Plants, Trees and Shrubs


Whether you are building your own garden and have a list of plants in mind or simply recreating a part of your garden and require only the finest plants sourced and selected specifically for your home.

From instant mature trees, hedges or shrubs to high impact specimen plants, I source only from the very best nurseries in Ireland selecting by hand each individual plant to suit your garden, no matter what type of space that may be.

From plants, trees and shrubs to the additional products required for the complete project, to the layout of your planting or to where you may wish to be involved in every element and require more a personal guide when shopping and selecting.

  • Planters and baskets, edible or pretty and flowering.
  • Plants or a tree or trees for a particular area
  • an install of an instant green space for your home or office, business or pleasure.
  • bulbs or trees and flowering shrubs to suit the seasons

If you would like to talk with me about sourcing plants or products, plant advice or a shopping guide as always the coffee pot is always on the brew or you can contact me via the following options.

  • by email info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com
  • via this website: click the contact page
  • call mobile – o876594688

Read more about Peter Donegan

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Irish Gardening Books and Shops


As one can gather… I have quite a vast and varied gardening book collection. But recently I have found it quite extremely difficult to buy anything that could be considered original. Even more difficult than that is to find anything at all original and Irish.

I did email hughes and hughes. I also emailed easons. For those outside of Ireland they are probably Irelands biggest retailers of books. I queried who selected the books for the gardening section…. it was some time ago now but I got no answer.

Once again, I was in Waterstones [not the most Irish] book shop on Dawson Street. Yes folks, when I’m not scouring the aisles looking for nouveau paraphernalia I am looking for new reading material. 😉 Waterstones deserve massive applause. They don’t know me. I don’t know them…. but we have more books in common than other book shop in Ireland.

A lot of them are specialist, or coffee table style books – but a higher than others percentage are Irish, written and referenced.


There are two main issues. Or two things I look for when choosing a book. The first is, is the book of any use or is it just a rehash of something that has already existed. Most recently, you will find that has appeared in the ‘organic’ or ‘grow your own’ department. Formerly it was simply called growing fruit and vegetables. But en vogue labelling obviously sells.

The second issue, after I narrow it down to a book I like is, as I can gather, is that most books are published for the UK market. That’s absolutely fine. But when it comes to the reference bit at the back… they are all UK companies. If for example it is to do with recycling…. it makes the book of very little use.


I know there are great books out there. I know there are great independent book stores out there. I am not all wishing to knock here. I am I suppose hoping it may [at the very least] improve the quality of what is for sale on the market at this moment in time. To those who don’t have grandiose garden book collections… it’s very akin, to analogise, to only being able to buy Stock, Aitken and Waterman music.

Whilst I am on the subject, there are always those a little more amazing and unique at their job…. If you do know one of them… go ahead and give them a mention.

If this post makes a difference, a publishing house wishes for me to review their garden books… a book shop wishes to put their message out in response to this – I am more than happy to do so. From this maybe we will all gain…. All you have to do is contact me.

Below is Waterstones gardening section….


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The Real Pumpkin Farm…



I had written an article last year on growing pumpkins from seed [check out the comments for ] and it seems many of you are on the hunt for pumpkins…. particularly pumpkin farms.

I did try and I did put the S.O.S out there for you. But there was very little response. If you know of anyone – leave a comment & make them famous 😉 But I did ring Natasha in Sonairte [click here], a place I have visited in Co. Meath [ just past balbriggan] many times. The mother of all gig for kids has to be the pumpkin carving course….. It’s times like this even I wish I had children 😉

Natasha sent me this email:

Pumpkins are such cheerful bumps in the garden aren’t they?  The perfect colour to remind us which season we are in. Growing up in Australia, one of my fav winter dishes was pumpkin soup and you can’t beat roast pumpkin sprinkled with rosemary, thyme and salt.

News just in!! I have been out in the garden just this afternoon, chatting to the gardeners. They tell me that due to the inclement weather this year, our stocks are depleted, and everything has now been harvested! But don’t worry, there are still some left including some big rounded beauties! They are a bit pricier than what you would buy in other shops, not for growing up organic, but because they should keep for several months.

Sonairte’s pumpkins and our other organic produce and plants can be found at the Dublin Food Coop every Saturday, 9.30-4pm. Its an indoor market, Newmarket Square just off the Combe, Dublin 8. Here you will find fantastic organic food products including wines, breads, cheeses, dry goods and good coffee. The market has a lovely, friendly atmosphere and you can by lunch and read the papers at your leisure. Alternatively pop into Sonairte itself and visit our ecoshop. We are on the Laytown Road just off Meaths coastline! Only 40 minutes from Dublin, there’s a bus service stopping right outside. Most convenient, especially if you’re carrying a pumpkin! The ecoshop, café and river walk are open 10.30 – 5pm wednesday to sunday

FYI, Sonairte hosts a Pumpkin Carving workshop, for adults and children. Its next Friday 30th Oct, Time: 11 -1pm, Cost: 20€ (1 adult, 1 child,1 pumpkin!).

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing their own veg and fruit, here are the details of other courses.

