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international garden festival

the garden that time forgot...

the garden that time forgot...

I got a call from a friend of mine on Wednesday asking me to Emo Court in Laois to take a look at a garden festival taking place there. I went but I was dubious, mainly because I thought it was just another [yes another] garden show.

We just had Chelsea, then straight to Bloom where I had my own garden to build. Now The International Garden Festival and it does not stop there?

To explain I must delve a little deeper into my hesitant negativity. With any gardenshow where awards are given, the designer has two choices; They can build an amazing garden or/ and fulfil the brief and get the medal. So often the people that are the paying visitor and the spectators can be forgotten, in that what they take away from the show and the designs they have seen. They may see gardens that are nice and symmetric and gold medalled but, they may not walk away inspired or excited. Big budgets and sponsors have their place and are necessary, but for the man who designs with his soul and borrows and builds with little or nothing, it may result in the most amazing garden that becomes so quickly forgotten as a result of ‘critics’ who feel it safer to mention those of solid gold standard in order to maintain their standards.

This exhibition however is a revelation and a breath of fresh air and I ask that you will love it and embrace it as I did. There are no medals for media critics to follow by and the reward for the designer – building a garden because you are passionate and strive to make a difference. Here I met people who liked this one or that better and the criticisms, witticisms and charms are what you ‘the customer’ takes from each garden.

The other twist is that this is not a weekend event, unlike most this actually runs from June 29th until 23rd September. So why would six French designers, one each from the USA, Australia, Germany and Italy and four Irish designers do this? And a love for what you do was the answer I was always given. Not only does one have to give up the three weeks to build the garden but also the three months to maintain it. Whilst the show is in its infancy, festival director Rosaleen Flanagan really does deserve praise for her efforts and consequently the results of her passion and drive for this festival are there to be seen. Rosaleen has secured a five year minimum deal with the Office of Public Works and Emo Court, proof enough for me. But the main reason I felt her ambition and determination was the attendance and belief in her show by three garden legends. All three; David Fountain, Chelsea gold medallist and the genius behind 4scapes.com; Andy Sturgeon of Chelsea gold fame and Stuart Sharpless owner of tadpole engineering and myself will all most likely build gardens here next year. Potty?! Whilst I did really like all of the gardens in very different ways two gardens, in my opinion, stood out from the crowd.

I have built showgardens myself and one must appreciate that my choices are solely because I saw something very different. As a spectator I felt I would love to introduce one or more elements of that design into my own garden. The first is a/maze: meeting the world designed by Rebecca Massey and Dominic Griffith, two students from UCD. My advice to you before entering this garden is to leave adulthood, mortgage rates and world leaders outside.

This is design in its purest form and I truly love it for that, which makes it so amazing. It combines a maze of international flags hanging like washing from a large family clothes line arena. The flags are so large and set in such a way that one can get lost so easily and then find little gems like a swing or the two oaks that frame the natural backdrop that is the lake of Emo. If you are fortunate enough to meet the two young designers and Dominics Mother at their garden do pass on my best. More importantly remember not to walk but to run through the garden like a child freed from school at summer time. My other favourite by Victor Moreaud and Catherine Charles is The Garden That Time Forgot. One of the many treasures of this gem are the twenty foot plus fishing rods with large red balloons attached to their ends swinging through the Irish gales. This really made me smile and if something makes you that happy then it must be good for the soul. I’ll look forward to meeting you there. Enjoy!

For more information visit The International Garden Festivals Website.

UPDATE 15th October 2007: please see this article

Building a garden in South Africa

garden of hope site...

garden of hope site...

Part of november will see myself and 45 others and some colleagues of mine] travel to south africa to build a garden with the Niall Mellon trust.

NB: just to clarify – the garden was designed and the build fully organised by Dominic Loughran, his garden of hope team & The Niall Mellon Township Trust.

The sponsorship for this will be paid by Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd. Turns out the boss ain’t so bad after all. Further information is available here.

