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A November Weekend In My Garden

donegan gardens

Last weekend, the garden radio show that I do needed, we felt, a little bit of a break from the extremes of botanical latin and over horticulturalisation – ie. the overuse of big words. We had pondered what might soften this and the idea that I record myself in my garden, in my spare time pottering about over a period of one weekend turned out to be a pretty good idea.

Listening back, I’m surprised at just how much I actually got done with no agenda and wee 2 year old Ella by my side. More than that, the feedback that has come in since this aired has been nothing short of phenomenol. I have so very many emails from people letting me know they are now doing a 15 minute stint, no matter the weather, in their little patch in their great outdoors, just once per day.

No matter the end result – I guarantee you will feel better for it. Your space outside will look better because of it. That will make others smile beacuse they have seen that. That smiling gig is pretty infectous. And then you’ll smile because they have smiled…..

You don’t need to follow my list, you can make your own, or don’t make one at all. Take a listen, see what you think and should you become a little stuck… I’m right here for you. 😉

The Sodcast – Episode 20

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, www.sodshow.com all good podcast stores.

Listen to The Sodcast in MP3 – or subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 19 of the garden podcast ?

First Up:

Fancy a Sodcast Mug for your cuppa…. ? There are now only 3 of these mugs in the entire world. I have one. 😀

Anything else you can contact me in the following ways

This Week On The Blog:

Links For The Podcast:

Irish Weather Online

Jane Powers:

Images For The Podcast:

This Weeks Oddities:

@DoneganGardens Our Christmas Tree is better than the Roosevelt Centre one in Elf according to our kids. Thanks for the tip. Great price too

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announces new EU report entitled A decade of EU-funded GMO research

The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.

extract: “The introduction of such advanced processes and materials based on biotechnology and GMOs, has enormous potential not only to enhance quality of life while reducing environmental footprints, but also to improve the competitiveness of European industry.”

This email in From Alison at Pierce Communications

Loving your blog Peter. Great example of making digital comms work within a traditional industry!!

And Finally:

Choosing the right Christmas tree….

The Irish [green] Budget 2010

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You may read this and suggest that I’ve skipped so many facts and figures to suit… but, I should stick to the programme that is all things green and Peter.

Also one should note that this isn’t an economics weblog [as much as I love the subject] and also that a much greater insight into that can be found over at The Irish Election site amongst the many I read regularly.

With that in mind may I just wish Deidre de Burca a bon voyage and a sincere good riddance. From a really green perspective I wonder what, if anything, was actually achieved apart from sitting down and collecting a pay cheque. That said, it seems a pay rise is on the way, plus expenses…. but of course.

…a very nice €120k salary at a time when salaries here are being cut all round her? I suppose a green politician’s got to do what a green politician’s got a do…

With regards to the 2010 budget itself….. I’ve split this into these sections:

  • carbon taxing
  • forestry
  • vehicles
  • notes from the book of estimates
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I tried....

carbon taxing:

The economic and social implications of climate change are immense and it is the responsibility of Governments everywhere to change behaviour to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The most effective way is to put a price on carbon. This will encourage innovation by incentivising companies to bring low carbon products and services to the market.

Changing behaviour takes time but a start has to be made. Today I am introducing a carbon tax equivalent to €15 per tonne. The detail is set out in the Summary of Budget Measures. The tax will apply to petrol and diesel from tonight. Increases to home heating oils and gas will apply from next May.

The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat will be subject to a commencement order to allow a robust mechanism to be put in place to counter the sourcing of coal and peat from Northern Ireland where lower environmental standards apply. A vouched fuel allowance scheme will be developed to offset the increases for low income families dependant on such fuels.

The yield from the Carbon Tax will be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty. The Carbon Tax will also allow us to maintain or reduce payroll taxes.

Carbon taxes will be a feature of economies across the world in the coming years. Today’s announcement sends a positive signal to those gathered in Copenhagen, working for an ambitious agreement on global climate change, about Ireland’s capacity to show leadership.

The tax changes I am introducing today reflect my belief that tax can make some contribution to the reduction of the deficit, and will make a larger contribution in later years. But as we know from our recent history, we cannot rely solely on taxing our way out of our difficulties.

With regard to forestry:

Agriculture is an important component of our economy and this Government has not hesitated to offer this crucial sector support where it was most needed. We responded rapidly to the pig dioxin crisis last year, where we provided some €200 million to save that industry and the jobs within it. We have made a large investment in agricultural infrastructure through the Farm Waste Management Scheme. We remain committed to supporting an environmentally sustainable agriculture sector and are in discussions with the European Commission with a view to introducing a new five year agri-environmental scheme. I have agreed to provide €50 million from within the existing allocation to support this scheme.

I am also providing more than €121 million for Forestry and Bio-energy. This includes a capital provision of €116 million to plant a further 7,000 hectares of trees next year. This demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to this vital sector as set out in the Renewed Programme.

This may sound like a lot of money but one should also note that

  • The current programme sets to plant 20,000 hectares of forest p.a.
  • Only 10% of Ireland is forested compared to the EU average of 36%
  • This should reach 17% by 2035
  • It will take 80 years to reach the EU average at current planting rates. This will reduce that by 4 a little over months.

Improving the energy efficiency of our cars

The Government wants to encourage the increased use of environmentally friendly electric cars and the development of new technology in this field. To that end, the VRT exemption for electric vehicles and the VRT reliefs of up to €2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are being extended by two years until 31 December 2012. We will also provide support to offset the initial battery costs for such cars. This will help in fulfilling our ambitious goals to reduce transport related emissions.

