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stephen rawson – pr garden guest #7

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #7 is  Stephen Rawson of Rawson Communications

ABOUT:

steve...

steve...

Steve Rawson is a Media & Public Relations consultant based in Dublin, Ireland. He specialises in Public Affairs, Media Relations, Media Training and publicity/Promotions.

His interests include current affairs, environmental issues, music, travel and food. He is a musician (vocalist & guitarist) and enjoys good food, good company.His favourite books include The Shadow of the Wind by Carloz Ruiz Zafon, Suite Francais by Irene Némirovsky, Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin, Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett and A Woman in Berlin.

Favourite Films (too many to mention) but include Once upon a Time in America, Festen and Crash. Favourite TV programmes: The Wire, The Sopranos, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, anything by David Attenborough, Eco Eye.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:

I spent most of my early childhood in the late 50’s in Greystones, County Wicklow on an imaginary horse riding the range in search of Indian trails across Greystones Golf Club and the environs around Hillside Road. It was an era when children had the freedom to roam and the natural world flourished all around us.

Smell can be such a subjective experience but for me the nutty coconut aroma of yellow furze, the seemingly omnipresent perfume of privet along with hay harvest, farmyard manure and elderflower bring back well-embedded memories.

Memories of my mother trekking us across the golf links to pick crab apples with us all given a job to prepare the resultant clove-scented crab apple jelly – the storing of jam jars, the purchase of jam jar covers (hard to find today), the sterilising, cooking, cooling, name tagging and storage. The recycling of lemonade bottles, the knife-sharpening van, milk delivered by horse-drawn cart, travellers calling to fix pots & pans. It was basic environmentalism out of sheer neccessity.

That I now tend an organic cottage garden at my home in Killester is no accident nor is it based on some eco-fiendish plot to convert you – for me it’s always been that way – planting, harvesting, composting and recycling back into the ground – a natural common- sense cycle of life.

I’m also a foodie so my perquisite for any garden starts outside the kitchen door with a Belfast sink and a half barrel wooden tub containing parsley, thyme, sage, bay leaf, fennel and wild garlic. A sunny spot outside the front door is a perfect growing environment for our prolific rosemary bush. There’s no excuse for not being able to grow these herbs in pots on a small apartment terrace and the ease with which you can grab a few herbs to finish off a hearty beef bourgignone, a summer salad or a wild garlic risotto all adds to the pleasure of fresh food and is bound to impress your guests.

When it comes to plants I like to go for scent and I’ve strategically placed jasmine, honeysuckle (woodbine) outside the backdoor. These two plants are easy to grow and they give off a pungently heady scent making summer evenings a real treat with the backdoor and bedroom/bathroom windows open.

Wildlife will always be attracted to cover so I have planted privet and fuchsia for hedging and fern and mombretia for top of bed cover while lavender borders give off a much needed therapeutic scent. Again, lavender and gravel is a perfect remedy for the low maintenance gardener while fuchsia and fern can all be grown in pots for apartment terraces.

The above mentioned are the basics before I head to the garden centre for trays of annuals –, alyssum, stock, petunia (get the scented trailing variety usually available from late May/early June)) nicotiana, while aubretia and trailing lobelia (red for effect if you can find it) are not scented but provide wonderful colour. The one plant I always grow from seed in pots is night-scented stock for summer evening scent.

Of course, the far side of the scent spectrum is the pungent aroma of compost breaking down rotting veg, grass and tree clippings as the worms eat their way through the compressed but warm rotting vegetation. All green waste is recycled cutting down on waste charges.

I built a small pond approximately 6 ft in length by 4 ft with a shelved depth to 3 feet bordered with liscannor paving with a water fountain. You’ll hardly have your back turned from filling it with water (from the water butt attached to the outside downpipe) before the frogs arrive and take up residence.

For birdlife, apart from the aforementioned cover, I have put up a birdtable and feeders for wildbird seed, peanuts, fatballs and sliced apple. Again, feeders can be easily placed on apartment terraces. Apart from your common or gardener visitor I have goldcrests, green finches, long-tailed tits and black caps. Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light here as I’ve also had visits from predators herons who like a nice feed on fish and frogspawn while a hovering sparrowhawk has also spied the rich pickings on offer.

