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Garden Maintenance

I have been maintaining gardens since before I was a teenager and after 10 years in business garden maintenance is still one of the services that I pride myself on. In 2007 I won the overall ALCI award for garden maintenance – in this case it was a private garden.

I provide both commercial and domestic garden maintenance outside of and including Dublin.

I find that it is the preparation prior to any gardening works taking place that ensures the relationship between you and I works best and also guarantees the best results from your budget and the time I spend with your space outdoors.

Garden Maintenance can be done by way of the following:

  • a one off garden visit
  • regular scheduled garden visits

Within a one off visit you may simply require a good honest tidy over of your space  to give it a lift for the upcoming season or you may simply require a more manicured approach to an existing outdoors to get it back to its finest appearance once again. Others simply require a helping hand to get the garden back on its rightful course where it has been let go for some time.

Services for regularly scheduled and one off visits also include:

  • additional planting to suit the season or for additional colour
  • mulching of beds and play areas
  • fertilising programme for trees, shrubs or lawns
  • grass cutting of open areas or small spaces
  • hedge cutting and shrub pruning
  • tree services
  • weed control in lawns or through existing planting and borders

Whilst some wish to complete the garden maintenance tasks themselves one can also get that little added direction and consultation. In this regard, garden maintenance schedules, checks and calenders can be put in place to suit your specific space in the great outdoors if required.

If you would like to talk with me about garden or grounds maintenance you can as always contact me via the following options.

  • by email info@doneganlandscaping.com
  • via this website: click the contact page
  • call mobile – o876594688

My qualifications:

  • Certificate in Commercial Horticulture (1996)
  • General Examination in Horticulture – Royal Horticultural Society (1997)
  • Advanced Diploma in Commercial Horticulture (1998)

The Right Time To Get The Garden Done

It must be coming into your quiet time for the oul’ gardening now…..

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Just one of the many clichés I’m on the verge of hearing more regularly now that the temperatures start to drop slightly and the evenings start to get a little shorter. The answer is more the opposite in fact.

There is a point where there are certain things that cannot be done no matter what stage of the season one is talking from, but in general the wise owls, tend to, get the ‘garden done’ in what some would consider the off season.

The reality is that with the coming of October onwards and the drop in temperatures of the seasons comes the en mass planting of trees and shrubs. Don’t get me wrong summer is fine for gardening… but when one needs to plant en mass or is planning on a budget and has the patience to place into the ground what may appear as a twig – and wait – then planting when the specimen is dormant and the sky above is willing to act as your automatic watering system ie. you do not need to water every single plant to keep it alive during the pretty decent warm summer we have just had – then logic, in gardening terms is simply just that and has been applied extremely well.

Have you ever seen someone watering plants in November…?

The other advantage is that the new plant is not competing with weeds as it tries to settle into its new home, wherever that maybe. Because essentially, weeds are plants – they simply don’t know that we don’t want them to grow there – and –  like the plants we do want to grow, both are in their over-wintering state.

Generally speaking in this context, put into the summer months, the turning of the soil in order to plant [the plants] brings with it weed seeds flourishing to the surface. Come the rise in temperatures towards the end of spring it is hoped the developing canopies of foliage will assist in reducing this problem – and therefore the competition for nutrients. A mild nipping of the tips helps here.

The question then remains – when is the best time to get the garden done? And the answer is pretty simple – whenever you wish. The question back is what do you want from your garden [?]

If one for example wishes to have a ‘not always just green garden’ ie. one where the plants come and go in and out of flower throughout the seasons; like the forsythia below that flowers on bare stems in early and mid spring – if planted in summer – then there is a wait until the following season for it to come into its own and fullest glory.


Based on last year [2009] which was a complete wash out of a summer which followed straight into an iceberg…. there was a point where freakish summer climatic  conditions meant the gardener [yours truly] had to take time to let the clothes dry out, at some point, eventually.

