crimes against the garden…?

cowboys... ?

cowboys... ?

When I spoke to a colleague of mine about writing an article on robbings in the garden he told me he had seen some himself, but moreso around the winter period. In hindsight I realise this may not be the most amusing opening line for an article but whilst garden theft achieves little or no publicity in the United States, mainly due to the fact that the US has no national crime watch for this type of theft, in the UK there are on average eighteen thousand reports [that are reported] of garden theft every year with British insurance companies adding further that one in seven gardens is burglarised every summer and that twenty five per cent of UK residents have suffered some form of theft from their gardens or outbuildings. The most popular item on the grab and run list is the hanging basket. This doesn’t sound like a lot and possibly quite a frivolous matter but at thirty euro on average per hanging basket [or an average price per theft reported] this equates to a minimum half a million euro per annum.

they took what...?

they took what...?

In Ireland it seems, somewhat similar to the states ‘we don’t keep any statistics for specifically garden theft – it’s all simply reported as theft’ according to the Garda Public Relations Office.

I performed my own research to find a list of sorts to give me an insight into the criminal mind and the damage they leave behind. Although quiet amusing, possibly, I had assumed that the results would be your usual plants and the garden shed style theft. It seems these garden invaders have gone to another level. In no particular order are the ‘offences’ list.

  • gentlemen robbing tropical plants
  • solar lights and clothes including the washing line
  • three garden gnomes, a fake stone sheep and a cow
  • strawberries
  • tree stakes – but not the tree
  • parents throwing their child into the back garden to get the ball
  • cuttings/clippings and flowers that would look good at home
  • furniture
  • wheely bins set on fire
  • courting couples


The point is that nothing it seems is safe. So again through my own personal research I’ve come up with some top tips for the crime crackers.

  • Buy good locks for the garage or shed and even within the shed hide the more expensive pieces under the old junk. Bolt up at all times. Out of sight is out mind.
  • Wire the shed to the alarm or security system and fit sensor lights to both shed and home front and rear
  • Check your insurance details, listings and small print
  • Fit and secure gates where possible
  • Secure ornaments or sentimental valuables to the ground as best as possible. Make sure you want them to stay there first.
  • Gravel paths and driveways are a noise making deterent.
  • Thorny plants are great in selected areas
  • Ensure your privacy doesn’t leave a place for the green – fingered robbers to hide in.


Whatever your lifestyle or the area you live in the general rule for garden design is that the front of house is for the neighbours to walk by whilst the rear of grounds is for the family. Any concerns you might have about security should be discussed with your garden/ landscape designer at the inception of your design. This will allow for security features to not only fit gently into your design but also into your landscape design budget.

where do you get your ideas from…?

i’m so many times asked how? why? and what made you did you think of that…? and i’ve so often wondered myself?!! Sometime time ago the legend that is Will sent me this little clip… so now you know…?!

i love my very green life…

what can i do.. ?

what can i do.. ?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: before one reads this article, please understand – this is intended as satire/ humour or any other jargon that may make you smile!!

‘Tranquil settings, the finest of surrounds within the peaceful and serene grounds complete with parklands and golf course.’ This all sounds absolutely superb but what the small print on the booklet didn’t tell me was that this would be, for me, a true bus-mans holiday.

It was a few weeks ago when invited away for a weekend to a wedding in the Irish countryside I and my partner tip-toed out of the entertainment to relax and walk the grounds for a little time and a quiet breath of fresh air in the outdoor suite know known to some as ‘The Michael Martin Lounge’.Although the overview of the mountain range was a picture post card to say the least, as we walked I found the intricate detailing of to be a little less than I would have got away with as a horticulturist and this be a contract of mine. To analagise for the non-wedding fanatics; When asked to play golf, where on a very regular basis I decline every offer. I refuse on the basis that, possibly and extremely probably, standing at the tee-box waiting for my three companions to commence their four hours approximate non-perspirational sport – I find myself daydreaming, pondering, wondering and then examining (what some find as pure enjoyment) the ground beneath my feet, to the extent that my working mind overthrows the relaxation cells of my brain.

every where i look it's green!

every where i look it's green!

When my good lady-on-arm asked what was wrong. (as if by chance the wedding had made me teary eyed and I, in the moment, fancied as a stroll up the aisle myself ?!!) To her dismay I pointed out that there seemed to be no evidence of any use of a semi selective translocated herbicide via a calibrated sprayer on the main lawns and that the rambling roses really could use a little systemic fungicide and insecticide. I don’t think she really wanted to hear the dilution rates in hindsight!

The thought crossed my mind that although I do sincerely love the trade that I am in, in order for me to attain the same overwhelming factor that my [eg] non-horticulturalised friends derive from their ‘getaways’ I would need to retire myself from the trade to ascertain the same procurement. Understand when I say that I truly do and have embraced my career but sometimes, just sometimes its nice to switch off. The question is how and where? Answers on a postcard…!

the amazing skerries mills


I thought this would be a boring day out. The ones you got ‘dragged’ out on when you were a nipper. I also thought, at first, the €6.50 tour charge was a bit steep, I was [very] pleasantly surprised.

This, had to be, one of the best ‘tours’ I’ve ever been on. Skerries Mills is simply amazing -and it’s a lot more than just a tour. And before you ask, I wasn’t given VIP tickets to visit!


I went with ‘herself’ for a bite to eat in the coffee shop and after some good filling home cooking, we took the tour. Paddy our guide has been involved in literally every stage of the renovation of the mills, going back ten years-ish now, into what it is today and he knows everything. Add to that a good sense of humour and one finds that it is the people that make a place.

From how the 55 acres surrounding the mills came into the councils hands, how spontaneous combustion evolved from static and flour and why the life expectancy for those [lucky enough to get a job there?] was only 40 years of age… is amongst the many facts that make the journey extremely enjoyable. Outside of that ‘The Mills’ are self sufficent, financially. That is, they have to break even. And they do, now.

€6.50! In my day we could have bought the entire mills for that and still had change for a loaf of bread…..

That aside, my other interest was/ is that we ‘are’ going back to the days of water conservation, wind power and home-made; gave me an insight into how ‘not so far away’ we are from those days of old returning.

As I said €6.50 each; todays made home made scones [i asked] and a pot of tea – it is, I thought at first, a bit my Dad’s kind of thing [at least I felt like him for a little…] but it was worth every cent!

Would I return – if only just for the warm scones!

pink boats & the rick o shea

pink boat & the rick o'shea show

I will be forever & eternally greatful to Rick and his team for all they did for me & completing the pink boats journey. At the time, I did promise to publish a [massively] reduced top 10 list of those who offered to take the boat.

As you all know by now the boat is now part of the art trail in Electric Picnic.

… I tell you boys it’s harder than it looks but it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll

In the meantime I thank you all again, from my heart, but the deal was always the most fitting home and I feel it has found it. This post explains it best [click here]. For the moment I leave you with the top 10. Slán, beannacht agus arís go raibh míle maith agaibh.

1]Electric Picnic:
2] Interested to buy boat. Ann Marie
3]Texter says her brother would love the boat for his garden at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains
4]Texter says he’s interested in the boat to put on display in Arklow town.
5]Sister getting married next month and would love boat for the reception which can be held in garden.
6]Gary has 23 acre farm. …who said he would restore it.
7]Mark interested in it as a rememberance boat for all who lost their lives off Hook Head.
8]Greg runs a Safari Park in Mullingar. Theres a lake with an island on it iand that’s where he’d place the boat.
9]Mickey from Cahir wants boat
10]Lochlain would give boat good home on the Riverbank Restaurant and pub in Co.Monaghan