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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

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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. 😉

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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:

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bloom 2008 [6] & the malahide boat show

After an early rise this morning to admire the beauty around me I went to Malahide, North Dublin to see the bi-annual boat show.

One of the reasons I wanted to go was to see if there was anything I could do more to add to the ‘thats an unusual [pink boat all included] garden’ tag Pour L’amour de Jeux has given me! and the well organised event was extremely helpful in sourcing some ‘boat stuff’/ props we needed for Bloom 2008.

The other reason was to travel with a very good friend/ neighbour[ish]/ colleague of mine/ Adrian McMahon and his two sons where we would meet with Gene another colleague of ours for a coffee.

The day was of course fantastic, but like most things in my life it is always made that extra little bit special by those with who it is shared. As you can gather there was a lot of Bloom-in talkin’ goin’ on and I must say where good coffee, intelligents minds and good friends are involved somehow life seems quite easy! Thanks you all, it was Bloomin’ fantastic.

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[Plant] Life – simply breath taking!

Rapeseed (Brassica napus) - inspiration in a field - peter donegan garden design

I awoke this morning to walk the dogs before going to the boatshow in Malahide with Aido [and the his two well mannered youngsters] to meet with Gene, another gentleman and associate. The weather was beautiful, the day simply amazing and the people I met just added to the brilliance.

This field of Brassicae napus [rapeseed oil], opposite my house could only make life quite inspirational and I must say added a somewhat breath taking smile! Amazing!