At Your Service, 2013. RTE. CASA Garden.

rte at your service, garden 2013

Updated: 27 Dec 2013

pictured above [L-R]: John Brennan, Peter Donegan, Mark O’Loughlin, Amy Cooney, Francis Brennan and Séan Keoghan. Not pictured (and very much missing) Séan and Francis Redmond.

peter donegan garden

Read more

The Neglected Garden Turnover

Throughout the glorious sunshine of last week, there was moved approximately 120 tonnes of top soil in, as 4 gardens spaces outside were turned into gardens within the space of 5 days. That may sound like a time trialled achievement, maybe. Not to be forgotten however is the mass amounts of overtime worked in the pre-planning department, pre the arrival of the extreme sunshine, which I should add was programmed only to last for that week.

On a slight-ish side note, as maybe you are aware and as any Irish farmer will tell you, the issue of getting potatoes harvested recently was not that the tuber had not fully developed, more that the fields were far too wet to get into, or out of.

Slightly similar, maybe, the biggest problems I had was getting good topsoil, graded of a good quality, not clodded and dry enough to work. On the other hand, was the factor of actually getting into [some of the] domestic gardens and to give it it’s overhaul without, creating a miniature music festival within the micro venue.

This below and above the state 4 of the gardens were found within the estate in Malahide.

My first task was to take overgrowth down to ground level so I could see where I was going, the gardens outline and potentially what lay beneath. And with weed growth at inches width of stem growth in parts, the strimmer blade was taken to task. Once clear-er, phase 2 saw the introduction of the mini digger.

In part the big problem was with the perennial weeds that had been born into pure sub soil and rubble. They tend to form this [in particular the docks] extremely stubborn mass of a clump that is quite simply a real goat to move, or one that in this case was by far more efficiently done by man and machine.

With the overgrowth, rubble, brutal soil, six giraffes and anything else you may believe possible to find in there removed, the next step was the introduction of the top soil. Good topsoil.

Reflecting slightly, the smart decisions were to organise the right truck with a grabs which meant in two of the gardens the soil was able to be placed over the walls ; the mini digger chosen was that it could fit down the side alleys, very much the smarter alternate than doing so by hand ; and finally paying a little more for a graded soil with [therefore] very little waste to come out of it. Picture if you will evenly spreading bowls of porridge as versus caster sugar.

With regards to the gardens that I could not get machine into, it was quite simply a case of many tins of spinach and a little bit of an upper body work out.

Some may query the grass seed germination, the timing and the timelines; but so long as there are temperatures above 14 celsius, a little water and sunlight then by providing all of the factors horticulturally required for the growth of any plant, in this case grass seed germination, I should be absolutely fine and dandy.

The trouble potentially for those who chose to hold off on this, the seeding, is that you will need the climatic conditions consistent for a period of about two weeks. The question is as we head towards October and as the average mean temperatures drop to approximate 6 celsius and falling, will you achieve that lawn by Christmas.

Next up, the prettier bits and the planting. Best done from September onwards, that assuming you’re into water conservation or quite simply prefer to only to have to admire your garden over the wintering period. And though the pictures here may not be the prettiest I have ever shown, the infrastructure and foundations have been laid well and the transformation begun. Either or, just like this one, all good gardens have to start somewhere. 😉

The #SodShow meets Malahide Allotments. Dublin’s Only Garden Radio Show

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

The #SodShow meets Malahide Allotments. Dublin’s Only Garden Radio Show (mp3)

The SodShow – with Peter Donegan & Brian Greene – Every Friday 3pm – Live

Listen to The SodShow Live @ 3pm:

  • Tune in: 103.2fm on your radio dial if you are in the Dublin area
  • Listen live online: every Friday 3pm via – on your phone or desktop

Listen Later:

On The Show This Week:

malahide allotments

This week our guest is Brian Geraghty of Malahide Allotments, a project by The Epilepsy Care Foundation, a registered charity, to provide allotments for people with epilepsy and associated disorders. The site will consist of 300 allotments, 225 will be rented to the public to fund the project and 75 will be used for our project.

Further info:

Make Contact with The SodShow:

About The SodShow:

The SodShow, Ireland’s Garden Radio Show with landscape gardener Peter Donegan and armchair gardener Brian Greene airs on Dublin City FM Friday’s at 3PM.

The Sodshow is podcasted, blogged, streamed and live tweeted to the world via its internet site:


Fingal Libraries Gardening Talks/ Classes

This coming week, I will be working with Fingal Libraries doing some gardening classes/ talks. The talks/ classes will be short concise 45 minute sessions on the basics of growing your own.

There maybe some more talks taking place but for now, these are the ones confirmed for this week.

  • Rush Wednesday 23rd March – 6th class
  • Malahide Wednesday 23rd March – 4th class
  • Baldoyle Friday 25th March – children
  • Balbriggan Friday 25th March – 6th class

Further information on Fingal Libraries and the garden classes/ talks contact:

Siobhan Walshe
Development & PR Department
Fingal County Libraries
County Hall
01 8905532

More information on my garden talks/ demonstrations:

You can also contact me in the following ways:

The Sodcast – Episode 17

sodshow, garden podcast

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

Listen to The Sodcast in MP3 – or subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 16 of the garden podcast ?

First Up:


Back to life….


This Week On The Blog:

Links For The Podcast:

Images For The Podcast:

This Weeks Oddities:

Fellow hen fanatic Simon Kenny send me this email

Hi Peter

I don’t have a photo of bark mulch on the plastic but do have decorative pebbles on plastic in my own garden. It’s basically the same principle. The soil is blocked from sunlight and weeds push up the plastic around the edges. Attached is a photo which I took this would be great to hear what your views are on the use of the plastic stuff, and how you would go about flower bed fabrication


Also these little trinkets 😉

I asked if anyone had a happy Garden story for me….? You replied… and I had to tell you all to stop!
  • @rauldore: Yes – my garden is happy : I haven’t had a BBq in ages 😀
  • @jkeyes: Iggle Piggle, Upsey Daisy and Makka Pakka.
  • @maryrose: I planted crocus today… at least they will bring a smile to my face come January
  • @orlamcdermott: 10 gizillion pretty red crab apples from a small tree made into 25 jars of jam 🙂
  • @maryrose: oh I couldn’t … sure I’d have to get my hair done..!!!
  • @powersflowers: Funny Hissingfirst story for you from @ArabellaSock : It’ll make you laugh. I promise.
  • @knetstop our strawberry is still blooming and having fruit. Does that count?
  • @primaryposition: one easter sunday i awoke early to find little paw prints leading out our garden and down the street path. Convinced it was the Easter Bunny, I took off after them like an excited blood hound. about 5 houses down the road i found a poor little tortoise trapped in a hole in a neighbours garden. He was alive and we kept him for a week before giving him to a zoo 🙂
  • @EWgardens: 10 years next year since we began to revive 400+ year old gardens abandoned for 50 years. My other halfs grandfather died having pulled house down and not knowing he had an heir. He would be delighted to meet his great grandchildren and visitors in his revived garden. How’s that?
  • @dervlam: Funny looking mushrooms growing on my back garden lawn!
  • @ianbrunswick: Worked @ Chicago botanic gardens & stopped a snapper turtle getting run over. He tried to bite my hand off. Some thanks!

And Finally:

I found the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra via Christian Carey and the gentleman [and lover of the great outdoors] that is Mr Jonathan Grimes