All Posts Horticulture Ireland

Recycled Car Tyre Garden Mulch

Made in Ireland from recycled car tyres. This might just be your newest readily available alternate to the usual garden bark mulch.

The advantages, by my logic, is that it wouldn’t need to be replenished as often, if at all. Also because it is an inert product [ie. it cannot be considered a growing medium] it cannot break down as a normal mulch would in which weeds eventually will grow into. That said were I normally wouldn’t use a semi permeable membrane to separate soil from bark, I might be inclined to do so in the case of this mulch as one would with lets say a decorative pebble. I can also see this working much better in childrens play areas from an aesthetics point of view as versus the rubber matting.

By my reckoning it looks pretty good close up and the tree rings seem a sturdy decent and extremely logic solution to weeds, weeding and their prevention.

Crumb Rubber are based in Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland and employ 24 people. They set up in 2003 to tackle the countries mounting waste tyre problem and in 2010 Crumb Rubber won the Green Entrepreneur Award.

All Posts Peter Donegan in the Media

Four Live on RTE – Friday 15th April

peter donegan rte four live

Friday 15th saw me appear on RTE’s Four Live show.You can watch it on RTE Player. I think it stays there for about 2 weeks or so

Here’s RTE’s blurb on what I was talking about…

Ireland have been classed as one of the worst offenders when it comes to wasting food, so to make sure you keep perfectly good food from the bin, landscaper and horticulturist Peter Donegan is here to show you how to replant and regrow!

peter donegan rte four live

more details on four live over on the RTE website.

A hat tip and note of thanks to Dave from RTE who looked after me. Nice one Dave. 🙂

All Posts Parks, Places, Camping

Your Great Outdoors

My week in the garden this week has been one of absolute smiles. The rain poured and the sun shined on me and my mind wondered when would the man, or woman, with the remote control make up their minds on which setting they wanted the weather to remain.

But all of this is good and to use the title of last weeks article, there is a balancing act in there somewhere. It maybe one were one gets slightly sun burnt and equally saturated potentially the very next day, but it does balance itself out. Last years extremes of course putting all of my just typed theories to absolute shame.

But within the space of just seven days my apple trees have all burst into flower. Also in there it seems one can include my cherry trees and my peach trees. The place is literally blossoming and blooming. All though there is no great skill to scattering some seeds on top of a window box filled with compost, you can also throw in there the fact that my lettuce seeds have just germinated. And the roller coaster doesn’t stop there as my strawberries are producing their fresh foliage, my onions and garlic sets are flying it. This just to name but a few…

From an ornamentals perspective my Crataegus or Hawthorn have also burst into leaf and with that bringing birds chirping some sweet soul music. It is quite simply so pretty and amazing.

I know some, as I have said so many times, over the course of the last years have followed the trends of the cobble, to decking and now to the growing your own. Within that genre, as most landscape gardeners will tell you came a double underlined requirement for low and zero maintenance gardens. Something that baffles me now mildly, especially when you realise some of those gardens have quite recently become host to a variance of intensively farmed allotments and raised beds.

Yesterday I picked some tulips  from my front garden and popped them very simply in an old glass to brighten up the kitchen. I realised that no matter what season, even though parts my garden may look at worst slightly shambolic, to my eyes anyway, I have got some form of flower or foliage to adorn the house and brighten my and the families day – or at the very least just my own. Equally, I also will always have some form of fruit, vegetables and herbs on the go, but from a pretty looking something point of view, there is always something, somewhere to grab a bunch of to scent and admire indoors. There comes with that a sense of achievement when someone calls around and to borrow the cliché, stops to smell the roses. That because I have grown them myself.

In here the point I make is that if you are about to get the garden made over, be it in phases or stages to suit financially or for family reasons, do take in and include the bigger picture. Sure there is the checklist of sheds, washing lines and so on that must and will be considered, but there is something about a house that feels like a home. This at least in my opinion comes from the individual, collective or singular. For me there is nothing more warming than being invited into a family home where the fridge hosts a myriad of children’s drawings and postcards, homework and painting, knitting or whatever sits half done on the kitchen table. On the walls may well hang some nice pieces of art and next to it a photograph collection that in monetary terms is worthless, yet it means so much to those who see them every day. It is what makes us different. It is what makes another’s home intriguing. I like intrigue and personally whilst I’d love to live in a show house, I’m also honest and logic enough with myself to realise it wouldn’t stay like that for very long.

Equally I’m also aware that my garden plays host to two dogs that will not walk the line I wish them to and this before I get to the humans who insist that the rotary washing line must go here. Instead I realise I must embrace the eclectic mix of wants and needs from the garden. And between my green waste heap and the pile of logs that is so great from a biodiversity perspective I’m now of the belief that unless I install a great big ark, one with two of each animal on it of course I have included just about everything I can think of.

Last week, two halves of a morris minor left my home. These the former remnants of an old show garden. The engine-less car of course replaced a dead tree which I had painted red. I simply loved its silhouette. The red dead tree as a by the way was requested by a client and happily given away. That of course was previously a space reserved for a satellite that I had turned into a bird bath.

