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Bloom 2010 – reviewed

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If you did read my post on Thursday, you would have got my recommendations for Bloom In The Park 2010. And so I went along again on Sunday and Monday.

The weather was cracking for most of Bloom, but the last two days meant the umbrella’s had to come out. But then, this is Ireland… That said, I did notice in contrast to Blooms first year a massive difference in the ‘dealing with Irish weather‘ facilities around the festival. Well done behind the scenes team.

The layout did change slightly to the main area outside the show gardens and for some I wondered why they had a prime pitch, with almost little or no relevance to horticulture. It was however a little easier to navigate than the year previous so maybe there’s method behind the decision. From a visitors perspective it was one I was glad of.

I did like the food area and the tasting and it was nice to see the forgotten crafts speaking taking place. I particularly enjoyed the Burren Smokehouse talk. I Never really knew what went into making a good smoked salmon. I do now. As a by the way, they sold out of every single piece of fish by 4pm on Monday.

To the right of that were some crafted outdoor displays which I felt delivered a nice message. Of note was the Wicklow Educate Together School Tin Man and the display for oil versus renewable energy. This replaced last years Obama replica vegetable garden. Very refreshing.

As always I don’t really like to comment on the gardens, as I’ve built and designed, been awarded medals and not…. That said I do recommend you read this post on building a show garden. It’s not easy 😉 I think I’m personally still suffering the aftermath of 2 years without a sponsor. Anyhow, you can comment, I won’t, but I will say the layout was good and quite relaxing walking around. Well done to all the sponsors and gardeners.

I didn’t make it to taste the crafted beers… but I did get to hear some of the bands in that area and it was great to see on Monday evening families dancing in the rain to a chorus of ‘Hello Mary Lou‘. Next door, the crafts area was nice and open and left places for people to sit and picnic. I also like the arts and crafts dotted throughout and the gentlemen singing acapella were amazing.

I thought the fact that speakers like Shawna Coronado from the U.S. were introduced was a great idea – I also believe her talks went down extremely well. Well done Shawna. [Also: my interview with Shawna Coronado]

There were suggestions that the food was well priced. On a different note, phone coverage and in particular internet phone coverage was poor. This I heard from too many people and from a meeting up point of view I only found afterwards that they’d been there. It also meant I couldn’t do live video’s and picture posting.

From speaking with Aidan Cotter and some of the Bord Bia team I believe numbers were up on last year which is great to hear. Aidan also queried whether I was returning to Bloom 2011 to build another show garden, with a twist difference…. I meant to ask him if there’s a chance of me getting partnered with a sponsor 😉

Overall, some say the direction has changed. Some say the garden judges were a little tougher this year. Others simply say Bloom 2010 has come along way in, what one should not forget, is just 4 years. All in all, I personally and sincerely enjoyed the show. Whether I go back in 2011 as a visitor or as a designer is a question I’ll need to answer soon. Either way, you will see me there.

Well done to all involved. Take a bow and when you find the time a well earned rest.

I’ll have some video’s and information to go up this week. You can also view my other images from Bloom 2010. I personally love this picture taken by my good friend Stephen 😉

What do you think….?


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2009 A Good Year ….?

I did do a review of the year 2008. But it’s onwards and upward and whilst we head into 2010… here’s a look back on the last 12 months of 2009.

*If I missed or forgot something or someone – just hollar and I will ammend as soon as possible 😉

  • December was kicked off with the Carbon Neutral Revolution and Trim 2025

Whilst I flicked through my diary and realised just how much I actually had done… it should be noted that none of this would make any sense without someone to share the stories, the laughter and equally the tears with. I am forever greatful to the so many great friends and people I have met along this years road. Thank you. 🙂

Did I enjoy it? Every second. Don’t get me wrong… no road is an easy an easy one especially when I work in an industry that is so weather dependant and I am self employed. That is not a complaint…. more an additional reason to appreciate the people who stand tall by my side when time are tougher and there too when we laugh our socks off.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Nollaig Shona duit. Slán agus beannacht.

Thank you again, for everything.

*View the statistics for Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog

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kilkenny Castle Rose Garden & Park

On Monday the 26th October 2009 I went to visit Kilkenny Castle Rose Park & Gardens. I went under the recommendation of my good friend Pat Fitzgerald.

As I walked up towards the castle I was bemused at the amount of brand spanking smooth polished granite that adorned such a vast are[n]a, complete with mirror polished steel against this ancient backdrop of the beautiful castle…. who on Gods earth decided on this…? such a shame. And to those who did this… you should be ashamed.

That out of my system. It was the gardens I went to see.Admission is free. The grounds are very well maintained.The sight of new tree planting schemes is to be applauded and admired. I really do love this park… The hills of grass so high in parts that one couldn’t see over the far side. The wooded areas were left with stacks of wood [brilliant for wildlife]underneath the canopy of wooded leaf areas. The leaves adorned some of the footpaths but not all. There are so many options when walking here… the poem ‘the road less travelled’ really does come to mind. The walkway by the waters edge is superb, so romantic, such a break from the norm…

It really is so very well done.  The grounds staff deserve a standing ovation. I could have stayed here all day….

