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the country fair?

the rub of the green

the rub of the green...

A polite debacle arose recently were a landscape architect, a contractor and a sub contractor agreed to work together for the common benefit of a client. Not much new there and a normal sounding relationship prior to the start of any garden build. What resulted was a mild tarnish and financial loss on the name of the landscape contractor because the firm employed to be the intermediary – the landscape designer, employed not only to design but also to ensure that both client and main contractor were protected financially – did not.

a fair policy?The main contractor, of good standing and rapport, naturally oversaw all of the work, took on the responsibility of the extra costs and the potential risk of added costs should any tasks have gone even mildly askew in the clients or architects eyes. From a garden point of view one would be very impressed with the end result. In this case the end result was not all it seemed.
The couturier and the tertiary contractor became acquainted and the overall costs which allowed for clients extras and mishaps were paid directly to the subcontractor from the main contractors original costings. As advised to the client. Of course it’s not like I haven’t been here myself – but then, in business one learns very fast!

press me at any timeOn a larger scale this happens so regular within the construction industry where the middle man is deemed financially responsible and the contractor more often can do little but bite nails. ‘Sometimes’ it seems some of the finest garden builders in this country result in a negative financial situation through no fault of their own and are very much helpless when crossing the finish line as contract law becomes can you afford to wait and/ or can you afford to take ‘us’ on.

I really empathise and sympathise with my learned colleague and as explained to me the client can only take advice from his closest aide, the design guru. In this situation the client would have known no better than as advised to him and to pay monies down as he did. Should it have been ethically possible to approach this man and whisper in his ear then things may have been different, but it is not my position. However, the finest and most talented horticulturists and garden that was built aside I can only hope that this article allows the next garden contract run a little smoother [behind the scenes] as a result and that the honest contractors may take precedence in this changing world we live in.

a beautiful garden

yet still a beautiful garden...

proud of ‘your’ garden?

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garden show preparation are in full swing; The trees are in bud, almost trying into leaf; the daffs have sprouted and almost all in flower. The season is literally almost urging itself to burst into full bloom.

Such varied enquiries come into my office. But, even with our website [thanks Patrick] usually it’s what type of work do we do? Landscaping… slightly vague one may say… What type of gardens do ‘we’ take on? potentially, mildly pompous I could say…

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The truth is I only employ qualified horticulturists. And in my opinion intelligence in horticultural understanding and planning is everything. For the great people I work with I refer to Freud’s comment of Da Vinci ‘that like most man of genius he needed constantly to occupy his mind’. My point? As long as I can be proud, stand tall and with my hand on my heart say The Donegan Landscaping and Design team created each and every of these gardens, to the highest standard… then we’ve taken on the right project. Is that wrong, pompous, arrogant or suggestive of a noticeable mass increase of circumfrance/ radius of ones cranium? Not at all. The ethos is that I am very proud of the gardens we build, the standards achieved and the clients we work with.

Because we build great gardens does that mean we are expensive? That depends I suppose. Like building a house extension versus a hotel and whether from straw or gold bullion, the choices and cost for a garden build and design also reflect time and materials. Naturally. If the requirements, made of time and materials, do not equal ones budget, then possibly ammendments to choice and the amount of need to be made.

peter donegan

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That it may be a costly sum rather than do I want too much is logic. But in saying that some choose to ask what I can get for my budget whilst having their own ideas. Others choose to decide what they want and put a price after each item like a shopping list and decide what they can have based on what they can afford. Either or like anything in life it is all relative.

The question is will you be proud of your garden when it is complete? We always are. Maybe the cliché ‘quality rather than quantity has relevance here’.

All that aside, [as the favourite of Uncles!] I promised my niece Lilly that I put a pic of her in one of my posts. So here she is….. I’ll make a gardener out of you yet!

Slán go foill

peter

summer holidays… this christmas!

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If you ever want a wedding in the summertime, marry Santa… but never a horticulturist! This Christmas our summer holidays start December 29th and we return Wednesday 16th January.

Sounds like a long holiday but this is the first time the team [and I] have had a chance to sit down since this time last year! You can also consider yourself lucky my photos are usually of gardens! Whatever your plans are – enjoy your holidays and I’ll see you in the new year.

Slán, beannachtaí na Nollaig agus na athbhliana agus go raibh míle maith agaibh.

making [it] your business [to be] a little more green

planters

planters

Can you imagine if every shop front made this amount of effort to the front of their business? Wouldn’t Dublin be that little more beautiful. With construction work, traffic and all of the usual razamataz which might not inspire excitement in your day – what an effect it would have!

We did these planters for Itsa4 restaurant a couple of months ago and credit where it is due, it’s not only looks great, but it is really relaxing to sit outside and have some [really good] coffee. They also did itsabagel. Worth a mention? You better believe it! A decision was made to go the extra green mile and as I said … if the girls of ‘itsA…’ can inspire the rest of Dublin to do something similar then yes, very well worth it.

hedges – formal or informal

formal

formal

 If cutting nee maintaining fine lines of pristine planting isn’t for you then a formal hedge is not what you want. If however you like trimming or cutting from time to time and don’t mind ‘organised chaos’ then maybe you do! But a hedge as we [becoming elder] Irish know it, is something that requires looking after one sunny Saturday per year or so.

For the record and for clarity in this discussion please note the dictionary reference and definition: hedge n 1 a row of shrubs or bushes forming a boundary [source Collins English Dictionary]

informal...

informal...

If you do follow the dictionary (that I am so fond of reading) translation, then the logroll etched license interpretation that we inherited from the 1980’s becomes something delightfully and excitingly different. The science is that the internodal distance [distance between each set of buds] doesn’t really allow the plant to become ‘formal’ and so informality reigns though anti-symetric uneveness.

In theory if the correct horticultural decisions are made pre-planting then those hedge cutting fathers days can be spent on the golf course or playing croquet rather than bringing green waste to landfill. To clarify, all plants require some maintenance – just not as much, as often or as costly of your time or someone elses. In this day and age they can be bought in as established or mature plants. The two informal hedges above are one year old – to its new owners.