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Irish Gardening Online…?

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I remember reading an article posted online by good friend and nursery man Pat Fitzgerald. It was about trying to promote the gardening industry. Here’s a little taster of what Pat had to say….

…we collect last years good condition gardening magazines and make some beneficial use of them instead of hoarding them. Why not distribute these magazines into as many hair dressers, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, nail bars, beauty salon waiting rooms as will be agreeable to accept them…

Before I go any further, Pat does say himself that it is…

a possibly nutty, naive or optimistic idea

I was talking about this over the weekend with some friends of mine who work in the media industry. It wasn’t that we were laughing or being disrespectful in any way to Pat or the idea… far from it. In fact the point that seemed to be made was more is this as good as it gets for an industry that I have another 30 years odd to work in. I shall rephrase…. Is this what the amenity horticultural sector is resigned to in order to promote itself…. I know for sure the farming industry would never be seen even suggesting this nor the building federation…. isn’t that right Tom Parlon ?

I am fully aware that there exists ‘industry bodies’ but whether they will ever chose to form an opinion and be perceived as industry leaders is possibly a land very far away from here. I guess in that, what I am trying to say it that my next door neighbour could not name me one garden related association…. I think that’s a fair point.

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To there I suppose one could turn to government bodies…. but the green party aren’t really a green party anymore and being that I have never received even two bits of encouragement by way of payment acknowledgement for my role in online green sector….. I am beginning to wonder who’s the promoter of who and what on earth I am doing this for. But, like I said before it’s not like I get paid to write this Irish Green Blog. But then again, it was never about the money.

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I hear friends of mine calling their children the facebook generation…. I saw myself last week reading a blog post on generating electricity I also found myself reading some gardening articles on different things to try out in the garden. There are literally blogs to cover every subject available…. but very few in Ireland on green related matters. There are people who have set up websites that sell gardening related products. A quick google search will show just how many…. But that said I still prefer the peronal touch. I also know that every gardener in the country can supply me with plants and drop out just to make sure they’re doing alright after the transaction. I also like to know a person before I buy anything… but again thats just me.

promoting....

But with very few Irish television programmes dedicated to gardening [if at all any] on the production line and what seems like also a few less publications [particularly magazines] dedicated to the horticultural industry I guess I am beginning to wonder if the follow on effect will be that of a demise or at least a fall in interest in the great outdoors. Being honest, not even I can get a gig writing about gardens weekly… or monthly for that matter.

On the flip side… it is very easy to point fingers. And this is not about figuring out who to blame. It is the realisation that something should be done. Needs to be done. Has to be done. And now.

When I look at the online side of things I see very few Irish gardeners with an online presence. I see very few weblogs. I see very little of a presence on even something so huge such as twitter. Recently I found it impossible to come up with 20 Irish green people using the tool [properly or at all]. It’s not like I keep it a secret. I have posted and explained on every online tool I use and I even publish my statistics.

the stone age...

Considering it is the year 2010…. one would think with the upcoming Irish Blog Awards that it would be possible to have a green/ eco/ gardening category….? I think I may know of four weblogs that could enter… but nothing more. Put in that context what can I say.

I’d like to think that the various efforts such as the garden guest sessions and of more recent times the garden group would/ could and did stir the interest a little. It seems to…. surprising?

The reality is I will continue to do my instructional gardening videos and posts. I’ll continue to do so of my own time and money. I’d like to think Irish garden related companies gave me some support… To put that in context…. Recently I could not get a company to send me some products for review – although they did samples…. just not for review??? I explained I would buy it in the shop and review it anyway [ 🙄 or do I use this one 😆 ]. which is what I have done to date. Maybe some feel I may actually be honest or that its better not to have it mentioned, photographed and video’d…? And for the record I have never received any products for free for this blog. Not even a book. Not a complaint. Just so you know.

The question that remains is…. should the Irish Horticultural Industry invest all of the resources available to it and go place those magazines in the doctors surgery?

where do we go from here....?

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Trim, Co. Meath To Go Carbon Neutral….?

I got a note on Monday from a good mate Darragh Doyle. He’d suggested that another [nice] guy [and genius photographer] Danny O Brien talk to me. He put me in touch with Martin Tighe who then put me in touch with another photo genius Enda Casey.

So why am I noting all of these people… well imagine this conversation

P: Hiya Danny, Peter Donegan here, Darragh asked me to give you a call…
D: Great stuff Peter yeah… we’ve a rock festival gig on in Trim… with some great bands like The Magic Numbers
P: But… eh…. Danny…
D: Yeah and its in the Trim GAA hall…
P: What the f… eh… Danny…
D: …..And yeah basically David Mc Williams will be there
P: Hey! Danny…..!
D: yeah…?
P: What are you doing on the phone to me…?
D: Oh well…. you know the Copenhagen 2020 climate change conference….
P: what on….
D: well we want Trim to go carbon neutral by 2025
P: Holy fock [silence] is this some sort of focking wind up….
D: [silence…..] no mate, very serious…. it’s on this Friday… can you drop down… in fact i’ll get Martin to call you…. cheers.
P: who….?
D: [silence] ………………laters

