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Author Profile : Ian Gomersall (

Ian Gomersall lives in Inishowen and studied Amenity Horticulture. He has experience in working in Horticultural Therapy, running a plant nursery and garden design. He set up -a web site dedicated to organic gardening a few years ago and continues to tinker with the content. There's recently been a forum and classified section added.

lawn cutting

Organic lawn care

May 26th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Is there anyone in Ireland that has a perfect lawn? I doubt it. It would take hours to create the perfect green space without rushes, moss, thatch or weeds. My step dad tried for years to get a grass sward in his back garden so smooth that you could play snooker on it. He would be out there everyday with his penknife taking out weed seedlings and threatening earthworms for making casts. He was very particular in general. He once took the whole car to bits because of a rogue squeaking noise coming from the dashboard. He never found the… Read More »

dog eating chicken pellets

Getting stuck in

May 22nd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I’m out in the garden looking at the raised beds today. These planks of wood stuck into the wet ground for the last five years are wearing extremely well. They have been moved a few times, unceremoniously thrown onto the back of trailers, but have held both themselves together and the soil inside them. We have noticed a real lack of worm activity in our soil this year; maybe they are hiding deeper as it seems pretty dry at the moment. The compost bin seem to be void of our slimy friends too, hopefully the numbers should increase soon with… Read More »

bloom competition winners

Bloom Ticket Winners

May 22nd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Hi Here are the winning names for the 10 free pairs of tickets for Bloom next month… Congratulations to the winners.  Check out who’s won here Link to this post!

gorse flower picking

Cordials and wines from the country

April 20th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

There was a time when most people knew about the plants in the hedgerows. Not necessarily their botanical names as a lot of these plants would have had different local names depending on which part of the country you were from. People would look upon the plants as a natural outdoor chemist where they could get a cure for most ailments and a pick me up tonic for any time of the year. Depending on the time of year these wild plants emit a unique fragrance that is as powerful as any photographic image for recalling times walking and playing… Read More »

fire near house 1_1

Fires on the hills

April 5th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

NEW GROWTH FROM THE ASHES I’d like to begin this week for thanking the Buncrana Fire Brigade, without whom I would be sitting in a pile of ashes where the house once sat. Allow me to elaborate. March to June is the prime time for fires in the country and as last week was an exceptionally dry spell made it a very busy time for the fire crew. Dead vegetation sitting on the ground from winter and the fresh breezes coming down the Swilly gave rise to loads of hillside fires, one of which came perilously close to our house…. Read More »

pears 1

It’s the Food Dudes

March 16th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

The stray dog came back this week. It had been away for long enough for me to think that it was never coming back, but it did. On my birthday too just to rub salt in. It’s still as mucky as ever and we can’t leave anything on the kitchen worktops as it can get up to clear any plates onto the floor and give them a good licking. It was eating a hot curry the last time I saw it complete with an array of choice left over vegetables. Link to this post!

magic seeder 1

Win a Magic Seeder

March 16th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

This week I have been using the Magic Seeder seed sowing tool which is based on the principles of automatic seed dispensing machines that large growers use, but this fits snugly into one hand and only cost €6.90. The Magic Seeder can be used to sow seeds of all shapes and sizes up to 2mm.  One problem when sowing seeds is getting compost and water onto our fingers, which makes the smaller seed sticky and hard to spread out properly.  The Magic Seeder keeps the seed dry and accurately spreads the seeds out in trays, pots or plugs. Link to… Read More »


Take it easy in the garden

February 20th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

“How about Lily” my lad says, having fun trying thinking of a name for the stray dog that has landed on our doorstep. “I like Amaratsu,” the other one chirps. It’s been three days since the scruffy Springer Spaniel wiped its muddy coat all over the glass on the front door, and she’s not got any cleaner since. I tried to shoo it off, like most caring people do, but it just cowered and slid itself across the lawn on all fours. It’s been doing the same over the rug in the front room ever since, leaving a trail of… Read More »


Valuing the Vegatables

February 9th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Money and the garden We have made a decision to only grow a limited amount of vegetable types this year.  For years now we have perused the gardening seed catalogues with the feeling that we need to get a vegetable from every letter of the alphabet.  Asparagus, artichoke, banana (yes, we’ve tried growing them,) carrots, dill….well you know how it goes after years of watching Sesame Street. The outcome was that when the plants grew, there wasn’t enough room for them to grow healthily. Never mind keeping up with crop rotation -it became a matter for the code breakers. Link to… Read More »


Forking Parsnips

January 27th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

This week, I start to investigate the tangled mess of rotting leaves; brown stalks and overrun green stuff that was last year’s vegetable garden. I am very much an early season gardener when it comes to the veggies. I love all the preparation. Clearing away the old dead matter, pulling out as many roots as I can, removing stones, sowing, planting and weeding. However, after I have harvested the last of the string beans and before the purple sprouting broccoli comes into its own, I tend to forget about the vegetable patch, concentrating more on general maintenance, hedge clipping, the… Read More »


