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The Garden Group – May Summer Outing

The 5th Garden Group outing takes place this weekend coming Sunday May 29th.

This is just a little taster of what you can expect….

Listen!

  • Date: This Sunday 29th May 2011
  • Where: Ballyboughal, The Slí na Sceacha/ Hedgerow Walk – Back Lane Trail
  • Time: 11.45 am

Also: I wrote this post on The Slí na Sceacha yesterday. It explains what and where in much better detail.

  • Details: meet outside O’Connors Pub – the only pub in the village in Ballyboughal
  • Numbers: limited to 15 [can be extended if I give enough notice]
  • Cost: No Cost. With thanks to Hedgerow Society Secretary Ann Lynch
  • Other: I recommend you read the garden group guide. And then read on…. Also Ann Lynch will be speaking about this outing and the history of the Hedgerow Society on The SodShow this Friday – 3pm – 103.2 Dublin City Fm 😉 Below is the route I took on Sunday.

New To The Garden Group:

Recommended reading of previous outings include

Please Note:

As always, if you are thinking of coming along the rules basic principles of logic courtesies as always apply. They are of course very simple.

  • If your name is not on the list [left via comment] – you can’t go. No offence. That said…
  • If you need to drop out – that’s fine but please do so as soon as is possible rather than simply not turn up at all – you not showing on the day may just stop someone else from going. This isn’t to sound in anyway rude it’s very simply because….
  • I don’t get paid nor receive any gratuities for this.
  • If numbers are going over put your name down on the waiting list and give me a call. We’ll fix something for you. Because…
  • The quota is most likely not decided by me. But then this isn’t the national concert hall.
  • Do enjoy yourself :)

Got a suggestion… thoughts or comments below

Garden Group-ees:

  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: see below. not a problem ;)
  • Dress Code: advised to wear suitable footwear and clothing. s.
  • Duration: 3 hours should see you well – if you are time restricted.
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call. This is the only post you’ll need to keep your eye on and I’ll update it and let you know via the facebook page and twitter.

Getting There:

This is O’Connors Pub in Ballyboughal so you know what it looks like now. Directions to get to Ballyboughal are below.

By Sat Nav
pop in these co-ordinates
53.522026, -6.267284

By Directions – from Dublin Airport

14.1 km 22 mins
Dublin Airport
Co. Fingal, Ireland
1. Head south toward Swords Rd
75 m
2. Continue straight
0.3 km
3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit
0.5 km
4. Slight left at Dublin Rd 

Go through 1 roundabout
0.9 km
5. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the M1 ramp to Belfast/Swords/Balbriggan/Bèal Feirste/Baile Brigin/Sord
0.5 km
6. Merge onto M1
4.7 km
7. Take the exit toward Donabate/Skerries/an Ros/na Sceirí/Rush/R132/Domhnach Bat
0.5 km
8. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto R127 

Go through 2 roundabouts
3.1 km
9. Continue on R129
0.5 km
10. Turn left to stay on R129
5.2 km
11. Turn right at Naul Rd
0.1 km
12. Take the 1st right to stay on Naul Rd
54 m
arrive at destination on right hand side

OR

click here to view the map and add in your own starting point View Map

Contact Me:

Shamrock

Listen!

The audio was originally recorded for The SodShow, the gardening radio programme I present with Brian Greene on 103.2 Dublin City Fm. It was first aired Friday 11th March.

The first voice you will hear is that of Irish Times garden writer Jane Powers.

The second voice is that of Peter Martin from Living Shamrock. His company is responsible for the hydro gel that allows Irish shamrock grown in Ireland to be transported and exported, soil free world wide. More than that, LivingShamrock.com is responsible for the Shamrock that is presented to The US President by the Irish Head of State annually on the 17th March.

Multyfarnham Country Fair – April 17th 2011

The Multyfarnham Country Fair takes place Sunday 17th April 2011.

Listen!

The audio is with thanks to Anne O’Hara of Mornington House who has featured on the garden blog before and also on the garden radio show.