These garden features as you can gather are all things that any or all of us can quite easily lay our hands on and adapt to suit, but yet they are not the usual.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a time when, maybe just maybe, all of our gardens maybe become reflections of the people we are and real extensions of our homes.  I think that would nice. I know it would make me smile. It is in short quite simply amazing how simply one can make their great outdoors greater.

All Posts Garden Advice


The directional growth of an organism in response to gravity. Roots display positive geotropism when they grow downwards, while shoots display negative geotropism when they grow upwards. Also called gravitropism

source: The American Heritage® Science Dictionary 2002

It is also defined as:

the response of a plant part to the stimulus of gravity. Plant stems, which grow upwards irrespective of the position in which they are placed, show negative geotropism

source: Collins English Dictionary 2009

So why is the gardener throwing fancy nouns all over the landscaping blog…?

In very simple horticulture and specifically it’s relevance to you – here’s my breakdown of the above definition, for you….

if one should plant a bulb upside down – the roots will always grow south or upwards and the stem will always grow north or downwards. Fact.

In really simple terms, there is no incorrect way to plant a bulb or seed.

So why then do I see this on so many gardening blogs and websites…?

Plant the cloves the right way up! – like any other bulb, if it’s planted incorrectly they will never see the light of day – literally. The base of each clove should be pointing downwards while its peak should face the sun. Fairly obvious, one would assume, but the number of people who ask the question illustrates the need to make the point.

The video below is really terrible… but scroll, to about 30 seconds on the timeline and watch it until the end. It explains it extremely well.

The same theoretically applies to any plant, tree or shrub. This definition should not be confused with phototropism which is a plants stimulus or response to light.

A little further explanation…?

Plants can sense the Earth’s gravitational field. Geotropism is the term applied to the consequent orientation response of growing plant parts. Roots are positively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow downwards, towards the center of the Earth. In contrast, shoots are negatively geotropic, that is, they will bend and grow upwards, or away, from the surface.

These geotropisms can be demonstrated easily with seedlings grown entirely in darkness. A seedling with its radicle (or seedling root) and shoot already in the expected orientation can be turned upside down, or placed on its side, while kept in darkness. The root will subsequently bend and grow downwards, and the shoot upwards. Because the plant is still in darkness, phototropism (a growth movement in response to light) can be eliminated as an explanation for these movements.

Several theories about the manner by which plants perceive gravity have been advanced, but none of them is entirely satisfactory. To account for the positive geotropism of roots, some researchers have proposed that under the influence of gravity, starch grains within the cells of the root fall towards the “bottom” of the cell. There they provide signals to the cell membrane, which are translated into growth responses. However, there have been many objections to this idea. It is likely that starch grains are in constant motion in the cytoplasm of living root cells, and only “sink” during the process of fixation of cells for microscopic examination. Roots can still be positively geotropic and lack starch grains in the appropriate cells.

A more promising hypothesis concerns the transport of auxin, a class of plant-growth regulating hormones. Experiments since 1929 have shown that auxin accumulates on the “down” side of both shoots and roots placed in a horizontal position in darkness. This gradient of auxin was believed to promote bending on that side in shoots, and to do the opposite in roots. Confirmation of the auxin gradient hypothesis came in the 1970s. When seeds are germinated in darkness in the presence of morphactin (an antagonist of the hormonal action of auxin), the resulting seedlings are disoriented—both the root and shoot grow in random directions. Auxin gradients are known to affect the expansion of plant cell walls, so these observations all support the idea that the transport of auxin mediates the bending effect that is an essential part of the directional response of growing plants to gravity.

landscaping dublin, gleditsia

All Posts Gardens by Peter Donegan Garden Design

Garden Containers, Pots and Planters

For those looking for that instant effect, immediate colour or simply a softening of your space outdoors, sometimes the simplest way to achieve this is through instant gardening. How it works is very simple.

  • Planters are pre-made off site with a pre-selected choice of best look plants
  • Hand picked to suit your favourite colours and textures
  • And chosen with only your business and/ or home in mind
  • Carefully positioned, delivered and placed right at your door or place of choice

In this, plant choice will and can vary from individual to business and from desired placing to season. I have personally found that most choose the following:

  • Mildly scented yet neutral in colour on business/ office entrances
  • herb, salad or/ and fruiting choices by kitchen and eating areas
  • stunning, attractive and stand out for openings, ceromonies and occasions
  • pretty, instant and welcoming by dwelling and homely places

landscaping dublin

Planting style aside, in your space you may decide on choosing the following containers

  • hanging baskets
  • window boxes
  • pots and planters
  • raised beds
  • something that little more unusual
  • or a one off just for you

Of course this can be tailored once again to suit your specific space and all fixtures and fittings can be supplied and fitted. I personally like the fact that, if you do feel that after some time that you need that little change…

  • not all plants or any [depending on what you choose] will need to be replaced
  • the planters won’t need to be replaced at all
  • and the same planters can simply be painted a different colour

Although some do choose to ask for something that mild bit different and one off in general most types, styles and wishes can be discussed and ordered by phone or email and designed/ pre arranged to suit your budget. After that, you simply continue on about your daily routine and let me look after the dirty work.

What do you do next….

You can contact me in the  following ways:

  • send an email to
  • telephone me direct on 087-6594688
  • or enquire via the contact page on

No matter how unusual the request may be….. I can make it happen for you.