For the moment writer #4 is Thomas Brunkard of Bvisible
Thomas Brunkard is an account executive with Bvisible Communications, a creative, progressive and dynamic PR agency with a wide-ranging client base. He assists in the development of public relations programmes across the full client base including strategic communications initiatives, online PR strategies and print and broadcast media relations. He managed to out-flank the recession and land his current job by using a blog and social media strategy.
Taking a break from the blogosphere to climatise to agency work, he will return to blogging on the PR landscape at the soon to be re-launched Bvisible website and on music, life and guitar playing by the summer at his own site at www.thomasbrunkard.com
An ex-professional musician, Thomas continues to inflict [his words not mine 😆 ] his guitar playing on audiences nation wide, particularly most Saturdays in Dublin’s Porter House Temple Bar.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:
I had always hated gardening. The loathing started when I was a child growing up in Kilmainham. We had a yard with a big coal bunker and a smattering of potted plants but nothing that would constitute a garden. Since we lived on a busy road in a relatively edgy inner-city area, outdoor excursions were limited and the yard was mine and my brothers’ outdoor universe. Our imagination moulded it into the Wild West, Cybertron and Cooley.
My Da often had delusions of our family aspiring to country gentrification. His own father had grown up on a farm and he himself had grown and sold a field of barley in his youth. Our holidays to the countryside took in the ruined relics of manors past. Powerscourt, Emo Court and Malahide Castle were regular weekend haunts for the Brunkards. The terraced rises of the Poer family and the sprawling Talbot demesne inspired my father to bring our inner-city micro-house in line with the old planters’ opulent and baroque excesses.
After one trip to Malahide my Da’s inspiration took flight. He resolved to turn our back-of-house industrial wasteland into Eden on Earth. In a stroke, our summer became a Dickensian nightmare as we were co-opted as pocket-money gardening slaves.
Hauling bags of compost and disposing of the odd coal-crushed mouse was not the fun alternative to multiplication tables and Irish we had longed for that summer.
Da outlined a grand vision for our inner-city Babylon; fountains, hanging baskets, trellises and terracotta bowls of life fired him with enthusiasm. One Saturday morning, the process began with a 7am rise and a whistle-stop tour of Wicklow’s garden centres.
Our postcard sized yard began to transform rapidly. Our coal bunker dissolved into steel buckets, the blackened walls were painted a gleaming white and the outdoor toys of our infancy were consigned to anonymous cement bags.
We diligently filled window baskets with carefully selected combinations of onion-like bulbs. Pre-grown bedding was delivered in bulk for our newly green fingers to pot and display. My Da relished his new role of garden foreman and, as my brothers and I scurried around the yard, he barked instructions over a blaring Count John McCormack record.
And then it was over, our new “garden” had become the very spectrum of colour. Yellows, reds and blues and an unplumbed water feature. Our Herculean efforts were rewarded with a bounty of beauty.
A hoped for resumption of the summer status quo was not on the cards. Sword fights led to demolished ceramic and were hastily outlawed, football shattered tulips and followed suit, our garden had become like a sitting room full of cut crystal and prematurely killed our outdoor childhood.
Our forays into this botanical set-piece were reduced to early morning wake-up calls for watering, weeding and pest control. One such extermination campaign ended in a social disaster for my Da.
My observation of the relative demerits of poisoning a garden where the family dog eats everything earned me the role of chief executioner for trespassing snails. “I want to see 100 dead snails by the afternoon”, my Da barked in his best drill sergeant-like manner and harumphed off to involve himself in unrelated DIY projects taking place elsewhere in the house.
Taking on my new assignment with vigour I rounded up as many slimy crustaceans as I could find. Nearing the hundred mark I pronounced my charge and verdict to the invaders: “On the charge of destroying loads of the poxy leaves that ended our Kilmainham Football League I pronounce you – Guilty”, I proceeded to lay other charges against the helpless rascals who’s only mistake was to gorge themselves on Lord Brunkard’s demesne. All were guilty without recourse to representation or due process.
And then the sentence came to be delivered. A distant marching snare rung out in the distance, a soldier produced blind folds and a priest gave last rites to the assembled hermaphrodite infestants. A trumpet sounded a solemn tune. Then CRASH! I slammed down a spade on the assembled snails. Splish, splosh, crunch. My execution was worthy of Teppes, Bathory and Nero combined and soon the convicted resembled a gone off beef stew with extra cabbage. Satisfied that my excesses would excel my father’s expectations, I retired to do some crucial guitar practice.