All of the above plants mentioned attract butterflies and bees but you just can’t beat the hum and sight of a bumble-bee’s arse hanging out of a foxglove or antirrhinum flower in mid-summer with a background of birdsong and trickling waterfall as you sip your glass of cool sauvignon waiting for the bar-b-cue coals to heat up.


If life deals you lemons, make lemonade. If it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.

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richard fitzgerald – thursday garden guest #6

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #6 is Richard Fitzgerald of Cybercom

stephen & richard

stephen & richard

ABOUT:

Richard Fitzgerald is 25 years old and works for Cybercom, a digital marketing company where he is an account executive… Not too much is know about Richard after this apart from the fact that he blogs under fitzycloud and at this moment in time he is [really] climbing Mount Everest with Stephen Murphy at this moment in time…. and has absolutely no interest in hugging trees 😆

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS…

This is hard. My first instinct when asked to blog post on gardening this was to get on to some gardening sites and ‘adapt’ the information. I just know nothing about gardening. I don’t know the difference between all the trees, flowers, shrubs, plants – not even growing there with landscape gardening terms (I’m assuming there’s a hole lingo). But I’m not a gardnerphobe. I appreciate the skill, the craft. I understand that it requires dedication, expertise. I like how it relates to nature, the earth. One day I would like my own garden. But not now.

I blog about brands. So I’m going to gardenblog very loosely about a type of flower (a common one). I’m going to blog about Cadbury’s Roses. Is there a connection between the chocolates and the flowers? Appropriately (luckily for me), Cadbury Roses were conceived in 1938 in Cadbury Bourneville which was renowned as “a factory in a garden”*, and Roses were popular then, hence the name for the distinctive assortment. That’s the only connection.

Cadburys Roses have had two famous TV campaigns. The 1964 ad which ran with the slogan ‘Roses Grow on You’, and the 1979 ad with “Say ‘Thank You’ with Cadbury Roses”. The latter ran in to the 1990’s with many popular versions.

What next for Cadburys Roses advertising? No idea. I would associate them strongly with Christmas time, a big tub of Roses has become part and parcel of Christmas decorations. But, every year there seems to be changes made to the selection. Would the brand embrace the digital age of advertising by having an online vote of which ‘Rose’ to evict (Big Brother style). Users could campaign to save their favourite ‘Rose’ with Facebook groups and the like. Cadbury’s products have done some good stuff online. Dairy Milk and Cream Egg spring to mind. Maybe Cadburys Roses deserve some digital love? Or maybe, the brand should return to it’s routes, and build on the vague association between Gardening and Cadburys Roses?

Cadbury's Roses Thank You

donncadh o’ leary – pr garden guest #5

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #5 is  Donncadh O’ Leary of Edelmann PR

ABOUT:

donncadh

donncadh

Donnchadh is a Senior Account Manager on Edelman’s Corporate Communications team. He has been with the company since 2003 and in his spare time is a raging heavy metal fan who currently has no time for gardening but does know where some interesting Gardens can be found……

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS…

Gardens from the sky…. I noted with intrigue that Neil O’Gorman included a Hot House Flowers video in his guest post. As a former colleague of Neill’s, I thought I’d have to go one better by including something that represents my own musical passions and thought immediately of cult UK heavy metal band ‘Lawnmower Deth.’  Then I remembered I was representing Edelman in this so chickened out a little and went for something more conservative in Guns N Roses ‘The Garden’ which also features Alice Cooper and Shannon Hoon and is a fine song. The Guns have actually recorded a few tracks with garden related titles or themes – Garden of Eden, In the Jungle, Bad Apples, New Rose (The Damned cover) and Rocket Queen, actually that last one isn’t in any way garden related (unless maybe in a potato or lettuce leaves sense ) but is such a fantastic track I thought I’d stick it in all the same. Infact maybe I’ll include Catcher in the Rye while I’m at it too. You can of course look up Lawnmower Deth of your own accord if you feel the need….

Anyway, before I sat down to write this I was trying to think about the last time I gave any thought to gardens or gardening. Surprisingly, it would appear it was just last week. I tend to spend far more time than I should in the office, which at the moment I guess is a nice complaint to have, but there is a definite relationship between that and the fact that the balcony in my apartment is as bleak looking as it was the day I moved in two years ago. This is despite plenty of intentions to green it up, at least a little bit. There’s even a Garden Centre within five minutes walk but I just haven’t managed to swing a few spare hours to go and make a start.

