Shortlisted: Best Blog Of A Business, 2013

best blog Social Media awards 2013

It’s not the first time I’ve been up for stuff like this and though I’ve never won anything shiny, it is always nice to know that my Mam someone out there likes this garden blog which began wahaaaaaay back in 2007.

Official quote from Peter on being shortlisted for the Social Media Awards:

it’s always nice to make the Irish squad

Moving straight on, I was noted alongside some pretty sooper dooper other Irish biz folks that are listed below. Also, a big hat tip and fair play to the category sponsors .ME Registry for dipping their hand in the honey jar.

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Donegan Landscaping. A Gardener Looks Back On 2011

I did do a review of the gardeners year for 2010. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2012… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2011.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as. In this review I try to include the bits that are not garden making….. if you get what I mean


  • January saw me hit the Irish Times Innovation with note for my online endeavours whilst the years first outing took the Garden Group to Skerries Mills
  • February saw the garden podcast interview some gardening greats like Frank Foley and Anne O’Hara whilst you donated around €650 in 24 hours so I could go to Inis Mór. Legends

sodshow gardening television ireland

  • March saw The SodCast my solo garden podcast evolve to radio as alongside Brian Greene The SodShow was born on the airwaves of Dublin City FM. Still talking gardens, alongside Fingal Libraries I began a series of garden talks with some of Fingal’s Schools.
  • In April I ran a half marathon on the island of Inis Mór whilst that month saw my ugly mug beautiful face grace the gardening slot and the screens of RTE’s Four Live

donegan hedgerow walk garden demonstration dublin

caroline duke, natasha duffy, peter donegan @ spirit of folk hedgerow walk

peter donegan

peter donegan garden speaker  wild camping gelert donegan wicklow

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done outside of making and creating gardens… 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. From my heart, thank you.

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is 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 times are a little tougher. You were there too when we laugh our socks off.

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

Thank you, again, for everything.


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This Garden-ers Blog

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In 2008 I wrote a post to answer the then so over asked question: Why do I write a garden blog ? It seems an updated answer is required.

First, wikipedia defines: A blog (a blend of the term web log)

Silly as it may sound and not that I am a fan but, Star Trek passed through my mind and so I searched for Captains Log, just to see what came up. I got this….

A logbook was originally a book for recording readings from the chip log, and is used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time. The readings of the log have been recorded in equal times to give the distance traveled with respect to a given start position.

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They go a stage further by saying that

Today’s ship’s log has grown to contain many other types of information, and is a record of operational data relating to a ship or submarine, such as weather conditions, times of routine events and significant incidents, crew complement or what ports were docked at and when. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.

In Star Trek the Captain’s log, a form of ship’s log, is used to fill in the audience as to the events in progress, and acts as a more realistic form of soliloquy.

I guess in some form or other I like to think that this garden blog is a mixture of all the good bits of the above quotations.

I noted [in 2008] that I have written about gardening since I was about twenty six years of age, at first for The Irish Farmers Journal and then moving on to other writing projects. Although my writing style can change from online to print media, the reasons why I like to write and moreso why I like to write about gardening, has never changed.

Let me give you some of the blogs statistics

  • I started this garden blog in August 2007
  • At the time of writing this piece there are around 930 blog posts
  • In which are contained over 4700 images
  • And about 200 videos
  • Plus over 350 segments of audio

That may sound like a lot of information and it is. It may sound like a fair amount of time to spend typing or other and I’m sure it is. But, I don’t play golf and I spend less time writing this [b]log fortnightly than a round would take – but even if it took more time, I enjoy it – and – as long as a] I’m not upsetting anyone and b] at least one other person enjoys reading my writing, then I’m personally quite content.

Does the blog make me money ?

peter donegan

Most definitely not. But then neither does a round of golf. [exception: McIlroy]. But I never started writing this weblog to make money. Don’t get me wrong blogging has been kind to me and I do get to go to really cool events/ places and I do get some really nice products and presents, some by way of reviewing them here. More importantly and at the very least the blog can’t do any harm and on the other hand I have met so many genuine nice and kind people as a result of my writing here and that’s good.

It must take you ages ?

I’ve been gardening and writing and talking – and writing about gardening, for so long, it makes converting the chosen topic to blog post quite a smooth and efficient operation.

Regarding adding audio, images or/ and video to a post – Since the iPhone [in short] came to town one can record and have it online in a matter of seconds. In garden terms this is a saviour in the form of the converting and editing department where voice and image mean less text and typing and also the immediacy and the time spent getting it online.

You should also consider that I walk most evenings and every weekend, when I’m not working that is – in a garden. And if I’m not there I am in a friends garden or I’m on his/ her farm or in their greenhouse. I literally eat, sleep and drink the great outdoors just about 24/ 7 and I am at all times surrounded by people and places that have a story to tell from which others may or might benefit from that information.

So What if this blogging thing does take me ages ?

