Some gardeners know how plants think!


Quick post to tell you how the gardening course went. Its been almost 5 years since I’ve done anything horticultural. Being honest, gardening has never been high up on my list of interests. I have completed some basic horticultural /science studies but most of what I covered in that time is now a distant memory.

On the morning, we arrived to a freshly baked breakfast of scones, nibbley bits and freshly ground and brewed coffee. Everyone was introduced and we went over what we were going to cover for the day. Then headed straight out to the garden and got stuck in. Peter had a variety of pots, plants and seeds for us to work with. We covered the basics of growing from seeds, watering seedlings, potting and re-potting plants.

As Louise said to me, Peters gardening course could be summed up as “philosophy for gardening & life.”. Darren had a great comment “Peter knows how plants think.”.

Photo of Peter Donegan

The course was a mixture of hands on gardening, great advice and interludes of peter telling us about his gardening career. I was blown away by what peter achieved in his career at a young age.

A summary of what I picked up:

The brand of compost you use doesn’t really matter all that much. I had this idea in my head that there was some kind of difference in quality. At the end of the day its just the growing medium.

Drainage holes for window boxes or pots can be substituted with a variety of other scraps ranging from broken bits of cups, dead plants, polystyrene or whatever you have to hand. The main thing is to make some drainage space under the soil. Be warned that carrots don’t like this too much as they need this space.

When your prune a plant on top you often force root growth, this is useful when you have re-potted a plant.

You don’t need to buy fancy plastic pots, trays to get stuck in. A great example Peter had was an old wheel barrow that had been re-purposed as a semi-portable raised bed for green house. It really gets you thinking about what you can use from around the home or garden.

Photo of Watering Seed Tray

Allotments are a lot of work in terms of maintenance. Water can often be a pain point as you may have to bring your own supply. Peter suggested that people should be made aware of this before they take on an allotment. Some kind of allotment driving license or a mentoring scheme needs to be put in place.

In Summary:

I felt that got a lot out of the course, not alone did I get a ton of useful information but our balcony is full of pots and window boxes. The hands on experience really cant be beaten. I feel like I got more hand on experience in the 5 hours than I did during my two years of class room based horticultural / science studies.

If your interested in getting started in gardening, Id strongly advise you to drop Peter a line and ask him when his next course is.

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  • peter donegan


    thanks so much mate and I really do appreciate it.

    To clarify…. just in case botanist become baton-ists 😉

    – when it comes sown to the basics don’t let the many brands of compost baffle you. I just buy one for cuttings, seeds, potting [so you are right] – we’re [you] not growing prize roses for chelsea flower show.

    -no drainage holes mean the compost/ water mix doesn’t go all over the kitchen floor or down the paint under the window sill. old crockery is very helpful

    – pruning a plant causes hormone movement :) plants will produce roots for food and stability.

    – i did say that re allotments. i feel they’d be appreciated more… and it would reduce the hand back rate.

    -darren and louise make me smile :)

    A real honour.
    beir bua

    ps: kettle is always on if you are passing

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