5 minutes later my phone rings…. it’s Martin

M: hiya Peter, yeah got your details from Danny so we’ll see you Friday…?
P: yeah… listen Martin… is this a focking prank call…
M: no. its serious stuff. We’ve got Ham Sandwich and The Magic Numbers and David…
P: …..no Martin… the carbon neutral thing is it serious…
M: Jesus yeah. Sure why not… we’ve got great support locally and…..
P: …..so you’re a concert promoter with a GAA hall and….
M: no…. I’m a chemist by trade and I work in trinity college…
P: what the faaaaaaaaaaaaaawk……… Martin? Martin?
M: listen my phones gonna go dead i’ll get Enda to give you a call…..
P: who the what……………….. [line is cut……………]

But turns out Martin and his possé are serious. He explains that this is a not for profit gig. Although he is responsible personally if it loses money. He tells me the GAA hall will take several hundred people and they’ve literally gone all out…. He’s starting to remind me of the dreams I had that almost lost me literally everything. I’ve called him a mentalist twice already and this is my third time…. And it was at this point that I now understood why so many people had signed themselves up to help this guy out…. 

As I said over on Culch.ie

Ever heard of the the Mahons Carbon-Neutral Stage…? Mahons [as a btw] are the local waste recycling business who are the main sponsors of the event. Blah, blah, blah sponsors etc you say….? When a young man decides to put on a rock gig…. Goes knocking on doors and is [in my experience anyway – with all the odd ball stuff I’ve done I would know] told to get stuffed supported by the local business…. they deserve a standing ovation. Fact. And if the organiser[s] is gonna make a loss…. then once again, that would be my experience, I would know, especially with all the odd ball stuff that I have done…. ;) Then fair plays to The Mahon family and The Priory Inn [a great music venue and decent pint by the way] and also emission Zero.

Want to know more….. I certainly do. Wouldn’t it be simpler if they could just forward me on the press release. I’d write a blog post. Job done. But then….. whats the fun in that. Like the Irish Conker Championships…. I’m in. See you there…..

So what else is there on – apart from transport Minister Noel Dempsey….. ? Noel Forking Dempsey…..? In saying that, I’d much rather Noel than the green party….? Who I guess aren’t going. They could do with the PR. In which case fair play Noel for turning up.   

  • Opening Ceremonies: Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th at 3.30pm. Admission Free.
  • David McWilliams: Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th at 5.00pm. Admission Free.
  • Launch Concert: (The Magic Numbers, Ham Sandwich) Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th – Doors open 6.30pm. Tickets €20 Euro from www.tickets.ie
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collision course…

The title might suggest I went head to head with some pot plants or crashed into a tree that was doing ’70 down the motorway… Essentially, this has nothing to do with ‘horticulture’. But it does. Sometimes I do greener things that are more relevent to my business. But in my life, my hobby nee my passion leads me to go that extra stretch – because I want to. So why was I a part of a bunch of ‘bloggers’ going to meet a group of PR people?

See, PR wants to know how to get bloggers to talk about their shit. They’re used to dealing with journalists and media kinds who do that for a living, one of the parts of which is dealing with PR-types. It’s a paying job for journos, thus they have to deal with PR.

I asked myself that on the way. Via Mulley Comms – here‘s what I knew. I thought Ricks post explained it well [quotes above & below]. But from my point of view it was very much a case of press releases v spam; billable hours v spare time; important client v i simply love doing this and i have to v simply passionate about this.

They’ve taken this model and started it with us (blogger head on). But see, we do this because we like it, are passionate about it. We’re amateurs. And thus we don’t have to deal with PR if we don’t want to.

From a personal point of view. I don’t get paid to write blog posts. And for the record it doesn’t increase sales. I simply love what I do. And, I love to write. Bopp the two together and I am that [very simply] content 🙂

The flip side is that whilst sending me [blog writer] a press release is fine… it is more how it is done. I do write about gardening and horticulture professionally for publications [job offers..?!]. But the subject is essentially my editors choice. It is not my magazine, but more often I will get paid. In the context of this weblog. It is solely mine and my free time and I simply hope that you love it as much as I do.

Lexia’s case example’s hit the nail right on the head. Invited [free] to the young scientists exhibition it was written about. The alternate was… when the green party start spamming… 🙁 written about!

I find life is generally pretty good once you love what you do. I do. And I, along with so many others, wear my heart on my sleeve. But sometimes, it shouldn’t always be about ‘show me the money’. So how does one get ‘you to write about things I want you to…’ hello is a great start..

After some slight turbulence, the end gist seemed to be that…. Bloggers can’t be bought. But you can give gestures 😉 and if you want ‘bloggers’ to write about your product, service, event or company…. the route to take is to invite the group along; have a chat, demonstrate it and engage the people who will ultimately do the intended PR exercise for you. Once again, this post notes that already.

Serious matters aside. O’Donoghues was the intended after venue and I got to meet some legends [yes you all are.. ] that I had not met before in Mr Phelan and Mr Seroussi and also Roger Galligan and Alan Costello. A note of thanks should also go to Damien Mulley, Lexia and Edelman PR.

Other articles on this evening: Thomas Brunkards review, Alastair McDermott, Eoin kennedy. This article by Piaras Kelly, lovely to meet you Sir, shall be noted as recommended [ty alastair].

UPDATE: thursday 5th March

one thing that did for sure come from the pr v blogger collision course meet up was the ‘PR thursday garden guest sessions‘  – if you you would like to know more about them –  click here and enjoy.