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The Garden Group Guide

Some months ago I popped out a wee blog post to get an idea of who may be interested in [lets call it…] the great outdoors. You see, I was a bit peeved off with [the perception] of some groups.

From what I’m told/ can gather some feel that once one is degree in horticulture-less or without manicured parallel lines of Buxus semprevirens one may be frowned upon. Note: [and please do] This is not to be insulting, in any way. It’s simply what has been portrayed to me and to an extent what I have received myself. But then that is in every walk of life irrespective of gardening? It doesn’t however make it correct. It certainly doesn’t encourage new virility nor an energetic youthfulness [of the mind].

For example, this is how the Photograph Bloggers do it….

You don’t need a big, expensive camera. You can even use your phone and if you check out the photoblogs, you’ll see plenty of superb shots taken in this way. Don’t be intimidated by those with gear you could swap for a car. Remember, a good shot is in the eye, not the camera!

Horticulture was described to me some time ago as a bit like teaching the Irish language or ye olde english poetry in that with the wrong teacher [?] one could be very quickly turned off and potentially for life. I would agree with that. And whilst I have more letters after my name than most some…. 😉 No intelligence should allow one to show ignorance nor assume hierarchy.

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The funny thing about this group [for this first trip] is some don’t even have gardens. Fact. I’d guess 99% have never had a garden tour. And the maybe more/ a majority have never studied or done a garden related course. And what does that matter?

You see two things will happen here – approximately 20 people will get an insight into one of Ireland’s lesser known parks, from it’s horticulture to it’s history – that they have never been to before.

The second thing that will happen is The War Memorial Park in Island Bridge will have more information available on the web than could ever have been perceived prior to. Which leads me back to paragraph one multiplied by the amount of readers. In which case, my hope is that some readers may go there themselves and maybe you might even hear…

00OOO00h so that’s what Darren was talking about… you see honey what Lutyens was thinking when he designed in those two water features was…. [*reefs out iphone & searches culch.ie] ….I mean what they symbolise is…

Now we’re all talking the great outdoors…? Anyhow… Back to it….. Here’s what I asked previous:

are you interested in the greeny garden outdoors kinda thing but don’t want to fall asleep within the first 7 minutes/ seconds ….? ;)

what if we became the hippest bunch of jimmedy crickets ever to cross the green line ?

All of the great bits of green and horticulture – except in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt [if that’s what you like to wear ;) ]

The response has been amazing. The people wishing to go are simply really nice people. I never thought a green-ee gig, free or otherwise could sell out in less than 3-4 hours.

If you are thinking of coming along to an outing – here are the rules basic principles of logic courtesies that apply. They are of course very simple.

  • If your name is not on the list [left via comment] – you are not going!
  • If you need to drop out – that’s fine but do so as soon as is possible
  • I don’t get paid nor receive any gratuities for this
  • If you don’t make the first quota – put your name down on the waiting list
  • The quota is most likely not decided by me
  • You really do enjoy yourself 🙂

Got a suggestion… thoughts or comments below

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How To Stake And Strap A Tree

Following the pictures above…..

  • tree stake at the ready… place the stake [generally] 3 fingers width from the base of the tree and 2 fingers width from the top. Once you have your position correct… push it in slightly.
  • A tree stake pounder [the yellow object in the photographs] is preferable although you can use a sledge hammer. I find the sledge more often splits the stake and its also not very nice for Mary if she is the one holding it and you miss 😉
  • Drive your stake in until it’s sturdy, whilst along the way making sure its straight as it goes down.
  • There are many forms of straps and buckles available… but for my garden I generally but a roll of strap and cut to size. Always allow a little extra if you are unsure you can always cut a little bit off the end – you can’t however add a little bit on.
  • Wrap your strap around the tree and add the buckle on. Then pull really tight against the tree…. wrap one side around the stake and then double over the first piece.
  • With the tree now sturdy against the stake and the strap not moving…. get Mary [or someone else 😉 ] to lean agains the back of the stake and hammer a nail in. Always leave a little off the nail sticking out so it can be removed if you get it wrong or it needs to be adjusted in time as the tree grows. Be sure not to tie the tree too tight.
  • If you are doing trees in straight lines and you wish for them all to look nice and neat…. take a cane as an optimum measure of height, mark the tree stake and saw off at an angle.
  • A little tidy around the base and go and grab yourself a cuppa 🙂
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2009 A Good Year ….?

