The Sodcast Guests – Pat Fitzgerald

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, all good podcast stores.

Listen to this Sodcast episode in MP3 – or – you can subscribe or/ and listen to the podcast via iTunes. Alternatively you can subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 10 of the garden podcast ?

Introducing Pat Fitzgerald

I’ve known the nursery man that is Pat Fitzgerald for sometime now and I’ve worked with him on many projects.


To be honest, work aside, we get on well. You might even say I admire what he has achieved and from where it started. More than that, he’s a gentleman, a good friend and for podcast reasons, like myself, he’s a gardener by trade and hobby.

Last bank holiday weekend 2009 I spent in Kilkenny and some of that time in Pats company. I did this video in his the myplant nursery.

I also interviewed Pat in June 2010 when he brought 12 new plants to the Irish market. That is some achievement.

Pat had previously worked with me one of my show gardens in Smithfield.

Pat is the third guest for the sodcast, the garden podcast.

Pat will be a regular contributor on the Podcast and you can tune in this Thursday to hear my first conversation with him. Details of how to are at the top of this weblog post. You can also visit the sodcast – podcast page on iTunes

My Links For Pat:

You can of course contact me on:

12 New Plants To The Market – From Ireland

I have interviewed my good friend Pat Fitzgerald before. Twice actually.

But when a Kilkenny man brings 12 new plants to the market, already employs 35 people and exports [some as far as Japan] over 85% of all of his plants grown…. I think it’s more than news worthy. An Irish man selling Japanese style plants in Japan….? Add to that the fact that he’d be considered quite young in an Irish nursery business to have achieved what he has.

To horticulture, some of the plants have just come online, most have never been seen before and others have already award winning. For those not in the plant breeding business and for want of a better definition, put simply, somebody has invented these plants. More details on that below.

From a plant enthusiasts perspective, a picture is one thing. A video is another. Take a look and see what you think.

Pictures and descriptions are below.