Not to be confused with The Multyfarnham Field Day, there will be a stall raising funds for the Community Hospice but otherwise it’s all private enterprise.

Never heard of Multyfarnham before ?

Multyfarnhamor in Irish – Muilte Farannáin, meaning Farannain’s mills is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland I have ever visited. The town first came up on my radar whilst I was studying horticulture in Kildalton [Piltown, Co. Kilkenny]. Multyfarnham had an agricultural college and in the pre-google-able days of old, there weren’t [even fewer today] too many of them about.

I was thinking to myself that some may read fondly this post, in the sense that it may be nice to go to the Country Fair, but they may also be thinking would it fill or be worth a day trip there ?

Wikipedia tells me this much which may just change your mind for the better:

The Irish Franciscan friars (O.F.M.) still maintain a presence in the ancient monastery here which was founded in 1268. During the Tudor reconquest of Ireland (the Nine years War) it was raided six times and twice burnt out by the Crown forces battling the forces of the ‘Irish of Meath’. In 1646, there were 30 friars in residence here. By the middle of era of the Penal Laws there were as few as seven friars, five of whom were of advanced age. The church was unroofed from 1651 and remained so until to 1827. In 1839 a new friary was rebuilt in the grounds. The Franciscan College, Multyfarnham was opened in 1899. There were four pupils enrolled for the first year. This school later became an recognised Agricultural College in 1956, and continued to teach until 2003.

Around the picturesque monastery grounds, among the lawns, around the church and the college buildings, there are 14 elaborate life size Stations of the Cross. This is a focal point for special devotions. It is regarded as one of the finest outdoor shrines in Ireland, and draws many tourists. The college is now used as an educational and seminar centre. It also hosts an arts centre.

Multyfarnham railway station opened on 8 November 1855 and finally closed on 17 June 1963. [It is now a private dwelling]

I like the picture Anne O’Hara paints in the audio. It makes me want to drop by and have afternoon tea and burn peat in the summer time whilst leaning over a half door in an arron sweater. The funny thing is, some talk about promoting Ireland and our greatest assets. Ireland for me was always about being in Dublin [for example] and finding or even better knowing, when your company didn’t, that The Winding Stair Bookshop also had really great coffee. It was knowing the best trad session is in Ballyboughal and knowing it is worth the journey. More than that and to quote Anne:

It was when the community came together…. and you do it for the fair rather than on an ongoing commercial basis

To the bit as to why it appears on the gardeners weblog, like I said before if this encourages you to see a little of Ireland and its great outdoors. Maybe you might just ask Anne how she makes her chutneys. Put that into a calculator and press the square root button. The answer of which will necessitate the planting of an apple tree 😉  Maybe you might just pop by and see Mornington House & gardens. If you do… be sure and tell Anne and Warwick I said hello.

That reminds me…. been too long since I was at Locke’s Distillery ahem… of course I mean Tullynally Castle Gardens 😉

The Cheaters Guide To Growing Your own

It is a question that comes up a lot…. Mainly from people who have a job, 42 kids, a life, a dog and a door bell. A lot of which will fit into the category of

I’ve got maybe 10 minutes in the evening. It’s not enough time! what can I do to grow my bits, something, anything, in the garden… ?

I’m not going to write some big bible crapola on what you can do. This post is put simply what I am doing. What I planted last year and what takes little or no effort.

I’m going to split this post into four parts. Tall, medium and small – plant them and walk away and the bit you could potentially call farming.

The first is what for me was and is an investestment, of sorts.

It’s the fruit trees and the like. They are planted once. Paid for once and require very little attention thereafter. You see the fruit. You pick the fruit. You eat the fruit.

I have written many times on trees in this blog. The how to plant will never change. It’s what you plant that’s important. The key is to chose the tree to fit the space from an eventual size, growth per annum and type of fruit you want.

I personally have 10 eating apples, 5 cooking apple, 5 pear and 5 edible cherry trees. But don’t let that impress you. I have experimented with some fig, apricot and olive trees but really, you should just choose what you like in the amount that will suit you and the type. There’s some maintenance in everything [even tarmacadam], but it’s minimal if you do your homework. Here’s five you can try that will give you a return pretty soon. In your case – just remember there’s usually a reason why a tree will be cheaper. Buy once. And buy very well.