I am also introducing a car scrappage scheme, to run from 1 January until 31 December 2010. VRT relief of up to €1,500 per new car purchased will be made available under the scheme, where a car of 10 years or older is scrapped under certain conditions. The scheme will have the environmental benefit of removing some older, potentially less safe and polluting vehicles from the road. Details of the scheme are provided in the Summary of Budget Measures.

Others notes of interest come from the Book of Estimates

The Department of Agriculture and food takes an overall drop of €247,937

  • With reference to programme expenditure: the development of agriculture and food budget will drop by 27% from €372,060 to €270,808
  • forestry and bioenergy will increase by 2% from €119,604 to €121,845
  • rural environment will decrease by 11% from €369,129 to €330,000
  • An Bord Bia grant in aid for general expenses will decrease by 4% from 28,221 to 27,230

and from carbon

  • Under the transport estimates [roads] carbon reduction measures will increase from €10,000 to €25,000
  • Under the Department of Environment the carbon fund drops 34% from €50,000 to €33,223 and Climate Change Commitments are noted down 32% from €2,200 to €1,500. Under heritage The National Parks and Wildlife Service takes a reduction of 8% from €34,848 to €32,048. Overall the Dept takes a hit of €345,021

Peter Donegan MI Hort
telephone: 01-8078712
twitter.com/DoneganGardens
info[at]DoneganLandscaping[dot]com

*note: to date no politician has answered the above call. Dan Boyle Of The Greens did say he would talk to me…. but I’ve heard nothing as yet. If this changes I will let you know here.

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December In The Garden

And what an end to November and a start to the month it has been…

Firstly to those affected in any way by the adverse weather conditions…. my sincerest best wishes to you all, I hope it sorts itself out as soon as possible. To those who chose to stand up to the Green Party politicos  [especially on RTE’s The frontline yesterday] more concerned with defending the amount of action groups who solve extreme weather conditions by sitting at a round table…. I applaud you. I also think Fionn has a point…

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But thats another days work…. and on to Gardens we go…. well, as best as is feasably possible….

You see gardening is a funny business. It’s not a subject that one can put off. The elements maybe against the preferred conditions – but if [for example] the bulbs aren’t planted in the garden this December… it’s now spring 2011 before you will see them pop up… you follow? If you put it off last month…. you’d better get them wellies on or be a very fancy dancer – one that can dodge rain droplets 😉

Despite the weather, I’ve still been working out there. You heard me 😆 It has to be done.

hedge cutting gardening-dublin landscaping-in-dublin-

first up is hedge cutting – some prefer to do it in the summer…. but if you have something like the forsythia which flowers on bare stems in and then goes into leaf – you’d be mad not to. Some say the best time is…blah blah blah 😉 I say, this when I’m doing my crataegus and my fagus. Its also when I’ve been cutting others escallonia… get the rakes, secateurs and the lopping shears out and go for it.

landscaping-in-dublin cutting back plants gardening-dublin

It is also a time for more select pruning. Maybe in this case the hedgecutters maybe a little too harsh. In this category I would add the removal of suckering growth – see the difference in leaves on the Corkscrew hazel [corylus avellana contorta – first image] ; the pruning back of smaller plants that have been let go a little – in this case the likes of the helichrysum [second image above – and similar in habit to lavender]; and also the pruning by hand saw of branches that have become a little elongated – almost tree like when it should appear as a shrub. Moreso, it is also to do with good garden hygiene.  

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But the biggest gig that most may possibly forget is the fact that it is tree planting season. The season when dormant and mostly native Irish trees get to go in the ground in their over wintering state. If you are looking for some ideas and names of, see this post on Irelands favourite native trees which can be planted now – I said now !!! Don’t forget the straps, buckles and tree stakes.

If you have existing trees – check the straps and buckles aren’t choking the trees – if they are – remove or loosen them.

Regarding your lawn…. you may get a cut in before the Christmas. Once again, the ye olde garden fraternity may suggest this is the wrong time – which is perfectly fine if it is the local croquet club… but if you are my Dad… well, you’ll be picking up the phone and telling asking me when am I getting my butt over to the house to cut that grass.

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After that – the bird feeders still need filling, the shed needs to be painted and I’ll guess you never did the new-ish garden furniture last month ….well don’t say I didn’t tell you 🙄

If you take my advice – sure get it all sorted – then go and buy some instant colour in the form of winter planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Really brighten the place up…. God knows you deserve it. Now all you need to do is to go and get that Christmas tree 😉

Whatever you do and if you are doing it yourself… stay warm, dry and be careful. If you are getting the gardeners [at least for me anyways…!] in…. put the kettle on and give ’em a nice cuppa and a mince pie. If ever I wondered what a kite must go through…. recently is the closest I’ve ever come to realising it 😆 Oh and in case I forget…. do enjoy 🙂  

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i want that one…

Christmas trees! I love this time of year… I just love it! While you’re at the turkey stuff the begrudgers, the doom and gloomers and anybody else who’s a pain in the tuschie, take out the mistletoe and have a mince pie. It is the season to be jolly – and don’t you forget it 🙂

With whole place decked in holly, last week I and ‘her indoors’ [as Arthur Daly would say], went to pick out our Christmas tree. There is, possibly unknowns to some a Christmas tree farm in Rolestown North Dublin [just outside Swords and after Kettles Hotel just on the left]. It’s brilliant. While I was there, the Moms flocked in with their children, wellies and woolies on and went with Mick to select the specimen they wanted.

€30 any tree, netted and the butt drilled or trimmed to suit your stand. If you’re nice he’ll even give you a lolly pop! If you have never seen a tree farm or never selected your own live tree it is a great experience .

Have a really Happy Christmas, have a great new year and enjoy!