base and begin Wicklow Mountain trek
  • 16:35 Establish base camp
  • 10:15 Sunday – Leave No Trace final checks and depart Wicklow Mountains

A separate post will explain the kit and equipment that we used. These images should help in visualising the audio as the story is told over the coming weeks.

It is one thing to encourage you to try this or any more simplified variation of, but it is better to encourage you to do it with the correct preparation.

The #SodShow Friday 23rd December. Dublin Garden Radio Podcast (mp3)

The #SodShow. Friday January 6th 2012. Dublin’s Gardening Radio Podcast (mp3)

The #SodShow. Wild Camping, The Finalé – Dublin Garden Radio Podcast. Fri 13 Jan ’12 (mp3)

Links of Note:

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My Extreme Weather, Proof Clothing

photo above courtessy @AnthonyMcG

For those who aren’t aware approximately 90mm of rain fell in one day on Monday last, beating Irelands previous record of 48mm.

The following are the clothing that I wore when Ireland flooded this week as I spent about 6 plus hours by night trying to keep the water out at bay.

For me, my outdoor clothing is always an investment. And if it will protect me from the elements in the weather we just had – then it will easily do the job when I am at my leisure at a festival, camping, on a hedgerow walks or just work – as you can gather by now it really doesn’t matter to me, so long as I’m outside and I’m in the right gear.

Wondering what’s gonna keep me dry and warm this Winter….? Here’s the list I recommend because it’s what I use and wear

1] The Gelert Ridge Jacket

gelert ridge jacket

The Gelert Ridge is possibly the best jacket I have ever owned and  this was given to me by the team at Millets Mary street, Dublin. Silly as it may sound, it’s the best thought out jacket in my arsenal.

The big reason[s] I love it – it is as waterproof as my tent [fact – it has a 5000  Hydrostatic Head] and it looks and fits good. More than that, the zips appear as though they are back to front, but that actually keeps the pockets water resistant. Light weight, breathable, pockets inside for phones and a hood with a sort of roof eve stuck to the front of it. A real gem. Costs over a hundred euro – worth every cent.

2] regatta xert trousers

regatta xert trouser

Well worn, as you can see. I’ve had these water proof over trousers about 4 years now. Big reasons to love them is the fact that they have zips that come from ankle to knee level with felcro tapes at the ends. On a normal day [if it wasn’t on Monday], it allows one to take the over-pants off over the boots thus preventing getting them muddy on the inside. For short wearers, like myself, they are of course inner-lined.

My advice – buy them about 2 sizes too big and use the pull chord zipper. This allows them come up over waist height and the Gelert jacket tapers over that. I can’t remember how much these cost me. No photo with me in it, y ou know what trousers look like.

2] Dunlop Prestige Wellingtons

dunlop prestige wellington

I’m not a wellie man. Not on your nellie. But the water was so high that my normal boots just couldn’t do it. Good grips on the bottom [dunlop. think tyre. very important] and as mid range priced wellies go – these are pretty darned good. The only problem was the rain was falling so hard it getting inside them. Wet socks. Not Funny. It was essential on Monday to wear them with the over-trousers.

4] Gelert Hill Short

The Gelert hill Short. I pretty much only wear shorts outside. Monday was no different. It’s hard work [trying to] clear drains with jeans on and working up a sweat. On a normal day [as I’ve said before] it’s not a matter of getting wet, but more how fast you can dry out.

In that department, these are absolutely super. They’ve got a felt band at the waist line for taking sweat away and are without question the lightest weight short I have ever worn.  Even the back pockets are at an angle so you can get your hand in easily with a ruck sack on. About €30 from Millets Mary Street.

5] Craghoppers Olav Half Zip fleece

When it comes with a lifetime guarantee you know it’s decent. The Craghoppers Olav is just that. No pockets. Looks smart. Does what it says on the tin and darned cosy. More of a fleece than a mid layer if you ask me but, if you appreciate that layers work better than one big jumper – this one was a must buy and once again – if it worked on Monday…….

Also Worn

Also worn and previously noted here was my Bodyfit 200 baselayer and my Trespass commanche hat. You’ll have to pardon the cliché’d pun but my Maglite mini also played a blinder.

 regatta xert trousers gelert ridge jacket zip icebreaker bodyfit 200

trespass commanche mini maglite aa