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stephen rawson – pr garden guest #7

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #7 is  Stephen Rawson of Rawson Communications

ABOUT:

steve...

steve...

Steve Rawson is a Media & Public Relations consultant based in Dublin, Ireland. He specialises in Public Affairs, Media Relations, Media Training and publicity/Promotions.

His interests include current affairs, environmental issues, music, travel and food. He is a musician (vocalist & guitarist) and enjoys good food, good company.His favourite books include The Shadow of the Wind by Carloz Ruiz Zafon, Suite Francais by Irene Némirovsky, Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin, Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett and A Woman in Berlin.

Favourite Films (too many to mention) but include Once upon a Time in America, Festen and Crash. Favourite TV programmes: The Wire, The Sopranos, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, anything by David Attenborough, Eco Eye.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:

I spent most of my early childhood in the late 50’s in Greystones, County Wicklow on an imaginary horse riding the range in search of Indian trails across Greystones Golf Club and the environs around Hillside Road. It was an era when children had the freedom to roam and the natural world flourished all around us.

Smell can be such a subjective experience but for me the nutty coconut aroma of yellow furze, the seemingly omnipresent perfume of privet along with hay harvest, farmyard manure and elderflower bring back well-embedded memories.

Memories of my mother trekking us across the golf links to pick crab apples with us all given a job to prepare the resultant clove-scented crab apple jelly – the storing of jam jars, the purchase of jam jar covers (hard to find today), the sterilising, cooking, cooling, name tagging and storage. The recycling of lemonade bottles, the knife-sharpening van, milk delivered by horse-drawn cart, travellers calling to fix pots & pans. It was basic environmentalism out of sheer neccessity.

That I now tend an organic cottage garden at my home in Killester is no accident nor is it based on some eco-fiendish plot to convert you – for me it’s always been that way – planting, harvesting, composting and recycling back into the ground – a natural common- sense cycle of life.

I’m also a foodie so my perquisite for any garden starts outside the kitchen door with a Belfast sink and a half barrel wooden tub containing parsley, thyme, sage, bay leaf, fennel and wild garlic. A sunny spot outside the front door is a perfect growing environment for our prolific rosemary bush. There’s no excuse for not being able to grow these herbs in pots on a small apartment terrace and the ease with which you can grab a few herbs to finish off a hearty beef bourgignone, a summer salad or a wild garlic risotto all adds to the pleasure of fresh food and is bound to impress your guests.

When it comes to plants I like to go for scent and I’ve strategically placed jasmine, honeysuckle (woodbine) outside the backdoor. These two plants are easy to grow and they give off a pungently heady scent making summer evenings a real treat with the backdoor and bedroom/bathroom windows open.

Wildlife will always be attracted to cover so I have planted privet and fuchsia for hedging and fern and mombretia for top of bed cover while lavender borders give off a much needed therapeutic scent. Again, lavender and gravel is a perfect remedy for the low maintenance gardener while fuchsia and fern can all be grown in pots for apartment terraces.

The above mentioned are the basics before I head to the garden centre for trays of annuals –, alyssum, stock, petunia (get the scented trailing variety usually available from late May/early June)) nicotiana, while aubretia and trailing lobelia (red for effect if you can find it) are not scented but provide wonderful colour. The one plant I always grow from seed in pots is night-scented stock for summer evening scent.

Of course, the far side of the scent spectrum is the pungent aroma of compost breaking down rotting veg, grass and tree clippings as the worms eat their way through the compressed but warm rotting vegetation. All green waste is recycled cutting down on waste charges.

I built a small pond approximately 6 ft in length by 4 ft with a shelved depth to 3 feet bordered with liscannor paving with a water fountain. You’ll hardly have your back turned from filling it with water (from the water butt attached to the outside downpipe) before the frogs arrive and take up residence.

For birdlife, apart from the aforementioned cover, I have put up a birdtable and feeders for wildbird seed, peanuts, fatballs and sliced apple. Again, feeders can be easily placed on apartment terraces. Apart from your common or gardener visitor I have goldcrests, green finches, long-tailed tits and black caps. Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light here as I’ve also had visits from predators herons who like a nice feed on fish and frogspawn while a hovering sparrowhawk has also spied the rich pickings on offer.

All of the above plants mentioned attract butterflies and bees but you just can’t beat the hum and sight of a bumble-bee’s arse hanging out of a foxglove or antirrhinum flower in mid-summer with a background of birdsong and trickling waterfall as you sip your glass of cool sauvignon waiting for the bar-b-cue coals to heat up.


If life deals you lemons, make lemonade. If it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.

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the ultimate guide to chick-hens

big smile...

big smile...

Since I last wrote about ‘The Supremes’, things have really settled down. In the last ‘snappy’ post, the day they arrived, the set-up wasn’t exactly complete.

the complete hen runhomemade chicken hen perchchicken hen feature old tree stump

  • The chicken wire I got wasn’t 6 foot tall [more 3′ approximately] and I only had enough to go once around. I completed the upper level with that green tennis court kind of mesh… [see pics above].
  • I made a little perch for them using the pole off a broken sweeping brush. And I threw in an old lump of a tree stump as a sort of feature. They use both to sit upon.

