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Bloom In the Park. A Show Garden Return ?

donegan gardens

Talking today with Gary Graham for The SodShow, the garden radio show, conversation naturally led to show gardens and the question as to the ‘would I make a return to show gardening’ ? Gary is, in short for those who are not aware, the brains behind Bloom in the Park. Ireland’s premier garden show.

Personally, I’ve a lot of time for Gary. I’ve a lot of time for Bloom. Like it or not, Bloom is good for Ireland; it’s also great for Irish gardening and in that context alone, Bord Bia have done a real sterling job. One which deserves ovation standing, as versus applause.

We nattered back and forth and chatted ourselves into the easily led to conclusion that I missed, sincerely, the controlled pressure that came with the creation of show gardens.

mary mcaleese

For those who aren’t aware, I’ve done two Bloom show gardens:

After 2008, I took a pause. I was busy. I needed to be. I had showy gardens to create, but they simply weren’t gardens that were awarded medals at the end of it, though they did come with good PR.

The reality is show gardeners, to qualify a show garden submission need three strings to their bow. A proven ability to build show gardens, a great design and last, but by no means least, a sponsor. For two years running, I was missing the latter.

donegan gardens, bloom

Would I make a return to Bloom for 2013 ?

Yes, I would. Were this post going live now has relevance is that the work would be much easier less complex if it were to start within the next six weeks. So soon you might believe, but design submission begins around September/ October and whilst I have already the concepts, I like my designs QED ~ ie. without question, on time, fitting its budget [yours or/ and mine], show timing complete before schedule and with all of the ingredients in place ~ pre planned.

Don’t get me wrong, I can create a fine garden within a very short space of time, designs, submitted and accepted. No problem. But if show garden is to be about the, as Gary put it, the showmanship, then a little more homework/ light reading is far better.

As a by the way, The SodShow, A Bloom in The Park 2012 special, an interview with Gary Graham will air this Friday at 3pm and will be available a little later in the evening as podcast.

If I’m to do it and do it rightly and though I’ve always been blessed in that department I’m proud to admit, I’ll need the right people by my side. For now, I guess, I’ve a little thinking to do and for this bank holiday weekend I’ll happily settle for making daisy chains with my daughter, most probably in The Phoenix Park.

Thoughts on the matter/ Fancy a cuppa ? 😉

donegan gardens

Sligo County Council Close Lissadell House

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I remember hearing about this last year in one of the trade magazines and going straight past the headline…. mainly because I thought to myself

No County Council would be stupid enough to do so….

I was extremely wrong. A major catastrophe has developed and thanks to an extremely well written piece by Rosita Boland on the Lissadell situation it has hit the headlines Ireland and in this weekends Irish Times. Well worth reading.

Let me give you the gist of the story…..

Sligo County Council could have bought this house in 2003 but chose not to. Instead the Gore family bought it for €3.75 million according to their statement  as a private property‘ [then spent €800,000 on contents]. The house at the time was almost derelict. This obviously doesn’t include maintenance and a lot of staff and to date €12 million has been invested in the estate. Lissadell house has also not received any public funding.

Second…. I’ve been to Sligo. It is very beautiful… but there isn’t a lot by way of tourist attractions and in 2008 Lissadell attracted 44,000 visitors.

Here’s where it gets a little odd….

On 1st December 2008 Sligo County Council, without any notice to us, passed a resolution that the Council “amend the current County Development Plan to include in it a provision for the preservation of the public rights of way along routes through the Lissadell Estate” in accordance with section 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. These routes include the path running right in front of the doors of the House itself.

Their statement continues…..

For a public right of way to exist, it must be expressly dedicated by the owner of the land. That is the law. There is no evidence that any such dedication was ever made over any part of the Lissadell Estate, either when it was a 4,000 acre estate, or when it was reduced to the current 400 acres in the 1960s. Indeed it would defy common sense to dedicate as a public road an internal path right beside the front door of your house.

Whats funny now is that on Tuesday the family must defend themselves in court against Sligo County Council. Can you imagine if this were to happen to you…..? This is  ridiculous. And Sligo County Council should be ashamed of themselves.  According to Rosita Bolands article it was difficult to find anyone to speak on the record or in support of the councils actions. This includes Joe Leonard who was the brains behind this issue…..

My suggestion….. send Joe an email or give a call and let him know how you feel.

Councillor Joe Leonard

Drumcliffe Elected Member
Party: Fine Gael
Elected: 1985
Address: Cloonaghbawn Ballinfull Co Sligo
Phone: 071 9163443
Mobile:
Email: leonardjoe@eircom.net

In closing Constance Cassidy and her husband Eamon Walsh note

OUR VISION was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in Sligo and the North West, and to provide a secure environment for our seven children……

………..We have avoided the easy options to exploit and develop Lissadell commercially, but there is only so much one family can do. If we do not enjoy the support of the councillors who represent the people of Sligo then our efforts are at naught. Why would anyone continue?

Edward Walsh, Constance Cassidy and family.

UPDATE: As usual, I have emailed both Joe Leonard and Lisadell House to let them know of this piece. As yet Joe Leonard has not responded

Oh by the way this is the same Joe Leonard with *the famous poster 😉

UPDATE:

see post: Lissadell House gets interesting

UPDATE: The Sodshow speaks with Keith McNair