But this year has been quite good. I’d easily gather bbq sales were up on last year and with that summer feeling has come a rise in requests for garden make-overs, tidy-ups and manicures [with mild additions to]. The other thing noticable is that clients and potential clients started calling in June to plan for the coming ‘off season’.

Tree and hedge planting season is what it may be called for some. But what are people calling Donegan landscaping asking for ?

The requests all have planting of some form involved, but generally speaking the reason to do it, as versus the type of planting, in the off season is the fact that the couple/ family or in the case of one residential complex – the client[s] do not wish to have to water or maintain the plants once planted. A smart move, when making the most out of ones budget, as versus reducing the budget in the main season and not getting the most from the project.

It also means the planting is not trying to flower, establish and settle itself throughout a period where transpiration and growth are also a trying to take place.

It may well be the weather for you to stay inside, but for the tree, the gardener and the plants, investing wisely now may just give you the same rewards for a lot less effort come next spring and summer.

And on top of that…. there’s some hedging and really, really nice trees to be planted 😉

How does your garden grow…?

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Strawberry Plant Babies

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It can really get on my goat when the grow your own and save yourself money marketing brigade continue to thrust their [not so] ideal[s] upon the ordinary Joe punter gardener. Let me put this in context, when a bag of compost costs €6 and the strawberry plants cost €3 and you or I may get less than a punnet of fruit…. That would cost about €3 anyway…. My point ? Logic. Versus that, maybe I’m the muppet and the marketing garden guru’s are the smarty pants ?

The alternative versus that, is when you can get your plants for free and maybe three or four strawberries per plant…. now we’re sucking diesel 😀 and now the grow your own is saving us some money.

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These plants are exactly that. Free. Or at the very least starting to pay for themselves.

What happens is very simple. And in simple terms, little runners are sent out by the mother plant with, what were described to me along time ago as umbilical chords and plants on the end of them 😉

Read this post for further ‘botanical’ information on the Strawberry plant.

There are loads of shoots on my plants at the moment, but I’ve tended to only pick the ones with some roots on the end. The photograph at the top had landed itself in with the turnips and hence the roots, but from then on a closer inspection is required.

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I very simply pinched out the central buds, if there were any and popped them into a wee little pot of compost.

From there they went into the greenhouse and apart from a little throw my eye over them now and again, they should be just fine.

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Short and sweet as it sounds that’s my strawberries looked after for next year.

Let me know how you get on. Any problems just leave a comment below.

The [Un]usual Planter

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

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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.

The Weekend Garden Outdoors Podcast

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, www.sodshow.com all good podcast stores.


Listen in MP3 format – or – As always you can rss the podcasts via iTunes or you can subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed last weeks garden podcast ?

On The Blog This Week:

Interesting snippets:

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And finally:

Straight from the European Union and more organic information:
DG ENV informed the Group about the EU Ecolabel scheme, which has been in place since 1992. The scheme has to be reviewed and the Commission has proposed appropriate amendments to the Regulation – and the Ecolabel scheme would now cover food and drink products as well. This will not be implemented now, but only after a study has been made by the end of 2011. The study will involve consumers and assess whether the Ecolabel will be compatible with the EU organic logo.
CIAA, IFOAM and COPA-COGECA expressed their concerns – including the major risk that consumers would be confused and misled and they called for some kind of communication strategy.
ECVC pointed out that the Ecolabel scheme has been used more traditionally and this calls for cautiousness and that the creation of a new scheme would not benefit anyone. In FairTrade’s view it would be essential not to devaluate the organic EU-logo. CIAA suggested that not only consumers become involved in the study but that the Commission
used other alternatives such as round table meetings. They also presented the argument that the study should not be rushed through with the sole purpose of carrying out new initiatives. EOCC addressed the certified system; separated or single out for the revised scheme.
DG ENV stated that the criteria will be improved and strengthened every 3-5 years and that the Commission was aware of the dilemma between fair trade end eco. The Chair concluded that the Group needs to be informed, so that the concerns can be addressed.

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Answers on a postcard and  have a great bank holiday weekend 😀