On The Radio: Breakfast With Hector on 2fm

breakfast with hector 2fm radio

Wednesday 25th April, that’s today, I’ll be on the radio chatting gardens with Hector.

The show kicks off from 7am and you can listen online via or @ 90-92 on the FM (I must g00gle what that [fm] stands for).

I’ll tidy this post up a little better later and do the Oscar nomination thank you to a few folks who were just lovely. In the meantime, if you’re not already a fan, of the show, tune in and have a listen. 😉


Big thanks to Alan Swan, Hector and the 2fm team. Also to Darragh Doyle, Pat O’Mahony, Eileen McCabe, Brian Greene, Odhran Ducie and Luke Giblin. This noting entitles you to a (singular) lovely cup of tea 😉

Paisean Faisean: The Irish Hedge

Hedge n 1 a fence or boundary formed by closely growing bushes or shrubs

In equal measures, in my past, I did so passionately adore everything that is an Irish garden hedge and also entirely abhor the thoughts of even looking at one.

Maybe it was something yellow pack Quinnsworth type bland 1980’s Ireland. Something pre that log roll pandemic that swept the country. A time when grow your own was that patch to the right of the washing line and composting was a mere heap.

Outside of that and of one’s front garden existed a Cherry tree and summertime landscaping was a tray of blue and white allysum and lobelia, just to better show off that single monoecious Skimmia.

For the elder statesmen of the garden fraternity, there did however exist the garden shears. Sharpened by hand, never replaced and complete with that Cliff Richard type tang top, a Saturday in the garden just like the Sabbath following, had its rightful place.

Que, the low maintenance syndrome era through the noughties of bad planting and decking for which we are in too many cases yet to see the after effects of en mass planted Phyllostcahys aurea [as versus Fargesia]. There was a reason why that quote was cheaper you know. But errors, era’s, seasons and trends aside, what of the garden hedge.

Historically and like most things Irish and gardening it was an influence of the Olde English garden that brought it via influence to Ireland in its more formal state. Through the boom of the 1960’s and the evolution of the Horticultural Societies, it was not a comes as standard when you bought that new home. One had a choice and one chose to plant.

Just like the use of the circle, the hedge however dates back absolute centuries thousands of years and were first used as agricultural seperations and divides, nothing new there you might add. But with the rise in popularity of anything however comes the splinter groups ~ pardon my witty pun ~ and so agricultural reticent hedges may now be referred to as hedgerows, by the definition alone, hedges they still are; and garden hedges may now be referred to as formal and informal.

Love them or hate them there is something I miss about the Irish garden hedge. They still exist, semi surprisingly to a point considering how they suffered under rise in populartity of the concrete block wall alongside the microwave. Maybe to blame in part is the increase in the number of two [or more] cars per family, both parents working and the major edits in shopping and shops opening times – Reasons why maybe the Saturday garden chores became etched, delayed or ommited from the weekend roster. All encompassing, the design of the Irish front garden changed. Its use, need and reason to exist edited.

For me, hedges were more than just photosynthetic arrangements. They were talking points. Talking places. Reasons and venues to gossip and talk. In short they were the friendliest possible version of a wall. Yet they weren’t.

I remember as a nipper kicking a ball against a neighbours hedge, to the point that it almost bled to death, or at least after the telling off I got [note: fully deserved] it sure felt like I had made that happen, at the time. In reality, it was a few leaves. But it wasn’t that, this hedge was gold and green perfectly striped Privot [Ligustrum ovalifolium aurea variegata] for about 12 metres and it was pristine. The first cut, sweeping, collecting and disposing took a full half day on a Saturday pausing only for Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on BBC Grandstand and a cup of tea. I might have been 6 or 7 years old at the time. I’m now 35.

Biodiversity, fashionista’s and this years latest Chlelsea flower show award winners aside. I like it old school. And like the lights than adorned the ceilings of The Galtymore dance hall in Cricklewood I miss the olden days. Eloquent, wonderful and all the while everything that is chivalrous and romantic, yet still gardening.

For me, gardening since I was five years old, the years in college and the at times tough slog to get to a place, one thing I know for sure is that my life in horticulture is most fondly remembered and primarily for the people I have met and the stories that were told ~ as versus the plants, who were in hindsight, simply the reason we had met there.

hedge planting

Poll: Will You Be Planting A New Tree In Your Garden This Year ?