So one night last week, I was again in the office late, despairing about what I hadn’t got around to doing recently and the bleakness of my balcony again came to mind. I think the bright spring mornings have pushed it into my thinking a little bit more as its actually visible before I leave in the mornings now. So my thinking turned to plants and gardens and the time I’d spent in our family garden when I was younger as well as other gardens in the neighborhood. There were many fantastic gardens in my home town of Killarney of varying shapes and sizes ranging from small vegetable patches right up to the world famous Muckross Gardens in Killarney National Park. It occurred to me that many of the smaller residential gardens may have been gobbled up by the Celtic Tiger fueled development that has engulfed much of the town over the past fifteen years so I thought I’d have a look to see if I could see anything of their faith on Google Earth.

Unfortunately, Google Earth doesn’t do Killarney – at least on the free version anyway. Which is a shame but while I was looking my thoughts turned to my current neighborhood in Dublin. I’d looked up where I live before on Google Earth but this time I decided to see what kind of parks and gardens I could make out. It really provides a fascinating insight into what Irish people have in their Gardens, particularly the larger high walled ones that you are always curious about when walking past. Fair enough, it’s a bit of a one dimensional view but I was amazed at what some people have hidden away in their Gardens and back yards. For instance, I was enormously intrigued that a house not too far away from me seems to have an incredible maze in the shape of a shamrock tucked away behind its garden walls. Other things include ponds, swimming pools, little rivers and bridges, glass houses etc. The resolution isn’t fantastic but you zoom in a lot but you can make out things that might be out of the ordinary. It’s also a great way of having a peek into some of the Parks in our cities and towns, ones you’ve only passed but never bothered to wander into. Many of them are far bigger and more interesting than they look on the outside and when you know what they layout is like from the sky it makes going in a bit more interesting.

Until I get around to sorting my balcony out and get a bit more free time for actually walking in parks this may have to do me.

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thomas brunkard – pr garden guest #4

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions –  click here.

For the moment writer #4 is Thomas Brunkard of Bvisible

ABOUT:

thomas...

thomas...

Thomas Brunkard is an account executive with Bvisible Communications, a creative, progressive and dynamic PR agency with a wide-ranging client base.  He assists in the development of public relations programmes across the full client base including strategic communications initiatives, online PR strategies and print and broadcast media relations.  He managed to out-flank the recession and land his current job by using a blog and social media strategy.

Taking a break from the blogosphere to climatise to agency work, he will return to blogging on the PR landscape at the soon to be re-launched Bvisible website and on music, life and guitar playing by the summer at his own site at www.thomasbrunkard.com

An ex-professional musician, Thomas continues to inflict [his words not mine 😆 ] his guitar playing on audiences nation wide, particularly most Saturdays in Dublin’s Porter House Temple Bar.


WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:


I had always hated gardening.  The loathing started when I was a child growing up in Kilmainham.  We had a yard with a big coal bunker and a smattering of potted plants but nothing that would constitute a garden.  Since we lived on a busy road in a relatively edgy inner-city area, outdoor excursions were limited and the yard was mine and my brothers’ outdoor universe.  Our imagination moulded it into the Wild West, Cybertron and Cooley.

My Da often had delusions of our family aspiring to country gentrification.  His own father had grown up on a farm and he himself had grown and sold a field of barley in his youth.  Our holidays to the countryside took in the ruined relics of manors past.  Powerscourt, Emo Court and Malahide Castle were regular weekend haunts for the Brunkards.  The terraced rises of the Poer family and the sprawling Talbot demesne inspired my father to bring our inner-city micro-house in line with the old planters’ opulent and baroque excesses.

After one trip to Malahide my Da’s inspiration took flight.  He resolved to turn our back-of-house industrial wasteland into Eden on Earth.  In a stroke, our summer became a Dickensian nightmare as we were co-opted as pocket-money gardening slaves.

Hauling bags of compost and disposing of the odd coal-crushed mouse was not the fun alternative to multiplication tables and Irish we had longed for that summer.
Da outlined a grand vision for our inner-city Babylon; fountains, hanging baskets, trellises and terracotta bowls of life fired him with enthusiasm.  One Saturday morning, the process began with a 7am rise and a whistle-stop tour of Wicklow’s garden centres.