  1. Carex oshimensis Evergreen is similar to the species form of the Oshima sedge from Japan with wonderful simple brown tipped abundances of flower in Spring. Almost 1 million Carex plants will be produced by Pat in 2010. Evergreen provides a simple natural and relaxing under planting or feature plant in containers and this from was selected for its more compact growth and depth of colour.
  2. Libertia ixiodes Goldfinger bred at Naturally Native Nurseries in New Zealand and marketed in Europe by Plantipp Netherlands on behalf of New Zealand’s Lyndale Nurseries Kiwi Gold native New Zealand plant collection. Ideal for containers in the colder regions and mass planting in coastal and milder parts. Goldfinger will tolerate temperatures of -5 C to -7 C but below these temperatures will need protection with heavy fleece covering. This fantastic plant has white flowers in May and the foliage colour changes from butter yellow to old gold as temperatures decrease through Autumn and Winter.
  3. Carex trifida Rekohu Sunrise Another representative from New Zealand’s native flora. This is the first introduction from the trifida species of Carex and in New Zealand is commonly known as Muttonbird Sedge due to the flowers resembling the feet of the native Muttonbird. Rekohu Sunrise was bred by Mr Terry Hatch of Joy Nurseries in New Zealand. Rekohu Sunrise can be cut right back to tidy it up in March /early April and will produce vigorous but compact shoots of wonderful bright foliage.
  4. Ophiopogon nigrascens and its other mondo grass relatives are some of hardiest, functionally attractive and most versatile dwarf ground cover plants available. Slow growing ground hugging and with wonderful detail in flower and berry what more can one ask from a plant but there is more. Ophiopogon nigrascens is drought tolerant, will grow in shade semi shade and full sun and is hardy to at least -15 C. This Japanese native provides attractive ground cover in the garden and develops lilac coloured flower spikes which on mature plants set attractive black berries. There is also an improved variety of this wonderful plant and its called Blackbeard. Bred by Steve Yandell from Penzance it has faster growth, longer leaves and a greater clumping habit.
  5. Canna Tropicanna is a Tropical perennial plant introduced by Mr Keith Kirsten from South Africa named and marketed around the world by Anthony Tesselaar International. Tropicanna has led to two other varieties, Tropicanna Black and Tropicanna Gold. Canna Generally has a reputation for being difficult to grow by some people, but it can be a wonderful addition to the small garden and should not be ignored for those of us with foliage colour lust. Tropicanna also has amazing flowers.
  6. Royal Hawaiian Colocasia go on sale in Europe generally in Spring early Summer 2011 although some baby plants will be available a little earlier. The collection comes from an internationally acclaimed breeder Dr John J Cho who has achieved outstanding success with his new line of ornamental Colocasias.
  7. Cordyline australis Karo Kiri is a most unusual variety of the common Cordyline we see all over Ireland in our coastal towns and cites. Karo Kiri is an easily maintained dwarf form and is versatile in containers or small gardens. It comes from New Zealand breeder and selector Ross Baybliss
  8. Carex oshimensis Everest Pat has been growing Carex for 20 years now and having been bought stock of the well known Carex Evergold as a birthday present (another long story) the year he set up FitzGerald Nurseries. Now the biggest producer of Carex oshimensis possibly in the world. Carex oshimensis thrives in the Irish climate and is a versatile plant for the garden or containers. Sometimes misused it leads to unsightly clumps in exposed and sodden landscapes. It is ideally suited to sheltered urban gardens, will thrive in semi shade situations and in containers giving the most wonderful white margins seen on any plant. Everest was picked as an entrant in the recent American Idols plant competition in USA and won a Silver medal at Plantarium in Boskoop Netherlands.
  9. Carex oshimensis Everillo was first launched at the wonderful Hillsborough Show in Northern Ireland earlier in May and was only just discovered in 2008 and is set for a worldwide release in Spring 2012. This is how long it takes even a relatively fast to produce plant such as Everillo. A fantastic addition for shade and semi shade and is a Japanese native bred for its colour.
  10. Phormium cookianum Black Adder now sold to Japan, Australia, its native New Zealand USA and most European countries. Black Adder was selected over 6 years ago has been a wonderful success story adopted by many nurseries including leading New Zealand Nursery Lyndale Nurseries as the number one black / purple Phormium. Black Adder won best container plant award for FitzGerald Nurseries at the worlds largest professional Horticulture Show IPM Essen Germany in 2008.
  11. Yucca gloriosa Bright Star a winner at IPM Essen 2009 with first prize for best patio container plant. Bright Star was discovered at Walberton Nursery West Sussex England by Mr Tim Crowther, promoted by Plants For Europe and introduced into production in Europe by FitzGerald Nurseries. Bright Star is an outstanding colour selection of the hardy and drought tolerant Yucca gloriosa. It has pink colouring which comes during drought or cold weather conditions.
  12. Cordyline fruticosa Caruba Black is a tropical Cordyline from Anthony Tesselaar and produced exclusively in Europe by FitzGerald Nurseries. Unlike its more hardy cousin C. australis Caruba Black needs temperatures over 3 C to maintain its attractive appearance and colour so must only be used as a Summer dot plant to give a tropical exotic look to borders or containers. It can even be cut back in spring to encourage multiple stems.
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2009 A Good Year ….?

I did do a review of the year 2008. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2010… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2009.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as possible 😉

  • December was kicked off with the Carbon Neutral Revolution and Trim 2025

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done… it should be noted that none of this would make any sense without someone to share the stories, the laughter and equally the tears with. I am forever greatful to the so many great friends and people I have met along this years road. Thank you. 🙂

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is an easy an easy one especially when I work in an industry that is so weather dependant and I am self employed. That is not a complaint…. more an additional reason to appreciate the people who stand tall by my side when time are tougher and there too when we laugh our socks off.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Nollaig Shona duit. Slán agus beannacht.

Thank you again, for everything.

*View the statistics for Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog

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How one ‘should’ deal with [online] criticism [?]

Recently, I did a review of The Rothe House Gardens in Kilkenny. It is recommended to read it and the comments for this post to make sense. Read it and pop back here after…..

I’ve done many reviews. Some of the places I’ve seen were a disgrace. Some amazing. But the intention is not to cause upset, rather to give an honest appraisal. In most cases I have emailed the department or association.