I know that the hens food can be expensive; [depending on what you buy] AND as a result of that…. I now realise the amount of S*** one can be sold and how the products and prices are figured out is almost beyond me. In some cases, disgraceful to be very honest. It almost makes me a little angry. Bad bandwagon jumping where nurturing and encouragement should be given….

To that…. I’ve seen such varient & useless paraphernalia; most of which I can only describe as ‘dog kennels on stilts’ and all sorts of fancy bags of ‘super dooper hen feed’ and honestly, 99% of it is all crap. FACT. Something I’d hope the likes of Richard Corrigan will point out on his show…. ? Whats worse is a lot of these bandwagon jumping guys are getting in touch with me…. ? A lot of them don’t even have chickens!! Some have even taken the notes from my blog…. hmmmm 😯

It’s a ‘family’ way. It’s a way of living. It has F*** all to do with this word as the media constantly suggests it does [and as does The RTE/ Corrigan show]. Not when a shed costs €360. A good ‘buy right & buy one once’ shed by the way. In my honest experience – anyone who has hens, fowl, chickens…. etc… [and to all of the press out there….] It is cheaper to buy a tray of eggs, for the first few years at least. If you do write anything else – you’ve never lived the good life and know nothing about it.

feed for hens barleyhen water feederhen feeder

  • Back to the nice business… the big bag of barley 40kg costs about €10 in a good old style honest farm supplies shop. This and the kitchen green waste will feed them. They absolutely love potatoes and the peels…. but not so much carrots it seems 🙂 I might change this to a bag of wheat when that runs out.
  • The water container [white kind of upside down bucket – see pics above with a red bottom trim] is only for baby chicks so they don’t fall in. Any bucket that will hold water will do. Even I can be sold ‘stuff’ that is unnecessary…..
  • The steel feeder is necessary if you have a daily job… but keep it inside so as to keep the food dry – otherwise it turns to slop.
  • The four hens cost me €12 each. That will give you a good guide on how much to pay.
hen-eggs-just-layed

...all this for an egg

And after all of that… and just 11 days after arrival…… I got my first egg 🙂

There was a bit more of a hullabulooo in the run today [see pics below]. I stepped in to see the ‘nest’ being prepared. Poor thing didn’t know what was happening…. but all is good. The other guys were faffing around like…. like, well headless chickens I suppose… 😉

I can now walk in and pet them. The dogs have grown accustomed to them. It has however been a learning curve and a journey of sorts; yet,  one I am glad to have taken part in and I do love dearly, still. I always have

Most of my materials came for free… or I had them already. Maybe in a year or 2 it will pay for itself…. but not this year. But then, I am happy. I am 99.9% of the time a very happy chappy and that’s something no amount of money can buy 😆

the other hens want to see whats going onhens perparing to layhen making the nest

Was it worth the money? every penny! Would I recommend it? 110% Whatever you do and however you choose to do it…. have fun, smile and above all enjoy…. I promise you, for the first egg alone, it’s worth it!!

this video is courtesy of my friend Blaithín.

All my weblog articles of hens [so far] are here:

bloom 2008 – the pr & media list…

bloom 2008 pour l'amour de jeux

Bloom 2008 – ‘Pour L’amour de Jeux’

The entire pink boat story can be read here. My reason for publishing this… I/ we need a sponsor! If you think you can help or know anyone who can – please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many Thanks

peter

for bloom 2007 pr/ media list click here

Coverage

Other
Electric Picnic

29th, 30th, 31st August The ‘Pink Boat’ now a main feature at the music festival and part of the art trail.

Newspapers:

26th March Fingal Independent
1/3 page article titled ‘Sponsor needed for Peter’s dream garden’ and two photos, one of Peter and one of last years entry ‘No Rubber Soul’. Mentioning the theme for Bloom 2008, winning two ALCI Awards for Brackenstown House and the support from local businesses.

29th May Irish Examiner
½ page photo titled ‘Blooming Brilliant’ on the back page of Peter Donegan within the garden.

30th MayThe Star
half page photograph

30th May Irish Examiner
1/3 page article titled ‘Something for all at Bloom flower show’ and small photo of Peter Donegan and 2 models at the official opening of Bloom.

Radio
5th June Country Mix 106.8

– Peter begin interviewed by Lynsey Dolan with Dominic Loughran

RTE 2FM – with Rick O’Shea, speaking about what to do with the ‘pink boat’ from Bloom 2008

6th June
RTE 2FM – with Rick O’Shea, speaking about the ‘pink boat’ and that Electic Picnic have taken it.

Magazines:

May/ June Issue Garden Heaven Magazine
half page photograph

July 2008 Bloemen en Planten [netherlands]
half page photograph

Autumn 2008 Issue Self Build Magazine
Photo of ‘Pour L’amour de Jeux’ features within Peter Donegan’s article.

October/November 2008 Diarmuid Gavin’s Garden Designs
Photo front and back of the ‘Thank You’ postcard sent after Bloom. And a note from Diarmuid expressing what a nice idea.