Before the end of 2012 and as tree season nears ever so closer, the question is….. Will you be planting a new tree in your garden this year ?

Results to be announced on the SodShow this Friday

prunus serrula tree

This Garden-ers Blog

peter donegan

In 2008 I wrote a post to answer the then so over asked question: Why do I write a garden blog ? It seems an updated answer is required.

First, wikipedia defines: A blog (a blend of the term web log)

Silly as it may sound and not that I am a fan but, Star Trek passed through my mind and so I searched for Captains Log, just to see what came up. I got this….

A logbook was originally a book for recording readings from the chip log, and is used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time. The readings of the log have been recorded in equal times to give the distance traveled with respect to a given start position.

peter donegan

They go a stage further by saying that

Today’s ship’s log has grown to contain many other types of information, and is a record of operational data relating to a ship or submarine, such as weather conditions, times of routine events and significant incidents, crew complement or what ports were docked at and when. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.

In Star Trek the Captain’s log, a form of ship’s log, is used to fill in the audience as to the events in progress, and acts as a more realistic form of soliloquy.

I guess in some form or other I like to think that this garden blog is a mixture of all the good bits of the above quotations.

I noted [in 2008] that I have written about gardening since I was about twenty six years of age, at first for The Irish Farmers Journal and then moving on to other writing projects. Although my writing style can change from online to print media, the reasons why I like to write and moreso why I like to write about gardening, has never changed.

Let me give you some of the blogs statistics

  • I started this garden blog in August 2007
  • At the time of writing this piece there are around 930 blog posts
  • In which are contained over 4700 images
  • And about 200 videos
  • Plus over 350 segments of audio

That may sound like a lot of information and it is. It may sound like a fair amount of time to spend typing or other and I’m sure it is. But, I don’t play golf and I spend less time writing this [b]log fortnightly than a round would take – but even if it took more time, I enjoy it – and – as long as a] I’m not upsetting anyone and b] at least one other person enjoys reading my writing, then I’m personally quite content.

Does the blog make me money ?

peter donegan

Most definitely not. But then neither does a round of golf. [exception: McIlroy]. But I never started writing this weblog to make money. Don’t get me wrong blogging has been kind to me and I do get to go to really cool events/ places and I do get some really nice products and presents, some by way of reviewing them here. More importantly and at the very least the blog can’t do any harm and on the other hand I have met so many genuine nice and kind people as a result of my writing here and that’s good.

It must take you ages ?

I’ve been gardening and writing and talking – and writing about gardening, for so long, it makes converting the chosen topic to blog post quite a smooth and efficient operation.

Regarding adding audio, images or/ and video to a post – Since the iPhone [in short] came to town one can record and have it online in a matter of seconds. In garden terms this is a saviour in the form of the converting and editing department where voice and image mean less text and typing and also the immediacy and the time spent getting it online.

You should also consider that I walk most evenings and every weekend, when I’m not working that is – in a garden. And if I’m not there I am in a friends garden or I’m on his/ her farm or in their greenhouse. I literally eat, sleep and drink the great outdoors just about 24/ 7 and I am at all times surrounded by people and places that have a story to tell from which others may or might benefit from that information.

So What if this blogging thing does take me ages ?

I don’t play hurling anymore because I can’t garden too well with bendy fingers and so this [garden writing] you might say, contrary and rhetoric as it may sound is the only escape I have from the photosynthetic world.

Either which way you look at it…..

I am a gardener, landscaper, horticulturist and outdoors lover…. whatever you may call it. It is my profession, my chosen third level education and what I have done since I was about 5 years of age and I love it dearly.

outdoors ireland

Contact Peter Donegan

Garden Group Outing: The Hedgerow Fruit Trail

The 6th Garden Group outing takes place this weekend coming Sunday August 7th. The hedgerow walk has been done before but, this time the route should be in full fruit.

donegan hedgerow walk

  • Date: This Sunday August 7th 2011
  • Where: Ballyboughal, The Slí na Sceacha/ Hedgerow Walk – The Fruiting Trail
  • Time: 11.30 am

With @anthonymcg on the garden groups outing (mp3)

  • Details: meet outside O’Connors Pub – the only pub in the village in Ballyboughal [directions below]
  • Numbers: limited to 15 [can be extended if I give enough notice]
  • Cost: None. Never is.

If you use an iphone app for your walks runs – this is was runkeeper showed last time.

New To The Garden Group:

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