For the moment writer #4 is Thomas Brunkard of Bvisible
Thomas Brunkard is an account executive with Bvisible Communications, a creative, progressive and dynamic PR agency with a wide-ranging client base. He assists in the development of public relations programmes across the full client base including strategic communications initiatives, online PR strategies and print and broadcast media relations. He managed to out-flank the recession and land his current job by using a blog and social media strategy.
Taking a break from the blogosphere to climatise to agency work, he will return to blogging on the PR landscape at the soon to be re-launched Bvisible website and on music, life and guitar playing by the summer at his own site at www.thomasbrunkard.com
An ex-professional musician, Thomas continues to inflict [his words not mine 😆 ] his guitar playing on audiences nation wide, particularly most Saturdays in Dublin’s Porter House Temple Bar.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:
I had always hated gardening. The loathing started when I was a child growing up in Kilmainham. We had a yard with a big coal bunker and a smattering of potted plants but nothing that would constitute a garden. Since we lived on a busy road in a relatively edgy inner-city area, outdoor excursions were limited and the yard was mine and my brothers’ outdoor universe. Our imagination moulded it into the Wild West, Cybertron and Cooley.
My Da often had delusions of our family aspiring to country gentrification. His own father had grown up on a farm and he himself had grown and sold a field of barley in his youth. Our holidays to the countryside took in the ruined relics of manors past. Powerscourt, Emo Court and Malahide Castle were regular weekend haunts for the Brunkards. The terraced rises of the Poer family and the sprawling Talbot demesne inspired my father to bring our inner-city micro-house in line with the old planters’ opulent and baroque excesses.
After one trip to Malahide my Da’s inspiration took flight. He resolved to turn our back-of-house industrial wasteland into Eden on Earth. In a stroke, our summer became a Dickensian nightmare as we were co-opted as pocket-money gardening slaves.
Hauling bags of compost and disposing of the odd coal-crushed mouse was not the fun alternative to multiplication tables and Irish we had longed for that summer.
Da outlined a grand vision for our inner-city Babylon; fountains, hanging baskets, trellises and terracotta bowls of life fired him with enthusiasm. One Saturday morning, the process began with a 7am rise and a whistle-stop tour of Wicklow’s garden centres.
Our postcard sized yard began to transform rapidly. Our coal bunker dissolved into steel buckets, the blackened walls were painted a gleaming white and the outdoor toys of our infancy were consigned to anonymous cement bags.
We diligently filled window baskets with carefully selected combinations of onion-like bulbs. Pre-grown bedding was delivered in bulk for our newly green fingers to pot and display. My Da relished his new role of garden foreman and, as my brothers and I scurried around the yard, he barked instructions over a blaring Count John McCormack record.
And then it was over, our new “garden” had become the very spectrum of colour. Yellows, reds and blues and an unplumbed water feature. Our Herculean efforts were rewarded with a bounty of beauty.
A hoped for resumption of the summer status quo was not on the cards. Sword fights led to demolished ceramic and were hastily outlawed, football shattered tulips and followed suit, our garden had become like a sitting room full of cut crystal and prematurely killed our outdoor childhood.
Our forays into this botanical set-piece were reduced to early morning wake-up calls for watering, weeding and pest control. One such extermination campaign ended in a social disaster for my Da.
My observation of the relative demerits of poisoning a garden where the family dog eats everything earned me the role of chief executioner for trespassing snails. “I want to see 100 dead snails by the afternoon”, my Da barked in his best drill sergeant-like manner and harumphed off to involve himself in unrelated DIY projects taking place elsewhere in the house.
Taking on my new assignment with vigour I rounded up as many slimy crustaceans as I could find. Nearing the hundred mark I pronounced my charge and verdict to the invaders: “On the charge of destroying loads of the poxy leaves that ended our Kilmainham Football League I pronounce you – Guilty”, I proceeded to lay other charges against the helpless rascals who’s only mistake was to gorge themselves on Lord Brunkard’s demesne. All were guilty without recourse to representation or due process.
And then the sentence came to be delivered. A distant marching snare rung out in the distance, a soldier produced blind folds and a priest gave last rites to the assembled hermaphrodite infestants. A trumpet sounded a solemn tune. Then CRASH! I slammed down a spade on the assembled snails. Splish, splosh, crunch. My execution was worthy of Teppes, Bathory and Nero combined and soon the convicted resembled a gone off beef stew with extra cabbage. Satisfied that my excesses would excel my father’s expectations, I retired to do some crucial guitar practice.
And then later that evening I heard a not-so muffled scream and other sounds of distress and agitation. My mother and father had guests out into the new yard and they had happened on the remnants of the grizzly justice I had meted out. With the innocence only possessed by a child as my only defence I tried to explain how I was merely a soldier following orders to no avail. The snail execution had been my brief and my father playing Pinochet to his guests and denying knowledge and blaming poor soldier discipline.
Gardening sucked I decided there and then.
These days I have mellowed my attitudes. My girlfriend is a German culchie and she has brought all sorts of plant derived wonderment into my city-slicker life. Her miracle avocado tree (planted from an avocado!) and Bonsai coddling attracting me back into the fold of Plantopia. I bought a Rosemary bush after reading Eoin Kennedy’s post to try to give myself some sort of connect with this piece. I especially like herbs as you can eat or make tea with them. Next weekend I’m trying out Peter’s seed post. Who knows? If I make it big in PR from here I’ll look into a fully fledged garden to inflict on my future off-spring. The circle of life will be complete.
