Horticulture Connected, Ireland’s Hort Trade Magazine, Summer 2015 Edition.
Peter Donegan talks with Editor Barry Lupton.
Generally speaking, most industry folks agree that gardening coverage on TV and radio in Ireland is pretty poor and this has a negative impact on the market for goods and services. Ask those within media circles why it is so, and it all comes back to the same factors: production costs, scale of the potential audience and the need to generate ratings using the lowest common denominator. If you want gardening on TV, it better come with sex, violence, emotion, upset and scandal.
But all is not lost. The downward pressure has produced a knowledge vacuum and a necessity. Necessity precipitates creativity. Thankfully, one industry figure is adressing the issue.
Peter Donegan is well known in the fields of horticulture, construction and design. Owner and operator of Donegan Landscapes, he established his name with a series of dramatically imaginative show gardens in the early days of Bloom in the Park. Like many in the design and construction sector, Peter felt the full force of the recession and took steps to contract his business to see it through the lean years. But he didn’t just hunker down, he saw an opportunity to redirect his energy online and to address the poor level of gardening media coverage.
The Sod Show was created in 2010 following a suggestion from a friend that he build on his existing gardening blog with a weekly radio podcast through Dublin City FM. And the rest, as they say is history. A burgeoning audience, multiple awards and an interview list which includes people from every corner of horticulture, the Sod Show has become an important component of Irish gardening media. One which continues to grow in both audience and influence.
I was delighted to meet up with Peter recently to get the back story on his success with the Sod Show and his plans for the future.