In this category

  • apple trees
  • pear trees
  • plums
  • apricot
  • cherries

The second group don’t grow as tall and are really great in small spaces, balconies and apartments and as with the trees, can all be planted in pots, if you wish.

Once again the same rules apply. You plant the fruit, pick it – when it appears and then eat it. Some say the rhubarb needs the stools split, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Similarly the bushes will need some select pruning the same as the taller trees… but not much. The correct purchase should mean a handful of clippings as versus a trailer load. Once again. Buyer be [very a]ware.  But once and buy well. It will pay you back.

  • blackberries
  • rhubarb
  • gooseberries
  • bay laurel
  • red currants

The third lot are the lower growers and in fairness if you have a set of pots and pans your regular picking will be all the pruning it needs.

This plethora, for me include

Not much to it after that… and not much more to say being quite fair.

The last lot is something I don’t really want to list and require a little or a lot more attention.

But if you have any amount of category 1 and/ or 2/3 in your space you already look green. So now you can choose less of these babies depending on the time limit you have. If you’ve been following Philips 3 square metre farm patch on the podcast – you’ll have a better idea of where I’m going with this. Moreseo, you’ll better appreciate why I agree that 3 square metres is more than enough to keep your home filled with produce.

Last year I grew the following – and more – but I won’t bore you with the gory details and will tell you the ones I found the easiest. I grew all of these in old pots, pint glasses, window boxes or whatever could contain some amount of soil as a by the way.

The reason these are in a group all of their own is because unlike the other groups… with this final batch – once you crop it or it comes to the end of the season you must start all over again the following year and grow them again – where the others generally speaking – just keep on giving.

What about that for a relationship. I ignore you for an entire year. And then you arrive at my home and say

….here ye go buddy, have a big box of juicy apples

Ah sometimes I’m just so ruddy hilarious I crack myself up 😆

So I could have put the image of the seedlings at the top and told you of my years of studying horticulture – but being really honest this post is about encouraging those who aren’t so green who’d love a dabble and would maybe like to look a bit greener. In that same breath it’s not rocket science. And anyone who tries to tell you different is full of it.

You don’t need an allotment, an acre or a garden [Great for you if you do]. You need a window ledge, or a balcony or a small patio – maybe it’s some jam jars or 2 hanging baskets – and you also need an ability to smile, because sometimes a plant simply decides it doesn’t feel like growing where you want it grow. The it’s not you it’s me scenario. But ultimately, one should remember any plants sole purpose on this planet is to reproduce and as long as you understand that – it will do what it’s supposed to do.

For this gardener, I’ve never bought super dooper compost, a propagator kit or miraculous growing fertilisers. Ever. Not for food crops.  In fact I’ve never even bought a soil testing kit. I give all of my plants no special treatment.

What I will say is I maybe have a better understanding of plants and a happy confidence in the fact that it will grow. But…. any gardener that says they know it all and has never got it wrong is most likely in a straight jacket. That said, I still talk to all of my plants. I play the vinyl player when I am gardening in my spare time and most important of all I enjoy it.

Back to it, last week I planted onions and garlic. More importantly, as I said in the post the growing season [for 2011] has officially started

The problems that usually arise, garden wise, are best described with hindsight being that of 50:50 vision, in the context that once one sees the plant in its fullest glory one may wish they had planted some of this or that, that could only be there if planted some months previous.

For now, it is February. For your garden, patch or space – Go forth – give it a lash. Let me know how you get on. If you do have any problems…. I’m here for you when and if you need me. Don’t forget to smile. 🙂

Dublin’s Top 10 Parks

peter donegan, gardens

My top ten Irish parks and places list is based on a few things…. essentially it comes down to the entire experience and will not include any park where one is charged money to enter [that also includes hidden charges like parking etc]. That excludes more places than you realise… But, if you are looking to get out and about then I hope this maybe encourages you to do so without costing you a penny and gives you something a little bit different.

