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Bloom 2016. The ‘Your Name Here’ Wedding Garden.

wedding garden, bloom 2016, donegan

I have always seen gardens a lot like falling or being in love, or a feeling, or emotion, of sorts. Like that moment when you first kissed and Erma Franklin or Wilson began singing secretly in your head for no apparent reason. But it then, now and still every time you hear that song play, makes a tear drops trickle from your eye. And twenty, or one, or a bizillion years later and you hear that tunes intro and it somehow magically brings you all the way back to that exact moment and place and you know, that it felt and still feels so right and yet it still makes no perfect sense. And you can either identify with that or you can’t because you were so in love and felt that something magic and such attraction if you will, and therefore it actually makes perfect sense, to you.

Being slightly more logic, I’m sure there are more formal ways to introduce a garden concept or plan, but in this case, maybe, there quite simply is not. Or just not for me. But that – the first paragraph; is what essentially what this garden will become.

Surprising it may sound to chat show gardening already, but Bloom garden designs are required to be submitted somewhere around September/ October this year for June 2016. Read more

Wanted: Helicopter For A Garden

donegan peter

This may sound a bit odd…. but I’m looking for a helicopter. For a garden. A show garden that is.

As it stands I have no sponsor. Not a concern for the now.  I’ve been here before. Far more importantly, I’ve no flying machine and so I can’t entirely equation the creative. And so the chicken and the egg story continues. I’ve been here before. It’s all good…

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behind the scenes of a bloom show garden

it is for you....

it is for you....

related posts:

The slogan that runs under the bloom logo is ‘celebrate garden life’. This year more than ever I hope we as a nation do just that. To quote my good friend Eugene Higgins article in the Irish Mail on Sunday…

It’s not that long ago that garden shows in Ireland were poor to say the least. They were mostly a selecion of neglected plants and muddy pathways with a few burger stands thrown in. But then in 2007 Bloom came to the rescue…

I remember in 2007 cold calling suppliers looking for help. They didn’t even know what Bloom was. Nobody did. Now into the third year it is the Irish Garden event of the year. If you have never been to Chelsea flower show – this is as good as it gets.

what you won't see...

what you won't see...

I’ve built gardens  in 2007 and 2008 and I know it is not as easy as it looks. The garden build time is usually about 2-3 weeks [this varies on garden size]. Some gardens will have had little or no sponsorship [like myself for both years] and whether it rains [and by God it did this year!] or not the garden must be complete 2 days before opening for the judging to take place.

This is the bit you may not know… For me I start planning a show garden garden at least 12 months in advance. My first year, I was answering emails on my honeymoon. 🙄  This was the January before, designs had been submitted the October before that. You might say one simply just can’t switch off. For me anyway, the sleepless nights continue……

Fast track to the garden build and with 27 other gardens being built around me, almost 35 different trades involved in my garden alone, over 250 thank you cards sent out after the show… I then awake at 6am to make it to the park to see what or if I have won a medal. The result was always immaterial, to me anyway. Pink boats don’t win awards. But as my Father would say…

Elvis didn’t wear that white suit cutting the grass son…. Only in Vegas!

It is a show garden. It is a show. I have 5 days to stand at my garden to greet you the paying visitors, the reason I have built the gardens I did.

almost there....

almost there....

It doesn’t end there. When everyone has left on the Bank holiday Monday I must then within one week disassemble my entire 3 weeks 1 years works and reinstate the grounds to how they were before I arrived. And breath…… All whilst trying to keep a business running or for some holding down a full time job.

Why amn’t I building a garden this year, to be honest I guess I just needed a little bit of a break. To reflect, to ponder, to rejuvinate the brain cells…. to spend time with the people in my life. I guess it was not easy, at times.

**That said, I love every single second of it 😉

No matter what medal a garden and it’s designer recieve, no matter who is you’re favourite or who gets the most press coverage – if you do meet the designer at their garden…. congratulate them, shake their hands, damn it – give them a big hug and wish them only the very best. They really do deserve it.

Most of all, Enjoy the show !!

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to bloom or not to…

for a love of the game...

for a love of the game...?

bloomthat is was the question.

The search had been put out for my intended prop for Bloom 2009 but show gardens require a lot more than that. I have learnt that one the hard way.

It does require [a lot of] months preparation and hard work. It is not for the faint hearted. It requires a massive team – it is a mammoth task and a mammoth collaboration. This is not the turn off point for me.

It requires a love for what one does… to this I still feel the same as i did when I was a nipper – and in my heart, that child will never change.

Unfortunately, I have gone two years without financial sponsorship. I did have massive support for which I will be eternally greatful. And although I had got €20k towards Bloom 2007 from Bord Bia , for Bloom 2008 I had zero. For the record Gormleys fine art where noted as ‘in association with’. There was no monies paid to Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd. This was to thank them for the use a piece of art. The sculpt in my garden.

I did send in initial designs for Bloom 2009. But…

The GAG failed to see how the concept behind this design will fit within any of the bloom garden categories and as such the panel is unable to accept your application at this time. However, the GAG would like to invite you to consider submitting another show garden design which they will be happy to review.

and the Garden Advisory Groups response also came with this important note

The construction of all gardens at bloom is dependent on sponsorship. Where sponsorship is not yet in place and the applicant is unable to fund the construction of the garden him or herself, please note that every effort should be made to secure a sponsor for your garden at the earliest possible juncture.

