Posts

Fingal Independent – July 6th 2011

For those who have asked…. Despite the media report [below] I still own my lawnmower. Also, I still use it and didn’t trade it in. I am still a gardener, landscaper, garden designer or anything else that maybe describe one who works with plants.

Nonetheless, The fingal Independent did write this piece this week 😉

Donegan’s gardening radio show sparks rave reviews

By Robin KIELY

Wednesday July 06 2011

HE’S more used to hedgerows than headphones, but now a Fingal gardener has turned over a new leaf on the airwaves.

Award-winning landscaper, Peter Donegan, has traded in his mower for a microphone, fronting a weekly gardening radio show, which has drawn rave reviews.

Indeed, so popular is the ‘ Sod Show’ podcast that it regularly beats off competition from a host of international stations and programmes in the download charts.

Airing live on Dublin City FM every Friday, the Ballyboughal native aims to open up the world of gardening to everyone, mixing expert guests with local enthusiasts and businesses.

‘I’ve been doing the podcast on its own for about a year and the Sod Show has been on radio nearly six months,’ Peter explained.

‘We do it live and then it goes straight to a podcast on iTunes. It’s got a happy vibe and is a feelgood gardening radio show.

‘It’s for people who like the great outdoors. Brian Greene, who has 20 years of radio experience behind him does the sound and audio.

‘We’ve done a couple of good specials. We have Jane Powers on, who writes for the Irish Times, and we had the guy who grew shamrock for Barack Obama.

‘We’ve also had locals on. Ann Lynch from Ballyboughal Hedgerow Society was on, as was Phillip Murtagh who was talking about making elder flower champagne, both from Ballyboughal.

‘We’re aiming to make gardening and the show a fun place to be and it seems to be working well.’

A glance at the download charts on iTunes certainly emphasises that fact, where the Sod Show’s podcast regularly claims the number one berth in the ‘outdoor’ category.

What’s even more impressive is its standings in the ‘sport and recreation’ section, where it’s pulling in more hits than the likes of gardening shows on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Ulster and Sky Sport’s ‘Sunday Supplement’ podcast.

‘It’s phenomenal really,’ Peter reflected. ‘It’s important to recognise the amount of work being done locally in Ballyboughal and it’s nice to be able to get that out on the airwaves.

‘ We’re mixing local guest with nationally and internationally known guests. The show really is open to everyone.’

It’s another chapter in an impressive story for Peter, who celebrates 10 years in business this year and he’s still as busy as ever.

He passed on his knowledge at a number of talks with Fingal Libraries earlier this year and addressed 250 people on the benefits of podcasting at a recent south Dublin event.

And on the gardening front, he spent the weekend demonstrating garden displays in the middle of the city centre, as part of an urban living event in Wolfe Tone Park.

-The Sod Show is broadcast every Friday at 3pm on Dublin City FM.

– Robin KIELY

Create Your Family Garden

If I hear the word….

…in these recessionary times….

…one more effing time, I may just spontaneously combust. I’ve had it. I’ve had it the media, with RTE, RTE Prime Time, RTE Frontline, The Week in Politics, RTE news and you can throw your man Vincent Browne right in the middle as he joins the conga party bus just as sure as one more government gaff hits the headlines. This all before I don’t pick up a newspaper.

donegan landscapingI watched the youtube clip of Shane Hegarty on BBC news – yes folks, BBC news – as he spoke about the Great Things About Ireland campaign. He yapped about red lemonade and how a wake may turn into a party, our sports and our language…. I began to smile as my mind wondered, child like, as if I was in accounting class on a warm summers day, starring at a single cow in a field…..

I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch much television. I definitely don’t watch anything that may devalue my happy head. On the one hand I spend too much time outside. But I’m happy there. I love camping in the rain. I love climbing trees, still. I love good news. I admire people who smile. I call it the great outdoors for good reason and as I type this weeks piece I’m taking my caffeine in a mug that says Happy Christmas on it. That’s the kind of happy level I like to be and am at.