I don’t play hurling anymore because I can’t garden too well with bendy fingers and so this [garden writing] you might say, contrary and rhetoric as it may sound is the only escape I have from the photosynthetic world.

Either which way you look at it…..

I am a gardener, landscaper, horticulturist and outdoors lover…. whatever you may call it. It is my profession, my chosen third level education and what I have done since I was about 5 years of age and I love it dearly.

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Contact Peter Donegan

Social [Media] Gardening

peter doneganLast week saw the fifth Bloom In The Park take place with close on Ninety Thousand visitors pass through the gates of The Phoenix Park. I was there on the Monday of Irelands largest garden show with Brian Greene, the gentleman with whom I co-present The SodShow, Dublin’s only garden radio show.

But behind all of the stunning plant displays, garden paraphernalia and blooming flowers was something that on one hand has absolutely zero to do with horticulture but something that must and really has to be considered… maybe even embraced.

Considering that this is the year two-thousand-and-eleven, one would maybe, or not, be surprised to find just how many of this green fraternity don’t use internet related tools at all. At the very basic foundation, I found many garden related associations and firms are in fact either website-less – or – if they do have a web presence, it can very often be almost prehistoric.

On Wednesday June 8th I was one of four speakers invited to talk to an approximate two hundred plus business owners at a conference called Social Media Means Business. This is not my first [nor my fourth] time to speak on the subject. My topic of choice in this case was the use of audio. In short, digitally recorded story telling.

So what on this green island has this got to do with you, Joseph and Mary public ? Pause. Before the Joan of Arc re-enactment society of Ireland come running out screaming….

….where’s our Cycas [palm] revolutas lecture Donegan ?!

Just bear with me on my wee journey before I get mildly back on track.

Donegan Landscaping has been in business almost eleven years now. When I first started out, to get a garden to move from enquiry to starting could take up to four weeks. In fact at times using the recently built catapult, made semi McGyver A-Team style from a near fallen tree to increase the speed of the trajectory calculated, carrier pidgeon now soaring through the air with a hurling helmet on – garden drawing securly attached to its heel, may have been faster.

Joking not aside, from the initial phonecall to making the first visit – back home to do some sketches to a return visit – to suggested photographs, that one had to get developed – to dropping out an invoice by hand or by post, the journey in hindsight, was one that boggles the mind somewhat. And even though I did hear the voice from the cloud scream…

I am the saviour. I am email….!

Within seconds another voice yelled back….

Yeah ? Well… we has no internet connection.

That carrier pidgeon had better come back home.

To the present tense, you and I are now in a situation were, in Galway or Gibraltar for that matter, one can listen to garden radio Dublin at your desktop computer. Heck you can even listen to it on your telephone.

Nothing new there you may say, but for the first time in horticulture [?] Bloom In The Park gave each show garden a QR code, a blurred looking sort of bar code in short, on their information sign. So if you liked a particular planting style all you needed to do was scan the QR code, using your mobile phone to find out about the plants, where you can buy them and more.

That I am aware, this has also been roled out in some garden centres which may then bring you directly to a page for hints and tips on planting styles and advice on gardening.

Outside of doing the show for Dublin City Radio [it airs every Friday at 3pm by the way] and writing my article for The Tribesman, the set up that I have on my mobile phone alone means that my time spent on the internet is actually very little. Surprised you may be, but the fact that I have clients that I have never met may baffle you even moreso.

Your tool of choice may well be Facebook, Youtube, twitter or even audioboo. But no matter which, the point so easily made is that from beginners to garden enthusiasts right up to the horticultural experts – and on a different level from consumer to service providers and to retailers – how and how much gardening is promoted, off or online, in this country is of benefit to us all.

Last weekend whilst camping in Lough Ennell I interviewed campsite owner Eamonn O’Malley for the radio show which will then turn to the podcast and end up on my weblog. I had tea in the 17th Century estate of Mornington House with Anne and Warwick O’Hara who I have interviewed many times before, my visit there now posted as review on the blog – as is Lough Ennell, the lake itself.

Bringing it back to garden shows, to horticulture and again to Ireland. Let me pose the following:

Firstly, how many of the trade took it upon themselves to do a youtube video, to tweet, post some images, some audio or a blog post. More than that, maybe, how many will take a leaf from Bord Bia’s book [see what I did there ?!] and produce their own QR codes ?

The follow on from that is as a garden lover who must buy from the trade and equally who enjoys garden retail therapy, I may just be a little more aware and informed of your product if you did. Now wouldn’t that be great, for us all. Who knows I might even tell someone else about it.

Maybe I should have titled this article: Media. Social. Gardening.

As a by the way you can contact me in the following ways:

My Gardening Blog Tagcloud

I hadn’t seen Tagclouds used in a while. A bit like QR codes are on the verge of becoming I thought. Reading Bernie Goldbach’s blog, I became very interested when I saw what he was actually using them for.

Don’t know what tagclouds are ?

wordle generates “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

The source for me, was very simply my gardening blog address. I was quite pleased to see that words that came to the fore were both positive and creative.