All Posts Peter Donegan in the Media

The Living Garden. Germany Print

jane powers living garden, peter donegan

Pictured above, the back cover of Jane Powers book, The Living Garden which has of recent been republished auf Deutsch/ in German. As you can see it comes with a quote signed off by Peter Donegan. That would be me of course.

From the publishers Verlag Freies Geistesleben

Ob für den angehenden oder den erfahrenen Gärtner, ob für den Balkon oder einen großen Landsitz – Living Garden ist eine Bibel für alle, die den Wunsch verspüren könnten, mit dem Gärtnern anzufangen, und für die, die schon einen Garten haben, ein Handbuch, das voller Anregungen steckt, zu eigenen schöpferischen Ideen anregt und Probleme lösen hilft.
(Peter Donegan)

Taken from my review of Jane’s book, March 26th 2011, it translates as follows

Potential or expert, Balcony or Estate, The Living Garden – is – a bible for those who may wish to begin gardening and a problem solving, idea generating, creative mind stirring directory for those who have a garden.
(Peter Donegan)

Although the book review was done on this garden blog, my interview with Jane aired on The Sodshow, the garden radio show I present when I’m not creating gardens and hence the reference to

All Posts

Jane Powers – The Living Garden


Listen to the original audio as it aired on The Sodshow April 1st 103.2 Dublin City Fm

And to my review of Jane’s book….

Before I begin my review of The Living Garden, I must admit that I know Jane Powers. Who doesn’t, this is after all Ireland you say and Jane has been writing gardens for The Irish Times since ’97.

As to my knowing her better, Jane is a regular guest and contributor on the SodShow, the garden radio programme I present.

It has been a long time since I reviewed any garden books. Like ’80’s music I got quite bored. A bit of the same old same old, you might say. But this review is not the place for more detail on that, although, it does pose relevance to the reason I like this book, a lot.

The first thing I noticed throughout Jane’s writing is that she refers constantly as I, the singular, her, the individual – the gardener of her own garden. And it is from there that I get a better insight into what, how and why Jane gardens as she does. I can disagree with her as I read. Or agree. With her. I have done both before and will most likely do again. My point is that this is not a cook book. It is not a series of menu’s. And neither is gardening. This is Janes way of gardening as she does it, for real and it is written and explained in that manner.

On a slight side note, I was in touch with Jane Publishers looking for some images, Fabio emailed back asking me to ensure that: author and publisher are clearly stated. I replied asking for some info on the photographer [?] so as to give credit to. I got this note:

All the photographs I sent through were in fact taken by Jane Powers herself, and are © Jane Powers 2011. Let me know if you need any further info.

Now we’re on the same wavelength. You see I know Janes garden. I also know after 4 years writing this blog you can’t set up nature for a great photo shoot. Sometimes you were just there. And Jane as versus any other photographer was. Greater than that, it backs up what is in text format.

I love the oddball yet relevant and logic elements of the book. Jane’s plea to save the clothes line, a note on avoiding the Leyland Cypress, a crash course in thinking about vegetables. There’s a title called things that slither in the night – slugs and the like – it comes with a sub plot called strategies. It speaks logically about hens, about them getting on in life and gets you, to think for yourself, before, during and whilst you garden. It doesn’t assume I and you have a degree in horticulture.

Not to sound so grand, but I have studied horticulture. I have plant dictionaries, albeit very useful to me they are the worlds most boring books.

Similarly, I have always analogised explaining gardening with being thought poetry in school. One can tell me what the poet is thinking, the theory and theme of the poem. Or one can read me poetry, allow me to enjoy or not the tune being read and allow me to think for myself. Rather than being able to recite, I want to first understand. We may all be gardeners. But we will never know it all.

Potential or expert, Balcony or Estate, The Living Garden – is – a bible for those who may wish to begin gardening and a problem solving, idea generating, creative mind stirring directory for those who have a garden. More than that it is a genius piece of reading for those who, like me, enjoy gardening.

Nice one Jane. I enjoyed that 😉

Here’s the opening paragraph from the press release. In this I refer you to its closing line:

In The Living Garden Jane Powers writes entertainingly and expertly on how we can manage our plots – big or small – in a way that is both welcoming to wildlife and good for the rest of the planet. By cutting out harmful chemicals and using the right plants for our climate and conditions, we can make a garden that has a life of its own, in which flora and fauna are intricately interwoven.  Jane describes, in her lyrical but commonsense writing, how to plan and plant for birds, bees and other creatures (including humans); and how to grow our own food, look after our soil, make compost and plant potions, sow and save seeds, propagate plants and carry out other essential tasks.  She is in favour of sustainable, eco-friendly methods, but is realistic about her limitations.

