Sonairte is the type of place I like to go as a horticulturist. As a green minded person, it’s also where I go with my daughter, as a Father; horticultural qualifications not worn on my sleeve, on them days.
There’s something periodic table of the elements type simplistic about solar-powered reflector satellite slow cooking, frogs as a method of pest control and bicycle powered electricity. Kermits favourite colour aside, the setting, even when it’s not a glorious day at Sonairte, is absolutely stunning.
The Garden Group in short: There’s no membership, there are no costs and it attracts more non gardeners than botanists. A bit different, you may say. I kind of like it that way, though some say it’s very silly of me. We’ll see… but for the now, it’s all good.
Sonairte may be many things imperfect to some, you’ll understand what I mean if you go there. That, that imperfectness though is allowed at times and here I find it suits this landscape. With your garden in mind, what Sonairte allows you to witness is en mass extremely diverse biodiversity, that in the real world works.
There are elements of Sonairte that also exist in my garden, and vice versa. They are touches that may make my space outdoors appear to some, slightly uncouth maybe, when compared with the ye olde type formal – though they always existed in pre 19th century garden design.
Domestically, garden planning in mind and far more important is that I know it is possible to take a little of the unscrupulous and allow it fit within your space outdoors, for the greater.
From garden feature ideas to growing your own and from the very thought provoking to what maybe, may surprise you to see children smile at, Sonairte really is one of Irelands hidden gems.
On a slight side note, The Sodshow garden radio microphones came along for the garden groups journey and our afternoon out will go to air this Friday and next in 2 parts. There was that much to take in.
A large note of thank you to nice guy and green buddy Trevor Sargent who was our guide for the afternoon. Also to the wonderful volunteers at Sonairte who are and were yet again just lovely. Also and by no means forgetting you who have, may and did come along.
As weather suitable for gardening in any format goes, last year has to be the worst on record and I think it’s fair to say that, although not by choice, a lot of gardeners had a little extra spare time on their hands.
Not content with sitting on my laurels [be dum. See what I did there…?] I started to think a little outside of the box. To be fair I had started to think outside the box sometime ago.
Delving a little into the past so as to give some context as to where I’m heading with this, I did write for The Irish Farmers Journal for a number of years. I wrote for a number of others freelance as well but without rewriting a curriculum vitae that you may wish to borrow so you can beat me with it, The IFJ was my probably my longest stay as a regular garden correspondent.
The Gardener is off on one again Mary….
Some time after I left there, I started writing my garden blog. Four years old this august, it’s made up of around two hundred of my own video’s, approximately 4,500 images and over 300 segments of audio all posted within almost 900 articles. All done in my own spare time, all written by yours truly and all on the subject matter of the great outdoors and gardening.
I’ve always had a theory that if every person in this little country of ours planted one tree today. Wouldn’t Ireland be so beautiful tomorrow.
Yeah, yeah. I’m getting there…
When last years snow kicked in all complete with a Sky News media team trying to interview a single hail stone on the edge of some motorway in Scotland, I queried where could or would a garden story ever fit in.
Well it wasn’t really the weather for gardening Pete….
Being green during weather so inclement may not be perceived as being so cool. But we who have a space to garden shouldn’t and can’t simply pull the curtains. In the great big garden calender it doesn’t work that way.
Over a year ago Bernie Goldbach, a lecturer in social media at Tipperary Institute suggested I try podcasting. What started as talking into the tail end of my telephone over a year ago handing out various tit-bits of garden advice for five minutes has since been branded and logo’d and has morphed slowly over that time while demand, interest and listener numbers growing.
On March 11th 2011 Dublins only garden radio show, The SodShow was borne. Hosted by Peter Donegan [that’s me] and Brian Greene, it airs live on Dublin City Fm every Friday at 3pm. The radio show is also now the podcast, which more often, surprising maybe, out shines similar shows produced by the BBC and others.
The Donegan fella is blathering away telling us how great he is again. Betcha he’s playing that Carly Simon song whilst he looks at a picture of himself….
But there’s a bigger picture here. One where we all benefit. Remember the tree dream I spoke about earlier [paragraph five] ? Remember my spiel about the snow [paragraph 1] ?
Well here’s my thinking, what if there was one more garden blog, or lots. More garden audio and video’s online. Irish ones. One from Galway even. More garden groups [see The Tribesman June 2nd 2011] What if all of a sudden everyone started talking, to the world and the wide web about their great outdoors. Wouldn’t it be brilliant for Irish gardening ?
The Jackeen may actually be making some sense….
You see there are two winners in this. Everyone. And I don’t just mean the businesses.
It’s about the gardener in Galway who has a mild dilemma with his potatoes for example. It’s about that great park you brought your family to, the time you went camping by Lough Ennell or very simple the day your daughter smiled when you grew your first pumpkin. It’s about others going there because of what you said. It may even be the man in Germany who comes to Ireland [or Galway] and stays in that campsite because of what you said.
Sometimes I think we Irish are the greatest yappaholics in the world. And we may well be. But there’s just not enough official gardening yapping going on, on the record that is. That I know there are six regular garden radio slots, not shows, in this country.
There’s a time when things must happen in gardening. There’s a time when trees sleep. There are those who know that sub zero temperatures are actually good for gardening. There’s a time as individuals we weep on a plants passing. There are things that I could have done even during the snow to make my home prettier, using plants, if even just to save some.
It may be Flirt FM or Galway Bay fm. It may just be you talking into your phone, writing a blog post or writing for the local newspaper. It may only just create a conversation that is deemed downright controversial. And when was the last time that happened in the gardening world of this green isle ?
Either or one things for sure, those who like, love and or even dislike the great outdoors, gardeners need to talk, more.
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