I’ve realised just how much time I spend outside though. A lot of that is in other peoples gardens I admit. Towards the point, I’ve got a baby girl now and she’s one and a little bit years young. When I was camping in Lough Ennell we sat on the grass together were I played the ukelele for her while Mom was off doing stuff us adults may consider important. I know I like to keep my mind occupied, which can sometimes lead to moments of ponder. The technical term is daydreaming I believe, but Ella held tight to the sleeve of my t-shirt and sang her own or at the very least the unreleased version of whatever choon I was diddling away with. And for a moment I paused…. I wondered why this didn’t or hadn’t happened at home more often, or at all. I’m hesitant to admit some of the other pre-mentioned options.

What the flip is the gardener talking about this week Mary….?

I’ve taken at a look at my great outdoors you see. I’ve been growing vegetables. I have my fruit trees. I have had pieces in my garden like my red satellite bird bath – a satellite, painted red and turned into a bird bath – but these were or are mine. Not hers or ours. And as I delve further into my thoughts, I realise I am  now potentially reticent of the old, to me, at the time, gardeners I knew back in the 1980’s. I need to change that, in a way.

I need to plant more pretty flowers. Make the garden a place of intrigue and mystery. With hidden places. Not the stereotypical ‘childrens’ garden ie. a slide in a specific space. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There’s not. But I’d like to have that and so much more. And it’s so easy to do. To design, nee map out the garden in my head.

She will start to walk soon and ask questions and wonder why and explore and…..well that’s what the Haynes Manual on all things Children says and in my mind as I start to doodle I can see that I just need to be impractical. Forget about the manual. Pretend I’m four… easy before you giggle there.

I need to not say I can’t. I need wild flowers growing. Not out of a packet. Just wilderness growing, wild, so I can run through it, even though I might lose things in there. But then I may also find them, which will make me smile. I know she won’t always need to hold on to me to be able to stand you see and then I’ll need a little more than that patch of grass we sat on.

For me, as I see it, the en vogue gig for the general populas may well be growing your own vegetables and it really does have a great role to play in the lives and future of this nations nippers. Very happy I am to see it somewhat take the place of the microwave. But I remember the girls I knew growing up making perfume in a jam jar, with rose petals. I remember making daisy chains. Climbing trees, taking geranium cuttings, picking some flowers for a school teacher…. such simple things, all playing such a huge part in the ever increasing big picture of my time and life not indoors.

As I delve back into my adult head, my horticulturist hat back on I realise that last seasons snow meant that I couldn’t do certain things so that they might be in flower come this year. More than that it meant I lost a season. That means I must now wait until this coming October to plant my trees.  It also means the new hedge that doesn’t exist has a valid excuse. But more, even more than that, this time next year Ella will be two going three. A big difference. And if I don’t do the things I should to my garden now, this season…. well, as her Godfather explained to me, she’ll never be that age again.

I was chatting about this with a gardener friend of mine. I was explaining that my chicken coop is painted pink and white. I will of course openly admit I had a lot of that colour left over from a previous garden endeavour. I explained my thinking, my hands almost directing  traffic as they flapped about in the air etching the garden into nothing-ness. In jesting, we came to the conclusion that if I had had a baby boy I may simply have needed a set of goal posts.

But the horticultural minds considering poetry as versus trigonometry, both agreed that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the imagination is something that should be applauded and enccouraged, maybe even nurtured. We thought of the seasons, the seasons of nature one needs to pre-empt in order to be able to attract it to your garden so it is there when that time arrives.

Now that I have told myself my story and what I would like that road ahead to have in stock for me…. I think it’s about time I designed a garden for the future and for my family.

I remember some time ago being asked by a Client, who was also a Dad to visit his daughter. She had just bought her first home and had, as he described it an extreme case of the independance streak.

She inherits it off her Mother. Who inherited it from hers…..

He told me.

After a consultation with her and partner a list was drawn up. A wish list, that would make a garden. On the other page, a great big garden doodle. With numbers, arrows and outlines. But, after each item on the list was the ingredients to make that particular piece or space.