Just what I’ve always wanted

December 31st, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

OOOOH. IT’S JUST WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED Most of my family probably don’t agree, but I actually enjoy getting presents. Over the years I have somehow managed to give everyone the impression that I am not bothered about receiving gifts. This is more than likely due to the fact that if anyone asks me what I would like for Christmas, I usually shrug my shoulders and say “I’m not bothered.” Which really means, “Use all of your imagination to bring me something that will entertain me for longer that ten seconds, improve my quality of life and of course make… Read More »


Bringing Christmas indoors

December 18th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

FLAUNT YOUR SKILLS The Christmas period is the perfect time to flaunt your natural indoor decorating skills. There are plenty of opportunities to be creative, either by home baking or making decorations. Maybe not everything you see lying about outside is suitable for hanging on the tree or decorating the walls, but, it’s amazing how an everyday item can be transformed with a bit of glitter and some cotton wool. Evergreen shrubs are ripe for picking just before the holidays and make a wonderful addition to the table. Here are some other fun and unique ways to bring the outdoors… Read More »


Choosing your Christmas Tree

November 29th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

I inherited a mantelpiece Christmas decoration a couple of years ago from my mother.  It is a collection of moulded together resin figures that have a frequency sensitive snow effect backdrop, which automatically plays a selection of Christmas carols at totally inappropriate moments. It gave my mother loads of enjoyment, as she would leave it on all year round to irritate the carers that come to visit her when she was ill. I tried to keep the tradition going in my own house after she died, but the rest of the family know where the off switch is on the… Read More »


Spring Bulbs

November 18th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

I’ve been digging up some dahlias this week to store for next year. Dahlias store best in moist, cool areas with plenty of air moving around them. I lost a few last year because of the frost, so this year I am going to wrap them in newspaper and then put them in the shed. There are other things I could do such as cover them in sawdust or wood shavings, but the guinea pigs have got all of that for their bedding. Talking of bulbs… Link to this post!


Magical Mystery Tour

November 4th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

I’m getting onto a bus with 11 other volunteers who have turned out at eight in the morning for voluntary duties with the British Trust For Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). Link to this post!


The Art of Zen

October 14th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

“Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.”  I’m at Alan’s house in Dublin.  Alan is a friend of mine who has, up until recently, been a bit of a high flier in the pharmaceutical industry and has now retired.  He is taking things easy and being middle aged and single seems to have adapted to it very well.  His flat is very uncluttered, or you could say it was minimalist in design. “I got rid of most of my things when I finished work” he tells me.  “I always aspired to… Read More »



October 6th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

IT’S IN THE DETAIL My mower is still in for repair.  I don’t mind so much as it’s given me an opportunity to just sit in the garden without thinking that I should be working (although the hedges do need trimming back).   I’ve decided to make good use of the sunshine and not content with the rather uncomfortable garden chairs, I have dragged a full sized mattress outside and plonked it down on decking and added a few large fluffy pillows.  It’s being in bed and getting a suntan at the same time….bliss.  Now I can look up into… Read More »

Back to School

September 30th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

I can’t help noticing that there are a lot of berries hanging from trees and bushes.  The rowan trees are fit to burst and although there are plenty to go at, the starlings are still fighting over the small red fruit.  Blackberries are filling the hedgerows and the chestnut trees are bowing with the weight of their conkers….well apart from the tree in Swan Park. I didn’t see any there this morning, maybe there have been too many sticks thrown at the tree over the years and it’s decided to have a rest for a bit.  I used to enjoy… Read More »


A bit like autumn

September 17th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

EASILY DISTRACTED Autumn is moving in quickly. The temperature has dropped and fallen leaves are starting to build up in the corners of the garden. I was in Swan Park today and noticed that the elderberries are ripe and the sycamore helicopter seed pods are ready to drop. There’s still plenty of growth left though, so it’s not time to pack the mower away into the shed just yet.  Grass, contrary to popular belief, never really stops growing, it just slows down a bit to allow you to conduct a few indoor jobs like tidying the garage.  So I am… Read More »



September 6th, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

It’s been a while since we were down at the supermarket.  It’s not something that we have consciously decided to do, it just happened.  In winter when the nights are long and the mountain madness sets in, it’s always very entertaining and sociable to venture to the supermarket to get a fix of dazzling fluorescent lighting, warmth from the cookers and wee chats with friends and neighbours. According to Steven Fry there were people in France at the turn of the century that used to hibernate all winter.  Maybe they were onto something.  Mind you, he said the same community… Read More »

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