Our postcard sized yard began to transform rapidly.  Our coal bunker dissolved into steel buckets, the blackened walls were painted a gleaming white and the outdoor toys of our infancy were consigned to anonymous cement bags.
We diligently filled window baskets with carefully selected combinations of onion-like bulbs.  Pre-grown bedding was delivered in bulk for our newly green fingers to pot and display.  My Da relished his new role of garden foreman and, as my brothers and I scurried around the yard, he barked instructions over a blaring Count John McCormack record.

And then it was over, our new “garden” had become the very spectrum of colour.  Yellows, reds and blues and an unplumbed water feature.  Our Herculean efforts were rewarded with a bounty of beauty.

A hoped for resumption of the summer status quo was not on the cards.  Sword fights led to demolished ceramic and were hastily outlawed, football shattered tulips and followed suit, our garden had become like a sitting room full of cut crystal and prematurely killed our outdoor childhood.

Our forays into this botanical set-piece were reduced to early morning wake-up calls for watering, weeding and pest control.  One such extermination campaign ended in a social disaster for my Da.

My observation of the relative demerits of poisoning a garden where the family dog eats everything earned me the role of chief executioner for trespassing snails.  “I want to see 100 dead snails by the afternoon”, my Da barked in his best drill sergeant-like manner and harumphed off to involve himself in unrelated DIY projects taking place elsewhere in the house.

Taking on my new assignment with vigour I rounded up as many slimy crustaceans as I could find.  Nearing the hundred mark I pronounced my charge and verdict to the invaders: “On the charge of destroying loads of the poxy leaves that ended our Kilmainham Football League I pronounce you – Guilty”, I proceeded to lay other charges  against the helpless rascals who’s only mistake was to gorge themselves on Lord Brunkard’s demesne.  All were guilty without recourse to representation or due process.

And then the sentence came to be delivered.  A distant marching snare rung out in the distance, a soldier produced blind folds and a priest gave last rites to the assembled hermaphrodite infestants.  A trumpet sounded a solemn tune.  Then CRASH!  I slammed down a spade on the assembled snails.  Splish, splosh, crunch.  My execution was worthy of Teppes, Bathory and Nero combined and soon the convicted resembled a gone off beef stew with extra cabbage.  Satisfied that my excesses would excel my father’s expectations, I retired to do some crucial guitar practice.
And then later that evening I heard a not-so muffled scream and other sounds of distress and agitation.  My mother and father had guests out into the new yard and they had happened on the remnants of the grizzly justice I had meted out.  With the innocence only possessed by a child as my only defence I tried to explain how I was merely a soldier following orders to no avail.  The snail execution had been my brief and my father playing Pinochet to his guests and denying knowledge and blaming poor soldier discipline.

Gardening sucked I decided there and then.

These days I have mellowed my attitudes.  My girlfriend is a German culchie and she has brought all sorts of plant derived wonderment into my city-slicker life.  Her miracle avocado tree (planted from an avocado!) and Bonsai coddling attracting me back into the fold of Plantopia.  I bought a Rosemary bush after reading Eoin Kennedy’s post to try to give myself some sort of connect with this piece.  I especially like herbs as you can eat or make tea with them.  Next weekend I’m trying out Peter’s seed post.  Who knows?  If I make it big in PR from here I’ll look into a fully fledged garden to inflict on my future off-spring.  The circle of life will be complete.

thursday garden guest – the pr sessions

It was a very unusual email for me to send to a public relations firm…. I had done the garden guest series before. I now needed a new source of guest writers. At the PR v bloggers collison course I met Piaras.  He seemed like a nice chappie. Turns out he is an absolue gentleman. I sent the email and got this back….

From: Kelly, Piaras

To: info [at] doneganlandscaping [dot] com

Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 5:41 PM

Subject: RE: blog pr suggestion

Yeah sounds good to me, when do you want the post by?  Will have to give it some thought, my ideal garden is potted plants and gravel 🙂

Cheers

Just the reply I was hoping for 🙄 My sense of humour aside it was exactly the response I was hoping for. Because the reason for the sessions is that who you are and what you do is irrelevant…. to an extent, you understand, because it is ‘your’ tale of something you remember or like of the world outside… It is about what you like about gardens. It is your story….

The 10 writers that will follow are all employed in the public relations industry. The article will be published every Thurday starting tomorrow. Enjoy 🙂

The pr sessions list:

guaranteed to make you smile

guaranteed to make you smile...