February 6th 2009 saw Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd win the 2009 Bord Bia Quality Award.
It is in recognition of standards achieved under the Bord Landscape Quality Programme for 2008/2009. This is the second successive year for Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd to win the landscape quality award.
To some of you this article will prove worthless. I [peter donegan]hope it proves of benefit. I wrote this for the farmers journal in 2006 but as is life in the editorial world sometimes it just doesnt enter the publication. I thought it was a great article and an email from my editor some time after confirmed that too. I should put it to some benefit I suppose.
Two months ago I purchased a ride on lawnmower, but it has never been used on any contract. I tried to buy a trailer to go with it but I couldn’t be sold one. Eventually I did buy one and it was such a nice feeling to hand over such a large amount of money for such a simple and well-built invention. The tailgate allowed us to drive up onto the back straight away but what happened to my latest acquisition? It evaporated, into thin air. I parked it at the back of the house and when I got up the next day, you guessed it in one – it was not there anymore! Magic? Mystery? I don’t think so.
When through my research for this article I put ‘trailers – stolen’ into a web search to my surprise the ‘theft of a 40-foot white box trailer and tractor unit, which was stolen from outside Irish Ferries at Dublin Port at the weekend’ was one of the headlines. Through my own sources two firms had informed me that they could not supply me with trailers of any size or form as their place of business had been cleared out of almost forty trailers within two weeks between them. It’s possible that this rapid transpiration of steel framed attachments was becoming somewhat of an epidemic. It seems the only way to prevent the theft is to make yours the most difficult to steal. Sources in the UK tell us that Trailers are being stolen to order. Logically, the obvious primary steps include installing a hitch lock, a wheel clamp and a driveway security post, but my opinion it that this is only a deterrent and that we need to go one stage further.
In the UK for any size of trailer (or anything of value to you) a system know as Thiefbeaters which involves applying a unique comprehensive identification including electronic transponders and microdots to hidden and visible locations on the trailer has been put in place. Each trailer is meticulously identified in up to 50 locations by various techniques and each location of the unique TB number is recorded. A record of the entire ID is kept along with six digital photographs. Furthermore, a registration document is produced complete with two colour photographs of each trailer they have identified.
With a 24-hour database service, this allows any police force to make necessary enquiries. A prospective purchaser of a trailer with a Thiefbeaters marking can also enquire to ensure the trailer is not reported stolen prior to any purchase. The estimated cost of which is approximately Three hundred euro.
John Friel of BDF Trailers estimates that “at least four trailers a day are taken in this country” of these John also points out that “most of the ones stolen in the south go north and vice versa”. John who with his wife Kathleen manages a business in North County Dublin also added that at present there is no company that install this tracking system in Ireland” that he is aware of.
Stolen trailers are almost impossible to recover with the main problem being that they are notoriously difficult to secure and may often have to be left unattended for long periods. It is recommend by some English insurance companies that trailers be fitted with a stolen vehicle recovery system such as ‘tracker’Tracking systems work via an electronic homing device which, when activated, emits a silent signal to dedicated equipment fitted in police cars and helicopters of every force in the UK. There are two different versions available: TRACKER Retrieve where the owner discovers the theft and TRACKER Monitor which will alert TRACKER HQ directly of any unauthorised movement, allowing them to quickly contact the owner and begin tracing. In January 2002 one UK insurance company reported their first theft of a trailer fitted with Tracker. The trailer valued at £30,000 and only 4 weeks old was recovered completely undamaged. Recorded CCTV pictures showed that the thieves entered the locked compound at 9.00pm and left with the trailer 45 minutes later. A Police aeroplane the following morning, 40 minutes after the theft had been reported, detected the Tracker signal. This trailer has since been stolen and recovered again by Tracker, 200 miles from home.So where does this leave me. I had a trailer. I now have no trailer. If I buy another trailer I could end up right back where I started. There used to be a time when a trailer could be left in a driveway or on a premise until the next time you needed it. It now appears this is something that can no more happen.
February 2006 saw Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd receive a national award in recognition of standards achieved under the Landscape Quality Programme.
This the Donegan Landscapings second National award since October 2006 and the Donegan Landscaping team are one of only ten landscape & design companies in Ireland to have achieved the award.
The Award of Merit was presented to Peter Donegan MD of Donegan Landscaping Ltd by Mr Brendan Smith, Minister for Horticulture and Food and Aidan Cotter CEO Bord Bia on Friday 2nd February at Citywest Hotel.
The award is the result of more than four years of hard work through a stringently audited programme that was designed to raise standards within the landscape industry and increase customer confidence by rewarding companies who operate an awarded quality system through best practice and at the highest standards possible to this sector of the horticultural industry.
On winning the award Peter Donegan said: “We as a team are delighted to win this award, Donegan Landscaping has been in business six years and having won a national award for our landscape and design in October ’06 this now is recognition that a quality system is in place behind the scenes as well and now recognises the staff who work so hard to make each and every design and landscape project possible. ”
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