The first paragraph is fine and absolutely understandable, I suppose… [although it does make me wonder how my first two garden designs were accepted at all…..] I could have submitted another garden design – but then I read the important note [the second paragraph] I just couldn’t take the risk of not having having a sponsor, again. I did subsequently speak to ‘members of the bloom garden advisory group’ and I was told I could build ‘that’ garden as an engaging space – but not as a ‘show’ garden.

what's it all about... ?

what is it all about... ?

My writing here is not meant to knock anyone. I sincerely mean that [and I do wish Bloom and those involved every success]. My intenion is to explain ‘my’ situation.

I love what I do. I am so passionate about what is my hobby and my career. I spend more time with plants, I might suggest, than I do with people 😉 But sometimes external factors need to be considered.

At this moment in time I feel a little torn. I’m torn between a love of what I want to do and what I can do – and guarantee to be done. I’m torn between the people I love in my life and that, that I cannot make reality – that is, the gardens, nee the dreams I wish to create with plants… there are so many. Maybe the reality is that *my* show gardens are my dreams and for once, my dream, simply, cannot come true. Maybe I love what I do too much… maybe? Maybe I need to take a little rest from show gardening? Maybe at 32 – I am supposed to grow old… ?

Show gardens in my opinion, are *show* gardens. They should not be about business. They [ideally] should not be about money. Show gardens should be created solely for the people who pay the money through the gate… shouldn’t they? If this is so, I can honestly say I created show gardens.

encouraging...?

encouraging...?

My problem [and only mine] is that I am being restricted, curtailed or prevented. The rules don’t include for people like me….? The RHS Tatton Garden show seems to. They wrote to me and offered me £6,000 towards an accepted garden – with this poster [see left].

My other gardens are normal, those of the domestic kind; but I used show gardening as a platform to do something ‘not so mainstream’. Something not about medals. Something not financially rewarding to me. Something for the people, the payee, the reason the show is there in the first place. By way of money, rules or for whatever reason that child-like imagination that I have is being told… NO!

I remember my Grandfather [God bless], years ago buying my Nanny a Valentine card that when opened lights flashed on the front and it played the Elvis song ‘love me tender’. It made me smile, at first – but he did love ‘his Lilly’ so much, he really did. And I always thought ‘well why not?’. What is wrong there. What is incorrect about that. It was chidlike one could say. But it was also both romantic and amazing, youthful and brilliant, yet niaimh and one may say – as it should be. The kind of thing that could make you cry and laugh at the same time. The kind of thing that would make you want this love to never grow old. The kind of thing that would make you want to stay young forever.

Since I first drafted this article about two weeks ago now; I recieved an email from Bord Bia offering a maximum of €100 per square metre towards the cost of building a show garden. So for example last years garden [20m x 10m] would have got €20k. The new deadline for garden design submissions is February 19th 2009. This essentially gives one approximately 10 weeks and only ‘IF’ the garden is accepted on the date of application. If I wish to source another prop, like a boat…. it, for me, just cannot be sourced and prepared within that space of time.

All of that aside, it was last year when I believed I had a sponsor. It was last year when I needed the help; when I had a boat, restored and painted and with less than 4 weeks to go realised I was, literally, in the …. and alone. It is because of last year that ‘my’ pocket money saved is still paying for last years garden. In fact last year the most embarrassing for me was that I could not afford to buy a €250 evening ball preview ticket for two of the staff who had worked so closely with me on last years journey. This did not dampen my spirits as a by the way, at all.

Normally, none of this would deter me. It would be the ‘you can’t do that’ that makes my brain say a very determind ‘we’ll see about that then!’. But, on this occasion – I simply cannot. What do you think?

maybe... it's time for a little rest?

hmmm..... ?

bloom 2008 – the pr & media list…

bloom 2008 pour l'amour de jeux

Bloom 2008 – ‘Pour L’amour de Jeux’

The entire pink boat story can be read here. My reason for publishing this… I/ we need a sponsor! If you think you can help or know anyone who can – please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many Thanks

peter

for bloom 2007 pr/ media list click here

Coverage

Other
Electric Picnic

29th, 30th, 31st August The ‘Pink Boat’ now a main feature at the music festival and part of the art trail.

Newspapers:

26th March Fingal Independent
1/3 page article titled ‘Sponsor needed for Peter’s dream garden’ and two photos, one of Peter and one of last years entry ‘No Rubber Soul’. Mentioning the theme for Bloom 2008, winning two ALCI Awards for Brackenstown House and the support from local businesses.

29th May Irish Examiner
½ page photo titled ‘Blooming Brilliant’ on the back page of Peter Donegan within the garden.

30th MayThe Star
half page photograph

30th May Irish Examiner
1/3 page article titled ‘Something for all at Bloom flower show’ and small photo of Peter Donegan and 2 models at the official opening of Bloom.

Radio
5th June Country Mix 106.8

– Peter begin interviewed by Lynsey Dolan with Dominic Loughran

RTE 2FM – with Rick O’Shea, speaking about what to do with the ‘pink boat’ from Bloom 2008

6th June
RTE 2FM – with Rick O’Shea, speaking about the ‘pink boat’ and that Electic Picnic have taken it.

Magazines:

May/ June Issue Garden Heaven Magazine
half page photograph

July 2008 Bloemen en Planten [netherlands]
half page photograph

Autumn 2008 Issue Self Build Magazine
Photo of ‘Pour L’amour de Jeux’ features within Peter Donegan’s article.

October/November 2008 Diarmuid Gavin’s Garden Designs
Photo front and back of the ‘Thank You’ postcard sent after Bloom. And a note from Diarmuid expressing what a nice idea.

Web:

All weblog posts here

to view the pr/ media list for Bloom 2007 click here

and of course there was this…