Coments can be left below. You can vote for your favourite park or click on the title of any of the parks listed to bring you to the post about that park.

Dublin’s Top 10 Parks

1. The War Memorial Park

If there is a park comparable to poetry…. This *is* it! The history, the story, the layout, in it’s entirety… I love it. Not as many know about it. Maybe because it’s only across the road from the ‘more popular’ Phoenix Park – but for me – this is the ultimate. A bit off the beaten track but it has everything a gardener and not could ever want.

2. Ardgillan Demesne

It is a park, a castle [but not a true castle…], a playground, a gardens… It is by far the finest example of a park I have seen in Ireland to date. If I could give this park a 6 out of 5 rating I would. Well done to the grounds staff – you really have taken how a park and gardens should be maintained to a new high. Based on Dublins northside, It stands out for very good reason.

3. Merrion Square Park

This is a really cool park. I love it. Right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. The art inside the park is brilliant; the buildings surrounding housed so many amazing Irish people. The sign on the gate is cool and the people are sooooo relaxed inside. It even has a playground. Go there, love it and enjoy it! Never overly crowded so you can really relax here.

4. Father Collins Park

To describe this park in a few words is impossible. To describe it on video would be unfair. This is without a doubt possibly the finest ‘new’ park I have ever seen in my life. Named after Father [Fr] Joseph Collins who was the hardest working and first parish priest of the Donaghmede area the 52 acre park took about 1.5 years to build. It is young. But it is pure genius at its absolute finest. Off the beaten track… but worth every minute you may spend getting lost.

5. The Garden Of Remembrance

It is quite simplistic in its lay-out and overall design. But I love the little snug part where one can sit in quiet and ponder. It is also the heart of Dublin City not far from O’connell Street and where a little tranquility is the order of the day…. this is a little gem.

6. Irelands Eye

Free in. No charge. That said you may need a boat to get there. But – The day out that I had there… is one that I will never forget. I even found it difficult to pick out just the one image for this post.

7. St Patricks Park

I love this park. I like the personal touch to it – the signs of which are, literally, everywhere. Of particular note *and something that makes the park so very beautiful are the little ode’s to those [possibly surpising] who knew the park so well. One of those is to Tom Keegan, a previous head gardener and he is just one of many. I like the layout. The park is well maintained. People in there seemed relaxed and the pace of life on entering somehow seems to slow motion slightly. Once again, a little off the beaten track but worth the walk.

8. Mountjoy Square Park

Mountjoy can boast being Dublin’s only true Georgian square, each of its sides being exactly 140 metres in length. While the North, East and West sides each have 18 houses, the South has 19, reflecting some variation in plot sizes. The park does need some extra added attention in no specific area and it seems, at this moment there’s a bit of everything there, which is good, but aesthetically it doesn’t do it justice. That said, I’d be quite proud to have this park on my doorstep. For the sole reason that its not overly complex… it makes my top 10

9. Loughshinny Beach

Well, it turns out one of North Dublins hidden gems may not be the worst day trip you ever took. And in this case it turns out there is a lot more than sand to see here. This place is literally brimmed with history and nature. For those not into the ye olde botanics of the great outdoors…. this is exactly what you are looking for. The beach may well be the meeting  point [so to speak] but there is so much more than that here. Something for all the family.

10. Dubh Linn Gardens

Nestled in behind Dublin Castle, just off Dame Street [palace st. to be exact] is one of the finest gardens I have ever entered in my life. You know when you just get that ‘feeling groovy’ kind of a nice feel….? That’s exactly what I got… the garden is serenity at its finest. Go there. Enjoy! Absolutely amazing. Talk about escapism right in the middle of the city, yet still not too many go here that often.

There are some parks you may expect to see here. Some may even surprise you that they are here. Not all that I have visited are reviewed on the blog – but nonetheless these are my Top 10 parks and places that you should visit and ones that I hope you enjoy should you choose to go there. I know I did.

Coments can be left below. You can vote for your favourite above or click on the title of any of the parks listed above to bring you to the post about that park.

donegan gardens