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bernice burnside…. pr garden guest #9

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions – click here.

For the moment writer #9 is Bernice Burnside of Bvisible PR

bernice

bernice

ABOUT:

Bernice Burnside began her career in television before establishing Bvisible Communications in 2001- a PR agency based on Malahide.

She grew up surrounded by actors and musicians and managed to keep her thespian and musical interests alive until the arrival of her two children, who have replaced these hobbies with a new version of acting and music! Her current interests include food, films and photography. When she does get to relax she likes a bit of yoga, a brisk walk by the sea or a good book

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:

When I was growing up in Sligo, I was lucky enough to have always had plenty of outdoor space for playing. I was fortunate. Ireland’s increasing population as well as our ravenous demand to own a patch of land has resulted in many children being raised with little or no outdoor playing space.

We lived in two houses in my youth: the first one was in an estate and had a wonderful sloping garden – a God-made playground feature and my friends, siblings and I used to roll down the verge when the weather was permitting (and sometimes when it wasn’t).

In my childhood gardens were the herald of seasons: springtime meant seasonal strawberries, gooseberries and edible flowers in our neighbours garden, which I and many of my friends gorged ourselves on (sometimes surreptitiously) and summer was announced by the sensory overload of the smell of cut grass (which reminds me of childhood summer to this day) and the distant buzz of various lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers and other macho motorised-blade machines. Even the man-made calendar year had a relationship with the area, as my school loomed over our back garden reminding us in summer of the blissful distance we were from going back to class.

We moved when I was 8 to a house surrounded by its own piece of land. This was more like it: the garden area was literally 10 times the size of the one in our last house, opening up the possibilities of childhood games. It was dominated by a large Yew tree from which my parents hung a swing that survives to this day. The dry, decorative well was a the focus point for tip-the-can, the open area was ideal for chasing, and best of all, there was a forest to the side and back of our house blooming with possibility. To this day I’m not sure who it belonged to, but for all intents and purposes, it was ours.

This upbringing has almost certainly coloured how I’ve been raising my kids and the back garden and outdoors area was a huge factor when we were looking to buy in Malahide. We got lucky.

Not only is it a corner house with its rear flanked and side by trees, but the previous owner was a very handy handyman. He had built a chair into the back wall, and some furniture in a seductively secluded part of the garden. Micah, like her mother, is irresistibly drawn to the garden – shivering in delight in water fights as early as April, and inventing countless games throughout the summer. Like her mother, her love for the garden is more as a consumer than a curator – I’ve always been happy to help out, but my love for the outdoors is matched only by my ignorance of its flora.

When time becomes a more plentiful commodity, I hope to approach the knowledge and dedication of my husband, starting with the planting of my own collection of herbs. This, ideally, will fuse my love for food with my passion for the outdoors.

One plant I will always remember is ivy and calla lilies. These were chosen for me by a good friend for my wedding day, based, according to her, on my colour preference as well as my persona. A florist by trade, she chose the elegant, aromatic Oriental flowers to greet me when I entered the church. Sometimes I like to imagine that she thought it reflected my mysterious, ageless beauty, but I’ve never had the nerve to ask!

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joy redmond – pr thursday garden guest #3

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #3 is Joy Redmond of flexitimers.com

Joy

Joy

ABOUT:

Joy Redmond is marketing & operations director of Flexitimers.com – a people-2-people platform for professional freelance and project work in Ireland. Joy has been working in the web industry (both agency and client side) since 1996. Joy was hiding out in academia between 2002-2007 but left to set up Flexitimers with Dervla Cunningham. Joy is delighted to be back working in a start-up, an environment in which she is most comfortable.

What I like about the Garden:

I was lucky because I grew up in beautiful garden not only because it had lots of interesting specimens but being one of six kids (typical Irish family like steps of stairs), the garden was where we spent most of our time. One of our favourite games was ‘who dies the best’ where each sibling would take turns dying more tragically that the next.  A lot of action took place around the weeping willow tree at the base of the front garden where many Cindy dolls were rescued and renegade action men were hanged. A voluptuous hydrangea was often necessary cover from irate motorists who’d been missiled with mud and rocks, yes typical behavour of a kid in a small town in late 70s so bored out of their mind that causing an accident was considered a result.

My mother used to say that a garden must have a number of ‘rooms’ each with their own character so we had a dining area enclosed by clematis covered trellises that when in flower told us summer was coming. The grass in the back garden was separated into two lawns by a row of cammelias that bloomed around Easter Egg time. The ‘yard’ was the patio area from the back door to the garage which catered for our evolving tastes – hoola hoops, rollerskates, bikes, basketball, the open theatre and then discos with spin the bottle.