I did get a comment in on The Rothe House review after some time though. It was from Roisín McQuillan the manager of The Rothe House in Kilkenny. And I replied. I also picked up the phone that evening and rang Roisín. After she sent me on this mail. The above images were attached.

Hi Peter

Thanks for your phone call this afternoon, it was great to speak to you.  As we discussed, I’m sending you some images of the garden ‘before’ and ‘after’, so that you can see the work which has been done to get us to where we are today.

The garden has been reconstructed by Rothe House Trust Limited and Kilkenny Archaeological Society, as part of its Conservation Plan.  The objective was to reconstruct a 17th century urban garden.  A steering committee was formed, chaired by Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer with Kilkenny County Council. This committee undertook research into the design of the garden, which was complemented by an extensive archaeological dig.

The plot of land had been used by the OPW as a carpark and storage facility, and the whole area was overlaid with 3ft of concrete.  There were various sheds around the area which had to be pulled down. Funding was received from Fáilte Ireland, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust, with the balance being raised by private fundraising.  The final cost of the project was over €600,000.

The work began in January 2006, when the area was cleared and the dig commenced. This dig found over 2,000 artefacts relating to life in the garden area over 700 years (as far back as the Cistercians in the 1300s).  The results of the dig determined the final design of the garden, as we sought to be as authentic as possible to the original design. The planting beds of the 17th century were located, and these have been positioned in the exact spot.  Cross walls which were built after the 17th century were knocked, and a new wall was built on the line of a wall which had originally been there.  A master stonemason was employed to restore the original boundary walls, and new walls were built where gaps had occurred over the years.

The planting scheme is as authentic as we can make it. Research was undertaken into the types of plants which were grown in the 17thGardener’s Labyrinth which she uses as her ‘bible’ for planting.  We include vegetables, herbs, aromatic plants, fruit trees and shrubs, bulbs etc.  Each autumn we plant bulbs, all of which have a pedigree going back to the late 16th or early 17th century. These have given us great colour in the garden last Spring. century. Mary, our Gardener, plays close attention to the

I attach two images at present, one before the work began and one shortly after the garden was opened. You can see the amount of work which had to be completed.

The Garden was officially opened by Mrs Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, on 11th April 2008, and in its first summer it won the Regional and National Landscape Awards with the Tidy Towns Competition.

Next week, I will send you some further images of the garden to illustrate the amount of work which was done to ensure that the Garden opened on time, and within budget.

As I explained, we are now embarking on our final Capital Project, the Renaissance Project, which will re-present the entire House & garden to the public in a new and very exciting way.

With kind regards, and have a good weekend.
Róisín McQuillan
Rothe House, Kilkenny

So now I have an invitation to visit and to meet and greet those responsible for the grounds. Roisín has done her job extremely well. Fact. And those who never knew about The Rothe House Trust House and Gardens are now a little wiser. Bulaidh bós Roisín. Standing ovation.

By the way, very logically they have also put their sat nav co ordinates up on their website. Smart people.

What do you think….?

Sat Nav Co-ords: 52o 39.3’ N, 7o 15.3’ W

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Ever Wondered What It Takes To Grow A Plant…?



October Bank Holiday Weekend, I went to Kilkenny. I had so much to do….

On my agenda was to meet my good friend & plant inventor Pat Fitzgerald.

I had interviewed Pat for the blog before. I had also worked with Pat on so many of my projects and gardens… but I’d never seen his nursery. The place, his place to be more exact, the place where the plants I have designed into projects, designs and gardens are born, reared and looked after. This is where I started to get excited….

Excited ? About plants…? On a bank holiday weekend…? Have I nothing else better to be doing…? I wouldn’t swap what I love doing so much for anything else in the world 😆

Pat, in my opinion 😉 is a little bit special in the Irish context of horticulture in that 85-90% of his plants are exported to places like Japan & The USA.. thats a total of almost 3.5 million plants as a by the way…. not bad?!!

*disclaimer: I’ve never received money from Pat for anything I have ever done. I simply think he’s got a different and an interesting story. More than that… he’s one of lifes good guys. More importantly, he’s got a sense of humour and enjoys a pint on a Friday night. shame I have to put a disclaimer in at all being honest….

Heres’s the first video I did with Pat… nice story 😉

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