I did do a review of the year 2008. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2010… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2009.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as possible 😉

  • December was kicked off with the Carbon Neutral Revolution and Trim 2025

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done… it should be noted that none of this would make any sense without someone to share the stories, the laughter and equally the tears with. I am forever greatful to the so many great friends and people I have met along this years road. Thank you. 🙂

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is an easy an easy one especially when I work in an industry that is so weather dependant and I am self employed. That is not a complaint…. more an additional reason to appreciate the people who stand tall by my side when time are tougher and there too when we laugh our socks off.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Nollaig Shona duit. Slán agus beannacht.

Thank you again, for everything.

*View the statistics for Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog

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Top 20 Green Influencers to follow on Twitter

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Niall and Lauren did something similar over on Simply Zesty

But whilst this list refers to those only green – it is here I must side step slightly….

For it seems in Ireland, in the horticultural department at least…. we really do not get the online gig. And if ‘we’ do… it’s not done terribly well.

I found it extremely difficult to get to the Irish ten mark. And I basically had to give up after….. I could not find 10 Irish & green twitter accounts that I would recommend one follow.

I’m not saying there aren’t 10 green related people on twitter….. I’m talking 10 that use it for what it was intended and for what you wish to use it for…. Not the numbers game, not some company or politicians pimping themselves because some social media guru said so…. but for the exchange ie.  a two way street of useful information…..

That’s the thing with social networks – it’s meant to be a conversation – not a megaphone!

In that context I had to travel outside of Ireland…. and here’s what I ended up with. I’ll borrow the simply zesty disclaimer for this list and save myself the hassle. The list has been compiled based on my own personal opinion of using Twitter over the last year and is by no means the definitive list. There will be some who feel they belong on the list (add yourself in the comments and I may turn it into a top 100 soon) and there will no doubt be a couple that I have completely forgotten and how I follow everyday and who will be offended, I apologize in advance.

*click on the persons @ name to go to that account

1. @PatFitzgerald

pat

pat

based in kilkenny, Pat is a master grower of a mildly different range of plants in an Irish context… I’ve known Pat for I dont know how long, created I dont know how many gardens with and even managed to meet on the odd occasion for a few cups of tea. With over 85% of his products exported, this plant grower, plant breeder and part blogger really does get the online gig. Top that off with simply being a really nice guy. visit: the myplant website

2. @RepakRecycling

I worked along side the repak boys [and girls] on their recycle week 2009 launch garden… but it is the little trinkets of information that come out of someones head a couple of times a day that make me smile. visit recyclemore.ie

3.@PowersFlowers

jane

jane

A garden writer, journalist, with the Irish Times since 1995 and an actual garden lover who simply loves the great outdoors. Jane has gardened since she was a small girl, at first sowing and growing the usual suspects: lettuces, radishes, spring onions and nasturtiums. She now lives and gardens in Dun Laoghaire. She has a sixth of an acre, which she gardens organically, and with respect to the rhythms of nature, as much as possible. read Janes article every Saturday in The Irish Times. 

4. @IrishAllotments

run and managed by Thomas Cowderoy based in Cork. Surprisingly Tom is not a gardener…. this is something he runs in his spare time. Another one of lifes good guys. Visit Irish Alltments website

5. @BordBia

with the amalgamation of bord glas [the green board] and bord bia [the state ‘food board’] into one there really is no alternate to these guys. In that context I may disagree and equally agree. But, if you wish to know what’s happening in Ireland in the green department, here’s your answer. visit Bord Bia‘s website

6. @WildIreland

Described as Ireland’s wildlife and nature in 140 character burstsand that pretty much sums it up. New-ish to the scene but very much one to watch. No website to date.

7. @DoneganGardens

yip thats me. 😉 stuck on numbers at this point and so I’ve got it to 7. Onwards and upwards………visit Donegan Landscaping blog

8. @The_RHS

RHS

RHS

The royal horticultural society on twitter? I neraly fell off my stool when I found the oldest gardening society was embracing technology.

I even blogged it – but credit where it is due these guys really are one to watch and use the online medium to its maximum. It took the Irish equivolent a few years to catch on to this one and check out the date of announcing online [via online] ticket sales. Vist the RHS website

9. @GreenOptions

Green Options describes itself as ‘a community and network of blogs dedicated to helping you figure out what sustainability means to you. Pick a channel above or browse around.’