UPDATE:

The garden of hope project team have set up a weblog. If you’d like to donate tools or anything you think might be useful, make yourself famous. [when I say donate tools I dont mean in the Irish sense and post over people you don’t like]. Whilst the sponsorship/ costs for my trip have been paid by the boss I am informed that people can still give away their hard earned dollars free of charge. If your loaded and reading this you probably don’t have a shovel or know how to get it started so go ahead make yourself feel better.

My original post, on my website said 25 people, this one says 45 – I’m reliably informed it’s over 60 people involved. To those of you who have given a few bob on my behalf – It’s so much appreciated, [check comment from Dominic below] I’m very proud. The pic above is the site we will develop in one week.

Slan go foill agus go raibh míle maith agaibh.

peter

no rubber – soul [m’anam gan rubar]

no-rubber-soul-car-garden-peter-donegan-garden design no-rubber-soul-car-garden-peter-donegan landscaping ltd no-rubber-soul-car-garden-peter-donegan silver medal

no-rubber-soul-car-garden-peter-donegan-show garden no-rubber-soul-car-garden-bloom in the park peer-donegan-morris minor car garden

no-rubber-soul-award-garden peter donegan no rubber soul no-rubber-soul-car-garden-peter-donegan

Peter Donegans garden design ‘No Rubber- Soul’ won silver in the large garden category in the inaugural year of Bloom in the Phoenix Park Friday 1st June 2007. During the 20 day deadline over 1,500 plants; 50 square metres of rolled lawn; 4 tonne of recycled compost; 5 tonnes of recycled bark chippings; 6 tonnes of recycled tree stumps one 1965 morris minor and an outdoor flat screen television.

Despite the rainfall over the bank holiday weekend over 50,000 people still flocked to see the unsponsored garden. No decking, no paving, no additives or preservatives…. Imagine sitting within two thirds of a 1965 Morris Minor, watching the television, smokes plumes through the front grill of your car and you sit back and watch nature and plant life grow around you. This is the garden that has no rubber but lots of soul. Built from 100% recycled and/ or recyclable products. Take a trip back to 1965 when men used shovels and gardens had soul.

Built to commemorate the many Irish men with initially, great intentions who promise to restore and rebuild projects but sometimes are never fully completed; it has been slightly adapted to via audio visual equipment to become an entertainment area of sorts and it should give the appearance that whilst unwillingly forgotten, the life of the garden continued to flourish around it.

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Donegan Landscaping Ltd joins Barr 50

barr 50 award

barr 50 award

At The Four Seasons Hotel on June 1st 2007, in conjunction with Price Waterhouse Cooper and Forais na Gaeilge Peter Donegan MI Hort and Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd joined Barr 50, the top 50 companies to operate through the Irish language.

The awards recognize those who have made efforts in their industry to use the Irish language to improve their business.

After making the website bilingual, initially, the company has slowly adjusted selections of his companies operations ‘as gaeilge’ and bilingual.

On receiving the award Peter Donegan noted, ‘We didn’t do anything catastrophic, we just made an effort through Irish. It is hoped that our customers will applaud this award and that our future efforts with Forais na Gaeilge will prove as successful.’

Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd is the first horticultural related company to join the elite top fifty.

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national award for donegan landscaping

Noel Smith, Peter Donegan & Aidan Cotter

Noel Smith, Peter Donegan & Aidan Cotter

February 2006 saw Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd receive a national award in recognition of standards achieved under the Landscape Quality Programme.

This the Donegan Landscapings second National award since October 2006 and the Donegan Landscaping team are one of only ten landscape & design companies in Ireland to have achieved the award.

The Award of Merit was presented to Peter Donegan MD of Donegan Landscaping Ltd by Mr Brendan Smith, Minister for Horticulture and Food and Aidan Cotter CEO Bord Bia on Friday 2nd February at Citywest Hotel.

The award is the result of more than four years of hard work through a stringently audited programme that was designed to raise standards within the landscape industry and increase customer confidence by rewarding companies who operate an awarded quality system through best practice and at the highest standards possible to this sector of the horticultural industry.

On winning the award Peter Donegan said: “We as a team are delighted to win this award, Donegan Landscaping has been in business six years and having won a national award for our landscape and design in October ’06 this now is recognition that a quality system is in place behind the scenes as well and now recognises the staff who work so hard to make each and every design and landscape project possible. ”

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