Thanks Peter for your time. If readers have any organic gardening queries, they can feel free to give us a buzz.





Other sonairte courses this year:


With Kathy Marsh. A complete course on fruit growing for amateurs, covering choosing, planting, pruning and propagating.

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10- 4pm Cost: €120 or €75/ day (incl. lunch)


With Bob Wilson (CELT). Covering basic techniques from foundation to capping. Also corners, steps, stiles, retaining walls and garden features and introduction to the use of lime mortar. Bring strong boots and rainwear .

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10am – 5pm. Cost: €150 (incl. lunch)


Course tutors Kathy Marsh and Geraldine O’Toole. A one day course at an affordable price to get you started on producing tasty, cheap and nutritious organic vegetables in even the smallest garden

Date: Saturday November 14th. Time: 10am – 4pm. Cost: €35.

*Please note that lunch is not provided. Our cafe will be open or you can bring your own and eat it at our garden picnic tables. All our courses can be viewed on our website. For more information and to book: Call 0419827572, e-mail:, website:

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get rid of your bin – book review



I bought this book about 4 weeks ago. It is great value for money and cost me just €8.99.

Being really honest it is one of the greatest little books I have ever purchased. I have carried it with me everywhere since I bought it. The reason why is quite simple as almost all books like this sold in Ireland all refer to mainland UK within the directory of contacts [ie. pointless in Ireland]

I rang Féidhlim and had a chat with him. Nice guy. A gentleman in fact. I queried the logic. The factual… and why nobody had written about this before, in Ireland.

Getting rid of your bin is possible… but as Feidhlim explains… baby steps and also better that one does a little rather than nothing at all. Brilliant stuff. Love this. More of it please. Full marks 5/5.

If you’d like a little further insight into Feidhlim… ? Here’s the interview I did with him. Thanks Feidhlim. 😉


1]i used to grow plants under my bed. you woke up one morning and thought ‘i wanna write a book….’

The thought of writing the book only came when the bulk of the material was already written. There was a group of us in West Cork preparing notes for a Sustainable Architecture course, basically a Low Impact, Low Cost course for people on the dole wanting to build their own homes. The Carbery Housing Association, who organised the course, got to the point of getting FETAC approval and running the first couple of lectures, but the number of participants wasn’t enough to keep it going. The long and short of it was that the course was postponed for the foreseeable future. There was a big pile of waste management notes on my desk, so I took it from there really.

2] when i was 24 i set up my own business. very different to the hobby. most people laughed. how did you go from i think i’d like to – to putting everything in the air.

Went I was about fourteen I collected my first publishers’ refusal letter for a book I wrote and illustrated myself. I filed it away for future reference and only found it again recently when the same publishers sent me the first printed copies of “Get Rid of Your Bin”. The intervening twenty years were spent doing all the other stuff that gets in the way of life; school, college, setting up an environmental consultancy business and all that sort of thing. Even though the bulk of the material had been prepared for the course, it took a surprisingly long time to get it to the point of being able to submit it for publication, and then longer still to polish it up for the bookshop shelves. Still, it was very satisfying to hold the finished book in my hands for the first time and know that a life-long ambition had been realised.

3]who got the first copy of your first book & for how much

The very first copy went to my wife, Elinor, and my daughters, Susie and Kate.

4]have you ever thought – i’ve made it. this is *the* one. when?

Do you know, I don’t usually apply that thought to life. With environmental consultancy work I have been designing and planting constructed wetlands and reed beds for 13 years, and recently branched out into Edible Landscaping. It is really satisfying to finish a job and stand back to admire it before packing up for the day. But there is always the next housing estate to fill with edible trees and bushes, or the next wetland wastewater treatment system to put in. Yes, it is nice to know that a stream is well protected from pollution as a result of a new constructed wetland system.

The closest I have come to that feeling of having made it at work was starting the Garden of Eden Projects as a community initiative. The first one started as a project in the Quaker Meeting House in Cork city, and from that I was offered a chance to propose an edible landscaping layout for a new apartment development. When I got the contract there was a brief feeling of elation, that yes, this was what I wanted to be doing. But that soon got covered over with the task of getting the job done. The Edible Landscaping side of the business has grown, and so too have the Garden of Eden Projects. This year we offered discounted trees to schools, churches and community grounds in Co. Clare with assistance from the council and the Department of the Environment & Local Government. It is satisfying, but the “made it” feeling is a bit elusive. There always seems to be more to do.

Stepping out of the work context, yes, there have been moments of “I’ve made it” whenever I have made it to the top of a particularly difficult climb on the cliffs in North Clare.

5]how long did it take to write the book

In terms of hours, I just haven’t got a clue. What I do know is that from the time I started to prepare the course notes for the Sustainable Architecture course to getting the first copy into my hand it took nearly five years.

6] if you were to compare your book to a song what would it be

It would have to be Money for Nothing. As well as the obvious advantage of just saving on bin charges, there is a whole host of stuff that we pay for that we don’t actually want. In fairness, who actually needs pizza plastic wrap, the big colourdy cardboard box or the polystyrene tray? We just want the pizza. But who pays for the pizza plastic wrap, the big colourdy cardboard box and the polystyrene tray? We do. Make your own pizza and you get excellent quality food, no plastic wrap, no big colourdy cardboard box and no polystyrene tray, and no bill for them all either. Anyway… Money for Nothing.

