Irish Milk ?

Irish farmers at present get just under 29 cents per litre of milk. Astonishingly, around 25% of all milk consumed in south of Ireland is imported. Consider also that there used to be 40 milk producers in Dublin and that there are now just 19. I personally am becoming quite concerned that the milk my daughter will drink, as decided by the supermarkets, may fairly soon not even be Irish.

I met with Jim Scully, secretary of The Dublin Milk Producers to find out why ?

Being honest, when efforts must resort to road signage in order to get the required attention, you know somethings not right… right ?


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Your Country Your Call

Monday night I was invited to a meeting in The Guinness Storehouse. Martin McAleese was coming along. So were some of Irelands top blogger people.

Your country your call is the brainchild of Martin McAleese


….is what I was told. I’d met Martin before. Nice guy. Ferdinand Von Prondzynski was there too – should have asked him  for my old DCU grounds job back 😉 To the point Your Country Your Call is pretty much an ideas generator to get this country grooving again. It’s about motivation. A rousing call maybe [?] but whatever one may say it is a better step in a more positive direction.

It’s not government run. Which I liked. It’s run [?] by ‘some people’ on a pro bono basis. They don’t get PR for it and probably won’t get much thanks… one in particular who I have spoke to is employed by Guinness to work solely on this project.

The big idea is that anyone from any country can come up with a brainwave… 3 lines of text… a youtube video…. however you wish to do so…. one enters it online and [you] could walk away with €100,000. However….

It must be for country benefit rather than individual benefit

Maybe you have an idea that could benefit the country…. maybe you have an idea that cold benefit your local town…. maybe you just have an idea. Maybe it’s been sitting on the back burner with all the rest of of I must do something with that[s].

So where do you go from here…. Well… the website most probably is a great place to start… go take a look. Have a cuppa. Jot down some thoughts and submit them… it is that simple.

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do i *really* care about the irish budget…

the answer is no. I don’t care. I’m not careless. I am an intelligent man. But… correct me if I am wrong… eh? I’ll make this really easy… Give me the name of one great Irish politician… who has been leader, in the history of this country. I rest my case…

my Godchild Lucy...

my Godchild Lucy...

Here’s my story…

Recently I sat down after the dinner to have a coffee and relax, unwind etc… tv remote in hand – that I don’t watch very often btw –

I’d just watched the RTE news, then a Primetime Special and I was almost at the point where I was hoping A Prayer at Bedtime would cheer me up before I headed off for a good nights rest…

I’ve come to the realisation that depressing media sells. I’ve also realised that that type of media depresses me. I now don’t watch RTE anymore. Problem solved?

Media aside… Ireland had virtually no summer last year. We didn’t even have a summer this winter. The reality was, I needed to seek inspiration. I needed to lift my spirits. I needed to bring a smile to my face. I first looked at my own family.

My Father has zero relevance to the horticultural industry. The reality is he has sold wine in Ireland all of his life. My point? Through the 1980’s, interest rates were around 20%; unemployment was tipping 375,000; we had one of the youngest populations in Europe; emigration was 45,000 per annum and we had, I guess, one twentieth [minimum] of the hotels and restaurants we have today and we were not a wine drinking nation. I am also one of eight children.

But today, interest rates are falling and statistics aside I realise everything in life is cyclical. If we are at the bottom, things can only go one way and as I write the sun is starting to shine.

gimme a big smile....

gimme a big smile....

I started my business 9 years ago. I borrowed the tools for my first job. I was naïve, maybe. I had no money. I’ve come along way, some may say. But I realise that unless I go into debt I have lost nothing. I realise that unless I unemploy myself I have not gone backwards. More recently I realise that turning off the television and asking the person I am eating with how their day was is something I should have done more often in the past, but most likely I was too busy to do so. Weren’t we all?

Horticulturally, as a nation, we have come a very long way. I remember when I was in school getting bullied because I loved growing plants. I even grew them under my bed. But ‘gardening’ wasn’t cool. It was geeky. It got me beat up. Times have changed. Gardens are fashionable. They are sexy. It’s now even funky to grow your own vegetables and we are still not there yet!

It’s not so long ago that an Irish garden consisted of a little grass seed, a cherry tree and a straight bed of alyssum/ lobelia below the window. The garden is now a lot more than that. It is now part of what makes a house a home. It is a necessary.

I wont say things are worse. I wont say that they’re bad. It is, I will say a challenge. But it always was. People not paying their bills always happened. Staff problems, money problems, the post man arriving late… etc the list goes on. Nothing has changed. At the time however we sought advice, we changed how we got paid by clients, we changed that staff member and we gave the postman a tip at Christmas time. Solve it and move on.

I needed to find out more. I wanted to know what people thought. I wanted to make that change. In a recent online survey I conducted. I got some unusual feedback.

  • 100% believed a well designed garden made a house a home
  • 0% said just another ruddy expense
  • 90% said when buying a new home a good garden would seal the deal even if it did cost an extra few bob
  • 10% said it would turn them off as they’d only have to maintain it
  • 50% found doing gardening ‘a real pain in the acre’
  • 50% said ‘da da da da da I’m loving it’
  • 100% simply loved trees
  • 0% said they simply get in the way

And so it seems we all love nature, we all[ish] want a well designed garden, we don’t mind paying for it but we are not all prepared to maintain it ourselves. Things are looking up! Another side is that organisations like the ALCI, Bord Bia and the GLDA have become more pro-active, better and more professional.

We should not forget that with regards to all things horticultural, they must be maintained, replaced, enhanced and replenished. More importantly, we should also not forget that photosynthesis is not just an equation. It is a reality.

The sun will shine. And combined with chlorophyll, green will produce growth. All I know is where I will be tomorrow and I can’t wait…

find a happy place !

the more important things in my life!

stay on top of your overheads

call me...!

call me...!

I’ve written about my obvious business dislikes before here and here. But  more recently I’ve been looking at reducing my overheads. Everyone is saying I should. I looked at the biggest one I know. I then sent them an email. To date I have no response.

Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 1:09 PM
Subject: VAT query
To whom it may concern:
I hope you are having a very nice day.  I am also hoping you can make my day very nice.
I was wondering if there is any chance I could have some discount on the amount of tax you wish me to pay.
Registration no.: ********
Notice No. *************
VAT* Return
Net Payable €******
Thank you very much and I hope you have a lovely Valentines Day tomorrow.
Many thanks
Peter Donegan
Peter Donegan MI Hort
Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd
Co. Dublin
m   *** – *******
t     00353-1-8078712
f     00353-1-8078712
e    info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com

more car [hire] trouble…


gardener has car trouble?

I wrote this blog post on hiring a car last year.

Today I recieved a phonecall from ‘a legal office’ asking would I be removing this blog post.

No information or reasons were given except for who the gentleman and his firm were representing.

I was told I have have 48 hours to remove the post.

but then whats wrong with a blog post on car hire ?