The book is priced at £25. I don’t know what that is in Ireland/ euros. And is all good book stores now.

Janes confirmed book signings are as follows

  • Newbridge Silverware, Newbridge, Co Kildare: 3pm, Friday April 1st.
  • Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin 2: 2pm, Saturday April 16th 2011
  • Launch of the West Cork Garden Trail, Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, West Cork: time and date (June) to be confirmed

Also worth a read is Jane’s blog – one bean row

You may also enjoy this interview I did with Jane from 2010:

All Posts

Mammoth Onions

Originally this was supposed to be a part of the garden podcast – episode 23 but I honestly became so intrigued by this one that I decided to make it an entirely seperate post and seperated the audio out of it.

Whilst I purchased The ‘globo’ variety, the varieties that Jane recommends are

  • kelsae
  • ailsa craig
  • unwins exhibition
  • robinsons mammoth

If anyone else is interested in doing this as a sort of online communal together sort of way….. let me know and lets see if we can have a bit of craic together.

Updates on how I and we get on will follow shortly.

All Posts

Quiz Mistress Powers and The Irish gardeners


Last week I gave you the Irish Times, Jane Powers super dooper Christmas quiz.

If you didn’t see it….? Just click this Irish Times Jane Powers Quiz link. Because this Saturday it will return again.

Reckon you can pit your wits against the finest in the land… Go buy a copy of The Irish Times tomorrow – it appears in the magazine section.

If you did try the quiz…. and you would like the answers…. Jane very kindly emailed me them.;) Take a look and see how you got on….

Thanks Jane!


1. Beech keeps its dead leaves over winter.

2. Mistletoe is a parasite of trees.

3. Spiders are not vegetarians.

4. Narcissus was the young man in Greek mythology who spent much time gazing at his reflection in a pool.

5. The highest box hedges in the world are at Birr Castle in Co Offaly.

6. Carrots are propagated by seed.

7. The rabbit-eared flower is lavender (Lavandula).

8. False. Fresh grass clippings are high in nitrogen, not carbon.

9. An awn is found on the flowering parts of members of the grass family.

10. Arran Victory, Edzell Blue and Congo potatoes have dark, blue-toned skins.

11. Sarcococca is commonly known as “Christmas box”.

12. 2008 was the United Nation’s Year of the Potato.

13. An “eyecatcher” is an architectural feature on a distant hill.

14. The petals of buttercups are not edible.

15. Pomes and drupes are both fruits.

16. The garden with the Italianate pond is Ilnacullin, Garinish Island, Glengarriff.

17. The flower of the dragon arum (Dracunculus vulgaris) smells like carrion.

18. It smells like this in order to attract pollinating insects.

19. Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ and Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ all have “black” foliage.

20. In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge’s suggested stake is made of holly.

21. Vine weevil larvae consume the roots and underground parts of plants.

22. A fruit cage is an enclosure to protect berrying plants from birds.

23. The botanical epithet “bonariensis” means “of Buenos Aires”.

24. Cornus, Nepeta, Equisetum and Arisarum proboscideum all refer to animals: dogwood, catmint, horsetail and mouse plant.

25. The spiny flower is teasel.

26. The words “holly” and “mistletoe” combine to make the anagram “little me, so holy”.

27. To “harden off” a plant is to gradually expose it to colder outdoor temperatures.

28. Tom Stuart-Smith designed the “Best Show Garden” at Chelsea Flower Show 2008.

29. A pedicel is a flower stalk.

30. Potatoes are propagated asexually.

31. The Latin epithet “alpina” means that the plant is an alpine, growing high on a mountain, above the tree line.

32. Raceme, corymb, panicle and spike refer to the inflorescence (the flowering part) of a plant.

33. The common name for Euphorbia pulcherrima is poinsettia.

34. “I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree.” are the first two lines of the poem in question (Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer)

35. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ have red flowers.

36. The name of the garden show last summer was Bloom.

37. Alchemilla, Athyrium, Cardamine pratensis and Cypripedium are all “lady” plants (lady’s mantle, lady fern, lady’s smock and lady’s slipper).

38. Lamb-Clarke Collection at University College Dublin is composed of Irish apple varieties.

39. The hoverfly is a friend to the gardener.

40. Crassula ovata (also sometimes known as C. argentea), is commonly known as the money plant.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]