7] do you get free tickets for gigs & will you be going to electric picnic.

Nope. But I did get an invite to the book-launch in Limerick for Gemma Mawdsley’s new book The Paupers’ Graveyard.

8] how did you get to be published

To get published, apparently, you need a string of refusal letters to your name. Well I have plenty. I sent out copies of the manuscript to all of the publishers in Ireland that worked with that kind of book, and then just kept thanking people for the kind phrasing that they put on the letters saying “no thanks”. One publisher kept my faith up by expressing an interest in it and suggesting some changes, but then they had second thoughts. Finally as I began to explore self-publishing, Mercier contacted me out of the blue to say that they were really excited by it and would I be interested in meeting them to discuss it.

9] do you think enda kenny is a spanner

I don’t discuss politics on air.

10] coffee or tea

Coffee on the rare occasion if it is really good, organic, fair-trade coffee. Usually tea though, straight from the garden, and not always for medicinal use. A couple of leaves of sage in a pot of hot water is excellent for a sore throat. Fennel is great for settling the tum. In a baby’s bottle and cooled to the appropriate temperature, fennel tea can offer a full night’s sleep for the tired tiny baby stage of life (when drunk by the baby, not the parents). The best for flavour, I find, is a mixture of sage, mint and sweet cicely leaves. Since we moved house last year I have been struggling to get the sweet cicely to out-grow the slugs. The crushed egg shells are doing the trick now and by the end of the summer I hope to have good mixed herb teas once again.

11] do you know anto?

Not that I know of. Who’s Anto?

12]whats your favourite tshirt

There is a craft village in Spiddal, out the coast road from Galway. One of the craft workers has a shop called An Spailpín Fánach, where they supply t-shirts and the like printed with Irish language and Irish interest pictures. A while back I bought a dark green t-shirt there with a bright ink-style drawing of a scene from the Táin Bó Cúailnge of the bull of Cooley and the facing armies of Connaught and Ulster. Now I’m on the look-out for a long sleeved t-shirt just like it to replace one that has seen one cliff face too many in its rock-climbing career.

13] gimme a free book?

Sure, I’ve the kettle on already. Drop in whenever you are in the area.

14] so barrack obama calls you tomorrow….do go ‘Jasus Barrack…. whats the cluckin’ story horsebox’ or do you go ’shoite…. its flippin’ Obama on the flippin’ phone’……..?

Well the first thing I would assume is that he was reading all about the Garden of Eden Projects in the Clare Champion article a while back and wanted some tips for the community garden Michelle has started on the lawn there. Either that or he needs help getting the White House wheelie bin down to size. Think about it, what head of state doesn’t need help with their waste mountain?

15] if mary mc carthy [joe punter] wants to get one of your books how do they go about it…?

“Get Rid of Your Bin” is in most book shops around the country, and on – follow the link from the main page. Some internet shops bamboozle you with contents and links and offers and such like, but my one is really easy, there is just one book on the shelf! I’m working on the next one…

16] Beyoncee is going to play the O2 in Dublin – will you go?

I’m going to pass this year. I could pretend that I had even considered it, but won’t.

17] ben kenealy thinks *he’s all that* is he?

Who’s Ben Kenealy? Besides, if he thinks “He’s all that” then maybe that’s enough.

18] dave from Dublins 98fm got me into trouble with ‘her indoors’ – she made him rhubarb crumble and I ate it. Would you like some pie? What advice would you give to dave?

If you want a sugar free version, sweet cicely used to be used as a sweetener in medieval times. If you want a good cup of herbal brew with some of your pie, look no further than the herb bed for mint or fennel.

19] how many people turned up to your first book signing? honestly?

About fifty – a good turnout.

20] describe your book in one sentence?

The original title was meant to be “Get Rid of Your Bin – Get Rid of Your Bin Charges and Save the Earth” but the publishers preferred “Get Rid of Your Bin – and Save Money”. Either way, that sums it up fairly succinctly – the book is a why-to/how-to manual for minimising household waste and costs.

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john brookes… the career of [book]



I like this book. A little more expensive than my last book review at €44.70 – but well worth it.

I had about three of Johns book in my library up until recently… but very unfortunately they [and a large amount of others] grew legs and decided to go walkies 🙁

To put in context how good John is –  he was awarded an MBE for services to horticulture 😯 That’s damn good.

As a result, one ‘may’ think that Johns book would have the pants bored straight off you… but if you look [not even] quite closely you will see that the square root of so many gardens of today are equal to that of John Brookes designs. On the go since before The Beatles made it famous – and he is still in fashion.

The best of the case studies of Johns work are included from Zespol Palace Park [poland], Sprinhill Grove [australia] to Samarés Manor [chanel islands] the list goes on….. and he’s done them all. What is likeable also about this book is that it is coffee table style and beautiful enough for a non-biblical-botanist to browse through…

For myself I like the insight into the mans past and his career. Admirable. Astonishing. Love it.