And then later that evening I heard a not-so muffled scream and other sounds of distress and agitation. My mother and father had guests out into the new yard and they had happened on the remnants of the grizzly justice I had meted out. With the innocence only possessed by a child as my only defence I tried to explain how I was merely a soldier following orders to no avail. The snail execution had been my brief and my father playing Pinochet to his guests and denying knowledge and blaming poor soldier discipline.
Gardening sucked I decided there and then.
These days I have mellowed my attitudes. My girlfriend is a German culchie and she has brought all sorts of plant derived wonderment into my city-slicker life. Her miracle avocado tree (planted from an avocado!) and Bonsai coddling attracting me back into the fold of Plantopia. I bought a Rosemary bush after reading Eoin Kennedy’s post to try to give myself some sort of connect with this piece. I especially like herbs as you can eat or make tea with them. Next weekend I’m trying out Peter’s seed post. Who knows? If I make it big in PR from here I’ll look into a fully fledged garden to inflict on my future off-spring. The circle of life will be complete.
Recently, very recently, we did a garden for an amazing client. Sincerely – simply a genuine and very appreciative all round lovely lady. I’m not saying all clients aren’t lovely… [you all are!] but as a garden designer, landscape gardener and the man who is entrusted with the creation of something breautiful for you… The pressure is on. Put there by yours truly [me just to clarify], of course. But then then I always did take it personal. I should. It is to be your great outdoors.
Some say I shop for plants like a bride trying to find that perfect wedding dress. Some say I’m the perfect man to hug your plants when they’re a little down. But I guess I simply love what I do. I always did love what it is I do. I am, I guess a loving gardener. I’m also 99% of the time genuinely a very happy person 🙂 I appreciate the simpler things in life. Simple like hello, goodbye and thank you – as the basics.
I also love the more free simplicities of life like walking – be guaranteed that’s generally in a park somewhere; which you may say, are still of a horticultural nature [search ‘park’ in my blog see what you get!]. I just love my life outdoors.
Outside of gardening I dont really have much of a life. That’s not a complaint. I suppose, it is how I like it. It is my hobby, my dream come true and my passion. I write it. I eat writing it. Sometimes, I even wake up in the middle of the night and jot down my doodles and thoughts about it. Then I go back to sleep. On my holidays – I visted two parks. It’s all I could find 🙁
What I am trying to say, I guess is that because of the very simplistic kindness of one lady [and so many others in the past], I was compelled, inspired and urged to thank you [all] for allowing me to do what it is I really love doing – in your gardens.
Whether small or large, the size is irrelevant, your garden should still be given the same amount of thought, detail and attention as any other. If you are looking for ideas, you’ve had enough of the January blues and February is the month you really need to make life that little bit brighter… Then here are some ideas to get you in the groove [see the images below]. Believe me a little work now does pay dividends.
Why now – there’s no looking after it really and plants will take this opportunity to settle themselves in their new homes rather than trying to produce foliage/ flower and possibly having a stressful settling in period.
Some of the images naturally required a little more work than others, some you may need a little help to get you out of the starting blocks… others you may be able to do yourself. But if that little bit of inspiration is lacking at the moment and you need to brighten up your day… soon! Simply, step outside, close your eyes and imagine just for a little and smile 🙂
For the moment, garden guest #9 is Jackie Danicki. If you know a little more about computers than I do anything about technology, then you will probably know this lady as part of the QiK.com team. My intro to Jackie came through this [and the good old Irish style of my mate knows her so she’s cool] and when I had trouble working my abacus phone – a lady appeared – and ensured I was guided through my paces. Everyone I know speaks extremely highly of her and through no sense of an inferiority complex I can only raise my had and admit to being a great admirer of the individual, genius, generous and caring mind that is Jackie. Ladies and gentleman all rise and applaud boisterously for the legend that is….
The Garden – What I like about….
Some gardens are exquisite, some are ratty, and some are a bit of both. Spend enough good times in a garden like this and the charms of perfection will be lost on you.
A close friend holds the deed to one such space, in Chelsea, London. More often than not, the grass is a little longer than it should be. Occasionally, the vines get somewhat out of control. There is no real landscaping to speak of, just haphazard beauty which would regard symmetry as offensive.
My friend and I worked on a business together a few years back, and we spent many hours working at a mosaic tiled table in that garden. At night, we’d have other friends come over for supper and drinks al fresco, with the hardcore contingent lasting until morning light. Eventually, heat lamps were bought so that we wouldn’t have to head indoors at all.
Over the years, that garden saw a lot of action. I fell in love under the heat lamp, had huge rows across the table, and closed more than one business deal in that tall grass. And this was only one night! No amount of landscaping could have improved upon what was already the ideal backdrop for an indulgent, productive, massively influential period of my life. Sorry, Peter – sometimes there’s no work for you to be done. 🙂
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