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In Print: Horticulture Connected

peter donegan, horticulture connected ireland (2)

Ireland had been missing a trade magazine for a number of years and 2014 saw it’s more than welcome return to Irish horticulture.

The latest issue is available as we speak and comes complete with a little Peter Donegan guaranteed to make you smile and brighten up your January. Self praise ? It’s all good.

More info and subscribing to the mag at www.horticulture.ie Read more

Garden Writer

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My writing began with a weekly piece for the Irish Farmers Journal in 2004. Over my 4 years there I also reported freelance for The IFJ on various events that took place.

Shortly after finishing with the Journal I started writing for Self Build Ireland Magazine, a quarterly publication. I wrote on more specialist subjects that were anywhere between 1,500 and 4,000 plus words. I worked freelance with the team there for about 2 seasons.

In between and to today I have written freelance for many publications both nationally and abroad.

In 2007 I started writing this weblog. It has been shortlisted for the last 2 years for the IIA Net Visionary awards and also nominated for the Irish Blog Awards.

If you would like to talk to me about writing with you for print, online, freelance or other as always the coffee pot is always on the brew or you can contact me via the following options.

  • by email info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • via this website: click the contact page
  • call mobile – o876594688

Below are some articles that are live on the weblog.

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Irish Gardening Online…?

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I remember reading an article posted online by good friend and nursery man Pat Fitzgerald. It was about trying to promote the gardening industry. Here’s a little taster of what Pat had to say….

…we collect last years good condition gardening magazines and make some beneficial use of them instead of hoarding them. Why not distribute these magazines into as many hair dressers, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, nail bars, beauty salon waiting rooms as will be agreeable to accept them…

Before I go any further, Pat does say himself that it is…

a possibly nutty, naive or optimistic idea

I was talking about this over the weekend with some friends of mine who work in the media industry. It wasn’t that we were laughing or being disrespectful in any way to Pat or the idea… far from it. In fact the point that seemed to be made was more is this as good as it gets for an industry that I have another 30 years odd to work in. I shall rephrase…. Is this what the amenity horticultural sector is resigned to in order to promote itself…. I know for sure the farming industry would never be seen even suggesting this nor the building federation…. isn’t that right Tom Parlon ?

I am fully aware that there exists ‘industry bodies’ but whether they will ever chose to form an opinion and be perceived as industry leaders is possibly a land very far away from here. I guess in that, what I am trying to say it that my next door neighbour could not name me one garden related association…. I think that’s a fair point.

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To there I suppose one could turn to government bodies…. but the green party aren’t really a green party anymore and being that I have never received even two bits of encouragement by way of payment acknowledgement for my role in online green sector….. I am beginning to wonder who’s the promoter of who and what on earth I am doing this for. But, like I said before it’s not like I get paid to write this Irish Green Blog. But then again, it was never about the money.

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I hear friends of mine calling their children the facebook generation…. I saw myself last week reading a blog post on generating electricity I also found myself reading some gardening articles on different things to try out in the garden. There are literally blogs to cover every subject available…. but very few in Ireland on green related matters. There are people who have set up websites that sell gardening related products. A quick google search will show just how many…. But that said I still prefer the peronal touch. I also know that every gardener in the country can supply me with plants and drop out just to make sure they’re doing alright after the transaction. I also like to know a person before I buy anything… but again thats just me.

promoting....

But with very few Irish television programmes dedicated to gardening [if at all any] on the production line and what seems like also a few less publications [particularly magazines] dedicated to the horticultural industry I guess I am beginning to wonder if the follow on effect will be that of a demise or at least a fall in interest in the great outdoors. Being honest, not even I can get a gig writing about gardens weekly… or monthly for that matter.

On the flip side… it is very easy to point fingers. And this is not about figuring out who to blame. It is the realisation that something should be done. Needs to be done. Has to be done. And now.

When I look at the online side of things I see very few Irish gardeners with an online presence. I see very few weblogs. I see very little of a presence on even something so huge such as twitter. Recently I found it impossible to come up with 20 Irish green people using the tool [properly or at all]. It’s not like I keep it a secret. I have posted and explained on every online tool I use and I even publish my statistics.

the stone age...

Considering it is the year 2010…. one would think with the upcoming Irish Blog Awards that it would be possible to have a green/ eco/ gardening category….? I think I may know of four weblogs that could enter… but nothing more. Put in that context what can I say.

I’d like to think that the various efforts such as the garden guest sessions and of more recent times the garden group would/ could and did stir the interest a little. It seems to…. surprising?

The reality is I will continue to do my instructional gardening videos and posts. I’ll continue to do so of my own time and money. I’d like to think Irish garden related companies gave me some support… To put that in context…. Recently I could not get a company to send me some products for review – although they did samples…. just not for review??? I explained I would buy it in the shop and review it anyway [ 🙄 or do I use this one 😆 ]. which is what I have done to date. Maybe some feel I may actually be honest or that its better not to have it mentioned, photographed and video’d…? And for the record I have never received any products for free for this blog. Not even a book. Not a complaint. Just so you know.

The question that remains is…. should the Irish Horticultural Industry invest all of the resources available to it and go place those magazines in the doctors surgery?

where do we go from here....?

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Quiz Mistress Powers and The Irish gardeners

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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!

ANSWERS:

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.

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are you a friend of the GLDA…. ?

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For those who don’t know the GLDA is the [Irish] garden landscape designers association.

Anyhow, this morning I got a lovely email from Sheena Vernon of the GLDA. [Hi Sheena sorry if I haven’t been in touch in a while 😉 ] Here’s what she had to say

Hi Peter

No sign of you at Bloom this year.  Someone described you the other day as ‘the ultimate networker’! Quite a complement.  I won’t be at Kilquade this weekend sadly as I will be away.  As the ultimate networker, are you a Friend of the GLDA?  If not, why not, we need people like you.  Please would you give the idea a few minutes of your time?

best wishes
Sheena

This little video of Sheena’s daughter and her friend singing was live streamed in Sheena & Marco’s garden on the closing evening of Bloom 2008. The highlight of my weekend 🙂

Back to it…. I used to be ‘a friend’ of the GLDA. But for no apparent reason I stopped. I think I had too much going on in my gardeners mind most likely….. who knows ?!

If you aren’t a friend of the nice lads based on Dublins Southside, I strongly recommend it. They are a great group of people whose events are extremely well run. Their annual seminar really is a who’s who of the international design circuit and so well worth the treat. [Been a little while since I attended that too… that brain of mine really has been too over-active 🙂 ]

So what do you get for your €35

  • The GLDA journal, Compass, every quarter, one of the few magazines in Ireland to focus on garden design. As a Friend of the GLDA you can also have your work featured or contribute pieces
  • Reduced rates for all GLDA activities such as the annual seminar, workshops and garden visits.
  • You stay in touch with events by related organisations like ALCI, the RHSI and Bord Bia through our newsletters.
  • You have the opportunity, if you wish, to become a professional member of the GLDA; we hold workshops to help you prepare a portfolio for assessment.
  • You become part of a community of like-minded people through helping the GLDA at events like Bloom, Expo, and our talks and seminars.

To get in touch, contact Administrator Annette McCoy
GLDA PO Box 10954,
Dublin 18
Telephone 353 1 2940092  Fax 353 1 2948084
Email info[at]glda[dot]ie
Web www.glda.ie

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