The benches, for example, were new railway sleepers, six inch nails, paint and some cement. The planting was seperated into trees, bulbs and then the lower growing plants, bed by bed. The sketch and the itinary were given to the Father. He then framed it and paid me for my time. It was her house warming present and it was hung in the kitchen, by the patio doors.

For each birthday, anniversary or celebration some items, ingredients or were it maybe got a little technical, my time was purchased by the various relations.

Better than the salt and pepper shaker she always wanted. Anyways the garden will be a nice home for that swing I’m gonna make her….

For the weekend that has just passed, Happy Fathers day. And before anyone asks why I didn’t mention Dads day last week….? I of course had to be reminded 🙂 There are reassons why I never buy myself socks.

Contact Peter Donegan:

The [Un]usual Planter

Here, you have that. You might be able to do something with it….

...

That’s quite a regular statement I hear actually. Surprised ? I wasn’t. It’s not the most unusual object I’ve ever been handed. I like the odd challenge and this one was a doddle.

Yesterday I filled the container with some pebble. More to weight it down. It also looks really good. I also had a few hand fulls of pebble in my workshop, so it suited. It also saves on compost and in this case I didn’t have enough 😉

Helen had given me some spider plant babies a while ago that had come on really well…. and I had a spot inside where I felt it would look really good.

Total cost. €0.00

Personally, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me that as a gift.

Today Fm Sunday Business Show

As mentioned previous, this morning I was on Irelands Today Fm business radio show.

How did this all come about? The producer of the Business Show Myra had read my blog posts on getting paid and sent me this email last week.

I came across you blog from your web site and was wondering if you were interested in speaking with us re issues surrounding getting paid. It’s a common complaint at the moment and we were looking to do a broad piece on the general area of debt collection. We will look at the new small claims avenue, the debt collectors and the legal route. It would be great opportunity to get some air space for your self and I get the feeling you will be a comforting sound to many of our listeners.

After the show and when I returned home. I  received this email from Myra with some select listeners comments

Why don’t they do what they have in America; put a lein on their property or business?

The system is messed up. You start your own biz, maybe hire staff, and in the downturn you’re entitled to no financial assistance? How do you survive?

Why are self employed people entitled to nothing when their work dries up?

Stand outside their house with a big sign saying they’re not paying.

Good morning. I am self employed also in the agri industry. Now most people are very honest but I think it was just ‘fashionable’ to say I don’t have money. It’s really a case of they have it but wont part with it. Some of the clients I got hard to get money from I just took small amounts. It took longer but worked.

Many thanks to Myra and the entire team. It is really is an absolute pleasure to meet, from entering reception, to the host of the show and to the people behind the scenes, such nice people. 😉 Thank you.

To the very, very many of you who wished me all the best while I was on air via text/ twitter/ email and even those of you who tried to call me….. 😆 Thank you too. 🙂

*note: I say 3 figure sum in the clip. I actually meant 6.

*note also: yes some of my good friends do try and call me to say I can hear you on the radio…. while I am live on air. Everytime….. 😉

...

garden design bible [book]

tim newbury garden design book

bible... ?

I bought this book last year… and to be very honest…. it has sat on the shelf for most of that time. No offence Tim Newbury. Sincerely. That said, it only cost €17.55 [only?!!] in hughes and hughes and I suppose that should [again, sincerely] be taken into consideration.

But I’m still puzzled on this one. For me the only horticultural bible I know of is the RHS encyclopedia of plants and with that in mind, the truth is… this is far from ‘a bible’.

It is a good book possibly, for my Mom or one of my four sisters [who would not be gardeners of any format by the way]. It is I might propose a good guide when considering ideas for your garden…. a kind of  a ‘I was thinking of something along those lines…’ kind of a guide….?

But, you may be disappointed, if you were looking for lots of pictures. In its favour, the illustrations and the explanations are good – but then against that…. there are only ’40 great off the peg designs’ to chose from.

A good gift, a decent book [and a very useful one too for the novice, maybe…],  but not the greatest investment I personally have ever made.

PS: Dear Mr Hughes and Mr Hughes,

I did email you some weeks ago… but to no response. you might consider an educated and experienced horticulturalist to review your books before they hit the shelves…

my rating: 2/5

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]