The bad bit…. the rose garden was closed off. I attempted to sneak in under the advice of two local ladies…. but I got caught and was chucked out 😉 So this now becomes a review of Kilkenny Castle Park…

Go there and visit. Take your time. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Watch out for the such beautiful secluded seating areas. Take your time and enjoy. This is up there with the best of them.

More images of kilkenny castle gardens can be viewed here

dubh linn garden

Nestled in behind Dublin Castle, just off Dame Street [palace st. to be exact] is one of the finest gardens I have ever entered in my life. You know when you just get that ‘feeling groovy’ kind of a nice feel….? That’s exactly what I got…

Only one problem…. there is little to zero information available on the **garden*** [Not the Castle…. the garden] to be found on the web….?

It drove me a little demented to be quite honest. Mainly as I was so impressed. But I was in luck on my day there. A very kind man on his lunch break who worked in the neighbouring Chester Beatty Library noticed my confusion and explained the cobbled lawns were ‘eels’; the fact that the glass balls are the eyes and that it was based on a celtic mythology design… 😉

It is also [he explained] where the river dodder and the river liffey met – this meeting is what created a black pool – traslated into Irish one gets Dubh Linn. And it is from this that Dublin got its original name. It is also the site upon which the garden sits today.

I didn’t stop my ‘research’ there, I rang the very helpful Margaret Gormley of the OPW. Margaret is an amazing lady that I know from spending too much time in the Phoenix Park making gardens;) Turns out the gardens were designed by a lady called Ana Dolan, who also works with the OPW [I did try to get in touch with Ana…].The plaques that are brimmed with names that I noticed on the walls…they’re the names of all of the people who took part in The Special Olympics; the sculpt being the emblem of. It is also believed that the gardens are approximately 15 years old. [Thank Margaret!]

On the 15th November 2004 the gardens received  The Best Landscaped Open Space Award by The Tidy Towns unit of The Dept of Environment, Heritage & Local Government….

The other amazing fact of note is that the lawn is best viewed from the State apartments or… a helicopter. The lawn doubles as a landing pad for those who can!

If you are planning to visit, The Chester Beatty Library is a must. The coffee shop, The Silk Road Café does ‘real’ really good coffee and cakes and personally I even like the gift shop. Do be careful on planning a day there and ring in advance if you must as it may be closed for official state business.

My 3 pin plug type frustrations aside, the garden is serenity at its finest. Go there. Enjoy! Absolutely amazing.

*if I do receive any further info I will update here

UPDATE 1st July ’09:

I received an email from Denis Mc Carthy of Dublin Castle with this information ‘copied from an OPW publication Dublin Castle Art by Róisín Kennedy.’

** I really do appreciate Denis getting back to me but – Once again it’s a pity it is not available online for the world [wide web] to see [and not in PDF format btw please ‘if’ it is]

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update #2 1st July ’09:

this update comes courtesy of Keith Nolan – as keith explained he eventually goes into that garden – that said the information is amazing. Thanks Keith 😉

Update 2nd July ’09:

and this beautiful overview of the lawns taken by Niamh. Thanks Niamh 😉

dubh-linn-garden courtesy niamh smith

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Osnabruck Botanical Gardens [botanischer garten], Germany

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In 1984 The Botanical Gardens of Osnabruck were born. To celebrate the gardens 25th anniversary I met with Curator Dr Nikolai Friesen [saturday 6th June] to find out a little more about this young yet amazing horticultural gem of north Germany

Opened in 1984 the 8.6 hectare site includes 5.6 of which were formerly a quarry. Similar to other botanical gardens, this one also includes the Osnabruck Horticultural College and also what is known as the ‘green school’ [grune schule] from where courses are held and run.

It is estimated that 70,000 visitors pass through the gates every year. Not bad for such young gardens but what is more amazing is whilst I was there on a Saturday, 4 weddings were to take place, an art exhibition and a butterfly exhibition! A great way to attract new visitors…

The truth is that some botanical gardens, to the non plant/ botanical purist, can be quiet boring… Not in this case! It does follow ‘the rules’. But it is young and that makes it a little different giving it almost an edge on some of the [so many] others I have been to.

The people were amazing, the grounds were superb from the very helpful Jan Eickmann employed by the town right down to Ingeberg who works in the coffee shop voluntarily [her husband is also a volunteer] and makes great coffee 😉 Thank you!

Would I return? In the morning. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. 5/5.

Osnabruck is an amazing town brimming with culture on my way through the alt-stadt [old town] I the honour to meet Eduard from Old Time Jazz. They were simply doing what they love the most… enjoy!

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