And that’s exactly what it is. What I choose to do is the somewhat the opposite… I keep an eye, sometimes, on the tweets and – if – the post interests me, I’ll give it a browse over. Some interesting stuff in there! Visit The Green Options Website

10. @ShawnaCoronado

shawna

shawna

I reviewed Shawnas book a short while ago now. Not a gardener all her life but now she is and loves every second of it. A consultant, author, columnist, and wild woman. Loves life, health, greening, the environment, and digging in the garden. Visit Shawna’s blogs here

11. @OrganicLife

Organic Lifestyle Magazine is a digital publication dedicated to organic lifestyles, alternative health and green living. I’ve never bought the magazine but like @greenoptions at number 9 some interesting pieces in there well worth a read. visit organic life website

12. @grow_green

an Irish one that almost slipped by there. Not too sure who grow green, due to the fact only that there is no website linked. That said, the answer seems to be someone who loves the great outdoors. With messages explaining that weeding was order of the day all weekend and most recently this little nugget… 😉 love it! No website to date.

Just joined 10:10 – the project to cut UK carbon emissions 10% in a single year. http://1010uk.org: an idea whose time has come. #1010

13. @treehugger

Links, Ideas and Conversation from the TreeHugger hive mind, the latest in modern green. Visit the tree hugger website here

14. @ecopond

Ecopond helps you play a part in keeping our planet green. Visit ecopond website here

15. @sweetrebecca

rebecca

rebecca

Landscape Designer, Garden Coach, Blogger, Live-Eat-Breath anything garden related, mom of 2 wonderful teenagers. Life is good!! – is how Rebecca Sweet describes herself. There’s not a day goes by that she’s not talking plants with Pat Fitzgerald….  Her blog site Gossip In the Garden is well worth a daily read

16. @interleafer

The musing of California based Laura Schaub all in one bite sized nugget. A award winning landscape designer, writer and photographer and now on the staff of the San Francisco Garden Show. Is there anything this girl hasn’t done. Oh did I mention she was also really nice.Visit The Interleafer website

17. @GardenInTheDark

the green thoughts of freelance writer and journalist Sandra Dark. New to gardening…? follow Sandra her little trinkets are just genius…. 😉 Read Sandra’s gardening pieces here

17. @cop15

cop15

cop15

I’m holding at 17 here…. zero interaction but – a useful one to keep an eye on….. moving on – United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15), brought to you by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Well worth watching noting and paying particular good attention to… you’ll read this and wonder why carbon credits exist in the first place.  All bundled up into 140 charachters. Visit Cop15 website

18. @LifeOnTheBlcny

Fern Richardson writes her blog 99% about container gardening on balconies and patios. The reason why I actually pay attention and it seems so many others do to. Videos, images, reviews and anything else you reckon you couldn’t do in a small space….all rammed into 140 charachters and one whopping blog site!Visit Life On The Balcony Website

19. @bbctreeoclock

Meet Kate from the BBC Breathing Places team and make your pledge to plant a tree for Tree O’Clock. They’ve already smashed the world record for number of trees planted by 100 people.

All their trees count towards the UN Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign. Hoping this one is simply gonna continue…. it might just start a trend elsewhere. Visit the BBC Tree O Clock website

20. @TheWoodlandTrust

wasn’t best pleased to see a little of the twitter numbers game being played byt then who I am I to argue. But then I’m an individual and not an organisation. That said Sharon from the Woodland Trust Digital team along with a few colleagues from around the organisation  do actually keep you posted on what they do and what you can do 😉 I’ll give them credit for that. On another note – If there is a variation of this in Ireland… I’ve yet to find out about it. As a twitter account it works and really well. Visit The Woodland Trust Website

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thanks mr. hollywood

I really can get so caught up with designing gardens and all of that rain a simple love of what I do that sometimes I forget the less green things that happen in my life. Some time ago I got this in the post from a really nice guy called Fran Hollywood.

I put it in the glasshouse and took this photograph.

fran-hollywood polystyrene-peter-donegan

thanks fran...

I had been talking to Fran about polystyrene and some projects I had in mind. I mentioned too him that in the form of packaging some of the community recycling centres refused to take only this. I also explained that I therefore became a little concerned over it’s ability to be recycled. This is what Fran sent me….

Hi Peter,

good to talk with you today. Here are some links relating how polystyrene foam (also known as Styrofoam and EPS) is recycled.

If you need any further info give me a shout.

All the best

Fran Hollywood
Made in Hollywood
Thistle Cross
Mountpleasant
Dundalk
Co. Louth.  Ireland
W.  www.madeinhollywood.ie
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