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Irish Mail On Sunday 23rd May 2010

Yesterday, Eugene Higgins of The Irish Mail On Sunday did a great Piece on The Garden Group with the tagline How a Bloom maverick is taking bloggers on tours of our ‘secret’ gardens and titled it A www.walk on the wild side

The main picture is of Dena [@curlydena], Mom Vena [@VenaW] and Dad Andrew Walker. [And to think I spent so long brushing my hair that day 😀 ] The other two images are courtesy Jennifer Farley Photography [@laughing_lion]. I’ve asked Eugene for the main text of the piece and will post it below as soon as I get it. For now…..

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Basil – Ocimum basilicum

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The Ocimum [labiatae/ lamiaceae] are a genus of about 365 species of aromatic annuals and evergreen herbs. But – this is not lavender we are discussing. This is the herb we know as basil. With that in mind I am only interested in one type.

There are other varieties, but I have chose what I regard a the more common basil [to me] or what is know commercially as sweet basil. It is an annual and therefore completes its life cycle in one season.

Either or the entire of the ocimum basilicum’s are renowned as either short lived perennials or annuals. They are tender little things that, horticulture aside most people have very little, or less luck with. Any deviation from that truth and your pants are on fire or you work for NASA – and yes they can hear you. Back to the herbs…

For me, I prefer to grow mine from seed and there literally is no major secret [there is of course 😉 ] to doing so. Simply fill a jam jar with compost. Firm slightly and place on the kitchen window ledge. Add a little patience and play the waiting game. Some say, sow them in rediculous rows 8″ apart – but I like to scatter a few across the top and stuff the rule book. Its more fun as well.

The scent from them is amazing. I chose not to feed them either. Its just me and food crops. And if I end up with too much from cropping…. I freeze them to get me through the winter. Next year, I’ll start all over again. As a btw, you should get about 300 seeds in a pack… use what you must and put the rest [in the packet] in the freezer.

Grow Your Own Course

  • course title: grow your own kitchen garden
  • where: ballyboughal [just outside Swords, north Dublin]
  • when: saturday 22nd May 2010
  • time: 10am – 2pm
  • cost: €60
  • numbers limit: 8/9 people max


Details:

After my talk with the GIY group and then after the last course was covered recently in the Irish Independent by Susan Daly….I don’t want to be farmer. I shall rephrase. I don’t wish to remortgage the house so I can garden full time. I don’t have time for an allotment and I don’t wish to grow enough vegetables to feed an entire village. If that is you..? or you wish to gather the simple basics to get started then… this is for you.

A little more concise in set up than the previous GYO class but with the exactly the same subject and content covered, the theory is is one session you will go home with enough skills to become self sufficient in looking after yourself from a grow your own – without the use of a tractor 😉

Whether you have a window ledge, a small patio or just wish to grow in pots on that amount of space, bearing in mind that there just enough time in life between eastenders and the 9 o’clock news.

Interested or book yourself in ? :

very simple….

  • leave a comment below
  • email me info[at]doneganlandscaping.com
  • telephone mobile 087-6594688
  • do so via the contact page

There’s an idea:

interested in having your very own personalised class done at your place of work or home for your group of friends or colleagues…. ? contact details above.

The GIY Rathgar Terenure Talk

 

I got an email in some time ago from a friend of mine. Séan wanted me to do a talk on growing your own. He is a member of a new movement call GIY – grow it yourself – that seems to be sweeping the nation.

I had heard about GIY but I didn’t really know a vast amount of exact facts about it being honest. The talk I did was Monday, just gone, April 27th

The GIY movement was set up to encourage people to get together to share expertise in food growing.As we have become increasingly urbanised we have lost a lot of the knowledge and skills that our grandparents had in food growing, storing and cooking. GIYIreland aims to tap into our desire to reduce food miles and to produce and consume organic food by organising groups at a local level so that people can learn those old skills from each other and connect with like-minded individuals. GIY Ireland has charitable status.

As regards the group I was to speak to Séan sent me this wee note….

The Rathgar/Terenure GIY group was set up at a meeting in the Rathgar Junior School (RJS), 62 Grosvenor Road in February 2010. We have a mix of allotment growers, garden owners and those with just a balcony to grow on. Most of the group are beginners but there are some experienced members and we hope to bring in experts to share their knowledge and expertise. Our group numbers about 30-40 very enthusiastic amatuers and we would welcome more members.

In this case [and in short] I spoke about how I used to grow plants under my bed when I was 4 all the way up to today…. and that pretty much not a whole lot has changed if you elminate 20 odd years of decking, cobble and garden design fads. In that same breath horticulture has only changed in how it is presented, packaged and sold…. the way in which it is done, for fun, shall never alter. And in those four/ five lines [compressed] that took an extremely refreshing [one member commented after] a little over 45 minutes 😉

I must admit I had just left the coombe hospital and hadn’t eaten. But the reception I got was amazing. The appreciation shown and the wee gift given and beautifully wrapped left me breathless. Sincerely, it was an absolute honour to speak to such a fine group gentleman and ladies.

The format then is that the group sit in ‘pods’ [a small group] and discuss a specific topic helping each other out with their star bit of advice. The pod I was in ended up discussing composting. I was blown away…. but as I later answered in th Q & A [the final part of the meet] everything, not living anymore must decompose – the only thing that may vary is the preparation and how you do it. As long as your smiling at the end 🙂

GIY Rathgar/ Terenure meet on the last Monday of the month in the RJS. For more info email: dalysmith [at] iol [dot] ie or phone Sean on [vodafone prefix]6369636

*other images of GIY talk

Irelands Eye

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The second garden group event took place today. This time to Irelands Eye.

It was an amazing day. And to that some notes of thanks are due. To the legend that is Diarmuid O’Cathasaigh of The Howth Peninsula Historical Society, who spoke to us about the island and to Mary Stephenson who introduced me to Diarmuid – thank you so very much. It put meaning to the journey.

To the skipper of The Little Flower, Mark Doyle of Island Ferries. You are Sir, a gentleman and I wouldn’t sail in any other boat.

To the people I spent the day with… I applaud you and thank you. Absolute Ladies and gentlemen.

To the island itself… I did try to edit the story teller [the video of him that is] that is Diarmuid [and I could have rewritten what he told me]… but the guy is a legend and I just couldn’t do it. Want to know about Irelands Eye…. really ?

From the famous murder to why martello is actually incorrect spelling. From the year 200 AD to Napoleon and why Howth has 2 of everything…. it’s all there.

All I know is, prior to this trip, I could find very little information on Irelands Eye, including 3-ish photographs and some information on wiki…

This video is the ultimate guide to a history of Irelands Eye. The day out… one I will never forget.

My advice if you are going…

  • Get on well with skipper Mark – that’s if you wish to plan in advance. He is a marine engineer by trade and a gentleman by nature.
  • Wear long trousers and hiking boots, not necessary, just better.
  • Bring a picnic including a hot drink and water And sun screen and water proofs.
  • Relax and enjoy. Worth every cent… more than that, every minute.
  • The boat rip costs €15 and if the tide is with you takes about 15 minutes
  • I recommend you spend a good 2 -3 hours there
  • There is much more than the martello tower there [see images]
  • Anything else…

looking for more information

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