Posts

irish gardens [book]

I have selected gardens… whose design clearly illustrates a particular period of garden history, and whose plantings demonstrate an almost obsessional love of plants and the surrounding Irish landscape

irish gardens by olda fitzgerald

irish gardens by olda fitzgerald

The post-its popping out the top of this book will show that this one has been used; and used very well.

Put simply it is not one for the feint hearted. I shall rephrase, it is, maybe, one for the more serious garden enthusiast, those involved [in some research] or those who enjoy visiting the grander gardens of Ireland.

Olda chose 20 gardens and from the original designs to stunning photographs [by Stephen Robson] – this truly is deserved of a place on my book shelf and also‘my books – my reviews’.

That said, some time ago I paid a very worthwhile €65 for this publication. Written by Olda Fitzgerald. Photography by Stephen Robson. First published 1999 by Conran Octopus.

the amazing skerries mills

...

I thought this would be a boring day out. The ones you got ‘dragged’ out on when you were a nipper. I also thought, at first, the €6.50 tour charge was a bit steep, I was [very] pleasantly surprised.

This, had to be, one of the best ‘tours’ I’ve ever been on. Skerries Mills is simply amazing -and it’s a lot more than just a tour. And before you ask, I wasn’t given VIP tickets to visit!

..

I went with ‘herself’ for a bite to eat in the coffee shop and after some good filling home cooking, we took the tour. Paddy our guide has been involved in literally every stage of the renovation of the mills, going back ten years-ish now, into what it is today and he knows everything. Add to that a good sense of humour and one finds that it is the people that make a place.

From how the 55 acres surrounding the mills came into the councils hands, how spontaneous combustion evolved from static and flour and why the life expectancy for those [lucky enough to get a job there?] was only 40 years of age… is amongst the many facts that make the journey extremely enjoyable. Outside of that ‘The Mills’ are self sufficent, financially. That is, they have to break even. And they do, now.

€6.50! In my day we could have bought the entire mills for that and still had change for a loaf of bread…..

That aside, my other interest was/ is that we ‘are’ going back to the days of water conservation, wind power and home-made; gave me an insight into how ‘not so far away’ we are from those days of old returning.

As I said €6.50 each; todays made home made scones [i asked] and a pot of tea – it is, I thought at first, a bit my Dad’s kind of thing [at least I felt like him for a little…] but it was worth every cent!

Would I return – if only just for the warm scones!

a slice of organic life

a slice of organic life peter doneganThere are so many ‘organic’ books on the market at the moment. Most of them in my opinion perfectly ripe for the compost heap. This one however is an exception and Sheherazade Goldsmith does a great job here.

Its not very indepth which has its pros [and cons]; But it is aptly titled as ‘a slice’ and that is exactly what it gives you. If you were thinking of going a little environmentally/ eco/ greener friendly – this is a great place to get a little tester of what is for you.

If agriculture and horticulture were never your gig – this is your calling for sure and it is indepth enough not to turn you off.

Entertaining, fun and worthwhile even at €25.40 from Hughes & Hughes. You can see mine already has a coffee stain on the front – a sure sign it’s being used!

Tree leaves may have a bio-cycle


go make a difference - book review peter donegan

...

Among the many books in my library I have a little gem called Go make a Difference – over 500 daily ways to save the planet. Whilst the book relates mainly to mainland UK it is still quite a fine journal crammed with useful links and thins that can be so easily done to help our planet.


One genius little junket was to do with a company who sells products made from from recycled tyres! Remarkable Technologies Ltd however have a website which is brilliant and whilst diddling through it over the weekend I found this page/ paper called Tree leaves: A free source of energy, literally falling from the sky where the author Eric Knight believes that ‘A new, renewable energy source, tree leaves, maybe the ideal earth-friendly bio fuel feedstock for the production of ethanol and/ or as a secondary fuel source for power plants.’

That one may not be so relevant to the general populus… but for apartment dwellers and bedsitters to those in country mansions – if you only did one of these per month in your life… As one of the reviews on the back by John Vidal, environment editor with The Guardian says, ‘How many people does it take to change the world? One to buy this book and six billion to act on it’.


no! i said borax

borax

.

I was out with Jane Hall of ecoshop a while ago. A nice day out to Glen of the Downs if your looking for some inspiration. I bartered some of my time for hers and we had a natter and some coffee whilst discussing some projects where intelligent landscaping would benefit. As a thank you for my brain converting thoughts into speek… Jane sent me a big box of borax. I’d read so many greener books and unusual for a man with four sister, a woman in my life was listening!

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, soluble in water. What can it do? Just about everything cleaning wise the books say. Now I’ve just got to give it the test… If you’re out the farside of Dublin, Janes shop is a shrine to an ethic every Irish man should live by.

Happy Sunday and as always, enjoy!