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Irish Gardening Online…?

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I remember reading an article posted online by good friend and nursery man Pat Fitzgerald. It was about trying to promote the gardening industry. Here’s a little taster of what Pat had to say….

…we collect last years good condition gardening magazines and make some beneficial use of them instead of hoarding them. Why not distribute these magazines into as many hair dressers, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, nail bars, beauty salon waiting rooms as will be agreeable to accept them…

Before I go any further, Pat does say himself that it is…

a possibly nutty, naive or optimistic idea

I was talking about this over the weekend with some friends of mine who work in the media industry. It wasn’t that we were laughing or being disrespectful in any way to Pat or the idea… far from it. In fact the point that seemed to be made was more is this as good as it gets for an industry that I have another 30 years odd to work in. I shall rephrase…. Is this what the amenity horticultural sector is resigned to in order to promote itself…. I know for sure the farming industry would never be seen even suggesting this nor the building federation…. isn’t that right Tom Parlon ?

I am fully aware that there exists ‘industry bodies’ but whether they will ever chose to form an opinion and be perceived as industry leaders is possibly a land very far away from here. I guess in that, what I am trying to say it that my next door neighbour could not name me one garden related association…. I think that’s a fair point.

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To there I suppose one could turn to government bodies…. but the green party aren’t really a green party anymore and being that I have never received even two bits of encouragement by way of payment acknowledgement for my role in online green sector….. I am beginning to wonder who’s the promoter of who and what on earth I am doing this for. But, like I said before it’s not like I get paid to write this Irish Green Blog. But then again, it was never about the money.

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I hear friends of mine calling their children the facebook generation…. I saw myself last week reading a blog post on generating electricity I also found myself reading some gardening articles on different things to try out in the garden. There are literally blogs to cover every subject available…. but very few in Ireland on green related matters. There are people who have set up websites that sell gardening related products. A quick google search will show just how many…. But that said I still prefer the peronal touch. I also know that every gardener in the country can supply me with plants and drop out just to make sure they’re doing alright after the transaction. I also like to know a person before I buy anything… but again thats just me.

promoting....

But with very few Irish television programmes dedicated to gardening [if at all any] on the production line and what seems like also a few less publications [particularly magazines] dedicated to the horticultural industry I guess I am beginning to wonder if the follow on effect will be that of a demise or at least a fall in interest in the great outdoors. Being honest, not even I can get a gig writing about gardens weekly… or monthly for that matter.

On the flip side… it is very easy to point fingers. And this is not about figuring out who to blame. It is the realisation that something should be done. Needs to be done. Has to be done. And now.

When I look at the online side of things I see very few Irish gardeners with an online presence. I see very few weblogs. I see very little of a presence on even something so huge such as twitter. Recently I found it impossible to come up with 20 Irish green people using the tool [properly or at all]. It’s not like I keep it a secret. I have posted and explained on every online tool I use and I even publish my statistics.

the stone age...

Considering it is the year 2010…. one would think with the upcoming Irish Blog Awards that it would be possible to have a green/ eco/ gardening category….? I think I may know of four weblogs that could enter… but nothing more. Put in that context what can I say.

I’d like to think that the various efforts such as the garden guest sessions and of more recent times the garden group would/ could and did stir the interest a little. It seems to…. surprising?

The reality is I will continue to do my instructional gardening videos and posts. I’ll continue to do so of my own time and money. I’d like to think Irish garden related companies gave me some support… To put that in context…. Recently I could not get a company to send me some products for review – although they did samples…. just not for review??? I explained I would buy it in the shop and review it anyway [ 🙄 or do I use this one 😆 ]. which is what I have done to date. Maybe some feel I may actually be honest or that its better not to have it mentioned, photographed and video’d…? And for the record I have never received any products for free for this blog. Not even a book. Not a complaint. Just so you know.

The question that remains is…. should the Irish Horticultural Industry invest all of the resources available to it and go place those magazines in the doctors surgery?

where do we go from here....?

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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