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irish gardens [book]

I have selected gardens… whose design clearly illustrates a particular period of garden history, and whose plantings demonstrate an almost obsessional love of plants and the surrounding Irish landscape

irish gardens by olda fitzgerald

irish gardens by olda fitzgerald

The post-its popping out the top of this book will show that this one has been used; and used very well.

Put simply it is not one for the feint hearted. I shall rephrase, it is, maybe, one for the more serious garden enthusiast, those involved [in some research] or those who enjoy visiting the grander gardens of Ireland.

Olda chose 20 gardens and from the original designs to stunning photographs [by Stephen Robson] – this truly is deserved of a place on my book shelf and also‘my books – my reviews’.

That said, some time ago I paid a very worthwhile €65 for this publication. Written by Olda Fitzgerald. Photography by Stephen Robson. First published 1999 by Conran Octopus.

clinton? obama??! vote donegan for barr 50

 last year Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd joined Barr 50. To those of you who aren’t familiar it’s basically a top 50 of those ‘who have pioneered a business as Gaeilge’ [through Irish]. Some found it difficult to appreciate why a company would spend time and effort to this when the business is horticulture?

Honestly? some time ago coment was made after building a sensory gardens; and whilst the pictures appeared on the website, they could not be seen by all – particularly those with difficulties of sight. Fair point. So our web became the first horticultural realted site to become fully accessible in Ireland.

Next comment – it was not fully accessible to all of us Irish. Quite true; it is Ireland we live in and some chose to speak solely true Irish [ieg Connemara – a little Quebec of sorts but without any englsh speaking]. So we did the website ‘as Gaeilge’ and again became the first horticultural related company to do so. I think thats fair enough! and then we went a little further where we felt possible. I suppose it is about making an effort through business and respecting all who make this island what it is.

Whilst the points above did kick our arses into considering others [one that was deserved most probably] It was Aido [of Segala fame] who turned off my computer screen and told me to read my own website that really put it in context. Was it a worthwhile investment to so? no. Was it worthwhile and responsible of us to do so? 110%.

In my opinion speaking Irish is pretty cool. I ain’t no ‘Gaeilgór’ [so I’m told!] ach beider nach bhfuil mo gaeilge ceart go lóir, i mo thuraim! Any how we need your vote – and if you think we deserve it please click here to nominate us [or email connlaog[at]nuacht.com /visit www.nuacht.com for further info] for retaining our spot within the top 50.

Slán, beannacht agus go raibh míle maith agat. Peadar.

bloom 2008 [2] – the boat

pour l'amour de jeux - the boat garden

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yesterday was not the most usual of days in my horticultural career! This 1957, 33 foot, 7 tonne boat is the model Royal Cruiser IV that will be used in Bloom 2008, the garden show extravaganza in the Phoenix Park this June Bank Holiday weekend.

It took 7 men, a 30 tonne specialist marine transporter and 6 hours to lift and move it 6 km. Working with me on the boat will be John Friel and his team who also who rebuilt the morris minor for last years garden.

we got a lot of strange looks when word went out that this was the boat for our show garden but.. maybe ‘show’ gardens should be just that….

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plan[t] a herb garden

herb garden layout...

herb garden layout...

a herb is defined as both an aromatic plant that is used for flavouring in cookery & medicine and a seed-bearing plant whose parts above the ground die back a the end of the growing season.

What I have here is parsley [petroselinum crispum], mint [curley], oregano [origanum vulgaris], sorrel [broadleaf], thyme [thymus faustinii], lavender [lavandula munstead], rosemary [rosmarinus officinalis], chives, garlic [allium sativum], blackcurrant [var ‘ben nevis’], redcurrent [var ‘jonkheer van tets], gooseberry [var ‘whitesmith’] and olives [olea europea]; looking quite good against a a hedge of bay leaves [laurus nobilis].

A wise investment for a carbon conscious chap like myself.Thanks Mother Nature for delightful frightful Irish weather I don’t even have to use my harvested rainwater! have a great weekend – and as always enjoy!

slán ags beannacht – peter

proud of ‘your’ garden?

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garden show preparation are in full swing; The trees are in bud, almost trying into leaf; the daffs have sprouted and almost all in flower. The season is literally almost urging itself to burst into full bloom.

Such varied enquiries come into my office. But, even with our website [thanks Patrick] usually it’s what type of work do we do? Landscaping… slightly vague one may say… What type of gardens do ‘we’ take on? potentially, mildly pompous I could say…

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The truth is I only employ qualified horticulturists. And in my opinion intelligence in horticultural understanding and planning is everything. For the great people I work with I refer to Freud’s comment of Da Vinci ‘that like most man of genius he needed constantly to occupy his mind’. My point? As long as I can be proud, stand tall and with my hand on my heart say The Donegan Landscaping and Design team created each and every of these gardens, to the highest standard… then we’ve taken on the right project. Is that wrong, pompous, arrogant or suggestive of a noticeable mass increase of circumfrance/ radius of ones cranium? Not at all. The ethos is that I am very proud of the gardens we build, the standards achieved and the clients we work with.

Because we build great gardens does that mean we are expensive? That depends I suppose. Like building a house extension versus a hotel and whether from straw or gold bullion, the choices and cost for a garden build and design also reflect time and materials. Naturally. If the requirements, made of time and materials, do not equal ones budget, then possibly ammendments to choice and the amount of need to be made.

peter donegan

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That it may be a costly sum rather than do I want too much is logic. But in saying that some choose to ask what I can get for my budget whilst having their own ideas. Others choose to decide what they want and put a price after each item like a shopping list and decide what they can have based on what they can afford. Either or like anything in life it is all relative.

The question is will you be proud of your garden when it is complete? We always are. Maybe the cliché ‘quality rather than quantity has relevance here’.

All that aside, [as the favourite of Uncles!] I promised my niece Lilly that I put a pic of her in one of my posts. So here she is….. I’ll make a gardener out of you yet!

Slán go foill

peter