Web:

All weblog posts here

to view the pr/ media list for Bloom 2007 click here

and of course there was this…

Bloom 2007 – PR & Media List…

peter donegan landscaping, irish times, bloom garden

Bloom 2007 – ‘No Rubber Soul’

The Morris Minor Car-den story can be read here. My reason for publishing this… I/ we need a sponsor! If you think you can help or know anyone who can – please do not hesitate to contact me.

Click here for Bloom 2008 information.

Many Thanks

peter

Coverage

Television:
17th May RTE ‘Capital D’
To view documentary – see below
7 minute documentary on Peter Donegan and his design ‘No Rubber Soul’, for Bloom 2007

29th May/1st June TV3 ‘Ireland AM’
Full coverage of ‘No Rubber Soul’ and interviews with Peter Donegan over 3 days before the opening of Bloom.

29th May/1st June TV3 ‘News’
Full coverage of ‘No Rubber Soul’ and interviews with Peter Donegan over 3 days before the opening of Bloom.

Australian Television – Garden Gurus
The Gurus Explore Ireland – CD enclosed Broadcast after Bloom

Newspapers:
14th March Fingal Independent
1/3 page article titled ‘Peter set to compete for top garden prize’ and photo.  Mentioning the preparation for Bloom, winning an ALCI Award for a 55 acre garden and the Bord Bia Quality programme Award.

21st March Fingal Independent
½ page article titled ‘Hopes high for bloomin’ great garden show result’ and photo of Peter Donegan, RTE’s Gerry Daly, top designers Paul Martin and Elma Fenton and TV gardener Eugene Higgins.

16th May Fingal Independent
1/3 page article titled ‘Peter has area in bloom’ and photo of Peter Donegan
Mentioning his appearance on RTE’s Capital D, containing full coverage of preparations for Bloom 2007.

26th May The Farmers Journal
Article on Bloom featuring photo of Angela Kennedy, Chairperson, Bord Bia and Gary Graham, Bloom Project Manager, Bord Bia in the ‘No Rubber Soul’ Garden.  Also featuring a mention of Peter Donegan’s exhibit not to be missed on the back page.

30th May The Irish Times
½ page article titled ‘Garden show aims to become an Irish Chelsea’ featured on Page 3 mentioning No Rubber Soul and picture of Peter within the garden.

31st May The Irish Examiner
½ page photo titled ‘Bloomin’ good show’ on back page, of Peter Donegan  under the bonnet of the Morris Minor.

31st May The Irish Examiner – Farming section
½ page article titled ‘Gardeners can showcase at home’ mentioning No Rubber Soul and featuring photo of Angela Kennedy, Chairperson, Bord Bia and Gary Graham, Bloom Project Manager, Bord Bia in the ‘No Rubber Soul’ Garden.

31st May The Evening Herald
¼ page article titled ‘Bloomin’ Marvellous’ mentioning Morris Minor and photo of Angela Kennedy, Chairperson, Bord Bia and Gary Graham, Bloom Project Manager, Bord Bia in the ‘No Rubber Soul’ Garden

31st May The Irish Daily Mail
Full page article titled ‘A graffiti-covered wall, an old car – if this is our answer to Chelsea Flower Show, can we have the question again?’ on Bloom featuring interview with Peter Donegan and photo of Peter adding the last few finishing touches to ‘No Rubber Soul’.

7th June Lá Nua
½ page article titled ‘An Earnáil Ghnó – Fógraíocht’ mentioning that on the opening day of Bloom, 1st June, Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd also received an Award from Foras na Gaeilge joining Barr 50, the top 50 companies to operate through the Irish language.  Also featuring 2 photos of the garden.

13th June Fingal Independent
1/3 page article titled ‘Peter’s Morris is a major success’ including photo.  Mentioning receiving a silver medal in the large garden category and joining Barr 50.

18th August Farmers Journal
½ page article titled ‘Minor to Major via Sergeant’ featuring interview with Peter and mentioning the Award winning garden in Bloom, winning an ALCI Award for a 55 acre garden and two photos of ‘No Rubber Soul’.

Magazines:
24th May-June 14th    Property Gallery- Issue No. 5
2 page article title ‘The art of landscape’ on ‘No Rubber Soul’ including 13 photos and biography of Peter Donegan.

May Issue Moving In
Paragraph mentioning Peter Donegan and details of his design ‘No Rubber Soul’

June/July Issue Irish Homes
Paragraph mentioning Peter Donegan and details of his design ‘No Rubber Soul’

Web

to view the pr/ media list for Bloom 2008 click here

…and of course there was this

listen to me… on 103.2fm

nice decks...

nice decks...

A little after 10am today I will be on Dublin City fm 103.2 on your radio dial – for those of you with a computer click here and click listen. I will be on the Good morning show which you can also email… easy!

Of course the last time I was on the radio was with Rick, but then I was on for very different reasons.

[If you use firefox you may have a few problems – click here for more info].

If you don’t want to listen to me – then this [click here] might make you smile!!