Everyone had their favourite spot, Daddy’s was in the front garden (with the evening sun) in the hammock he’d bought in Mexico which was suspended between the two palm trees he’d planted for that reason. Mammy’s was lying in a lounger in full sun beside her rockery (very 80s!), Zoe lying on the floral print couch swing always reading, Alan being the only boy had to assert his masculinty by shooting coke cans with his pellet gun from his tree house in the huge oak tree, Eve spent most of her time grooming and coercing excerise from ‘Silver’ her bi-polar pony who never came good for pony rides at our parties. Jan (‘middle child’) behind the garage kicking the windsurfs with her back to us shouting out how much she hated us until Mammy bought her a puppy which taught her how to love. Amy and I (the little ones) used to spend hours beside the herb garden making mud pies for ‘Mr. Brown Thomas’ we’d say in our poshest Wexford accents.When we were grown up, my mother got a pond which pumped water to a waterfall that flowed down through the rockery. A few apple tress and a magnolia tree were planted with stone benches to sit and read in the shade. During her final summer, i have a vivid memory of her sitting back in her lounger with the sun shining eating a fresh chocolate from Leonidas with the sound of water trickling and she said it was ‘heaven.’I suppose if I was to sum up our garden, it was ‘lived in’ and alhough we’d lots of beautiful plants and flowers, we never felt we had to tiptoe or watch our step. It was first and foremost a place of fun and if a few shrubs got injured that didn’t really matter. We had spectacular water fights – commercial waterparks will never compare and usually ended up with someone (even a parent) getting so hyper and climbing onto the flat roof hosing us all down where there was nowhere to hide.My own garden is a little less spectacular. Three years ago, I bought a second hand house and inherited a 30 year mature garden which my father repeatedly tells me I’ve knocked 30k off its value by sheer neglect. I find it hard to muster the same enthusiasm as my two sons divided by five years and autism don’t have the same garden comraderie. A trampolene has proven a common ground as too I hope will the ‘hide’ that has been in construction for two years.  Now with the weather picking up, I’m due for my annual horticultural psychosis which will involve attacking the neglect with zeal, I’ll spray the roses, weed all the beds, reseed my wild flower border, rebirth my containers with pansies, tulips and lillies, untangle the 8 or so ciimbers I’ve ignored for months, prune the plum, apple and other trees, spray and cultivate the veg patch and start my beetroots, asparagus, peas, beans and lots of salad and herbs and so on until my hands and back are wrecked. My garden will look glorious for a week and so the cycle continues.

neil o’ gorman – pr thursday garden guest #1

if you would like to know more about thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

neil o' gorman

neil o' gorman

For the moment writer #1 is Neil O’ Gorman of Bespoke Comunications.

ABOUT:

Prior to working in PR, Neil lived and taught English, Law and Politics in Paris in a variety of roles before returning to his native Dublin in late 1995 to “get a career together”.  He worked in a variety of project management roles in the charity sector, before landing a job in PR.  Neil is a former Director of Edelman where he spent 6 years working in the agency’s Consumer Brands division before leaving in October 2004 to set up a PR Division in BTL agency, Banks Love Marketing Communications. Neil established Bespoke Communications in June 2007.

What I like about gardens…

I have always loved the smell of freshly cut grass and it always makes me think of sunshine.  A bit less so in recent years, but I still equate one with the other.  In fact it was the love of that most hopeful and optimistic of smells that led to my obsession as a kid with cutting the grass in our home in Sutton Park in Bayside, Dublin 13.

As early as 9 years old I remember marking this out as my territory … “Mum, from here on in, I’ll do the gardens.  Front and back.  That’s now officially my job and you don’t need to even think about it any more”.  After all, I was the only one in the family obsessed with neatness and, therefore, was the only one who would really capable of doing the job ‘properly’!  And that meant not only cutting the edges all the way around and giving it a good old short back and sides of sorts, but also trying to create the sort of effect I used to enjoy observing on the pitches of England’s most famous football grounds on Match Of The Day or The Big Match.  Although, it has to be said that I was quite content producing an effective but consistent vertical pattern.  Even back then I knew my limits.  So, as much as I marvelled at the diagonals and the circular designs which started in the centre circle and got bigger and bigger as you moved closer to the touchline, I knew this was beyond me and my modest garden tools.  Efficiency, without real creativity.  A neat job.  That was enough to give me great pleasure.  I still do a neat job on my own garden, but still have never quite mastered the world of plants, flowers and shrubbery.

As is the case generally, it was all so much simpler back then.  Just grass and a few plants and bushes.  Nothing more exotic than roses, daffodils, honeysuckle (they used to taste so good!) and hydrangeas. That was it.  Easy, really. Now, however, in the same way that it is no longer merely enough to have a house, neither is it a case of just having a garden.  Our recently acquired national fascination with interior design has extended outside our front and back doors with some impressive and beautiful results everywhere you go.  But, it’s all got a bit too technical and high maintenance for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love walking into people’s gardens and admiring what they’ve done to transform the space into something personal and personally rewarding with a little bit of imagination and a little bit of knowledge and understanding.  I have even felt a sense of regret when I’ve met people who have really taken time to apply themselves and learn something about the variety of plant life available and how to really look after it and, well, not just keep it alive, but help it thrive. What’s more, I’ve been known to become completely absorbed by gardening magazines in the doctor’s surgery and have wondered if it is one of those things I could turn my time to in later years. But, plenty time for that in the years ahead.  I’ve many other challenges to master before I turn my hand (or my fingers) green.

Still, to all those who have persevered, much respect.  And to all those who continue keep my favourite parks and gardens looking (and smelling) amazing – Botanic Gardens, St. Anne’s Park, Iveagh Gardens, St. Stephen’s Green, Phoenix Park – thank you. Your work has not gone unnoticed.

... i just love it

... i just love it