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The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Good Cause Garden Make-Over with Eugene Higgins

Thursday, 22 March 2007

GOOD CAUSE GARDEN MAKEOVER WITH EUGENE HIGGINS

Last week our big friendly gardener Eugene Higgins went to the Hazel Day Clinic in Connolly Hospital in Blancahrdstown to see how the garden there has been transformed and today he's with us to launch our very own good cause garden makeover. 

Some questions answered
So was the garden a nice place to be?

Eugene felt it was gorgeous and the fact that so many people helped to fundraise for the garden is even more special. The Blanchardstown Shopping Centre Fountain managed to raise €6,000 for the garden (This amount is not mentioned in the VT)

Why was it so important for the garden to be given a makeover in the first place?
When you're dealing with older patients who have mental problems, it is of utmost importance that the place they visit is welcoming and a place that they might want to spend time. The garden beforehand was bleak, as seen in stills of the VT. There were steep slopes and a semicircle where the elderly patients were supposed to suit together so they could be monitored. Completely undignified and unsuitable.

What do you think of the work that was done?
Eugene was really impressed about the job that had been done in the garden. He felt they had achieved a lot and that the garden was structurally sound now for years to come.

What kind of timeframe was Hazel Day garden done in?
Over a period of about a year, sporadic bursts of work were done. Peter ended up not really making a profit as Marion was such a nice lady and very good at blagging! Technically a job like that should take a couple of months anyway.

Was there a good choice of plants etc?
Peter used very low maintenance choices so that the patients themselves could take care of the plants. Gardening is extremely therapeutic.

Eugene's Gardening Tips
Just when we thought spring was finally here, the last week or so saw the return of frost and freezing weather conditions. Eugene says we shouldn't panic. It's completely normally and should only last a few weeks. It's natures way of balancing out a mild enough winter.
1) If you notice black tips on your new hedges, don't worry. It means they have suffered frost damage but they'll recover themselves.
2) You have about a week left to buy and plant any bare root plants such as Laurel. Once spring officially arrives, you'll no longer be able to plant them as they are out of season then.
3) Normally Eugene advises buying bedding plants around Paddy's Day and planting them. However, this year has seen an exceptionally cold turn of events. For this reason, you should hold off on your purchase of these bedding plants for another few weeks. Hopefully by then, the weather will be mild enough again to allow them to grow.

So we are going to do our own makeover. What's involved in that? What are we looking for?

Our Good Cause Garden Makeover
Today we start the search for a plot of land to be transformed for the good of the neighbouring community.
The good cause garden makeover aims to transform a piece of unused ground into an Eden for all living in the vicinity to benefit.
It could be a piece of waste ground in an estate, or grounds beside a school, nursing home or hospital.
Eugene and his team will, over several weeks, transform waste barren land into a rural idyll. And viewers of the Afternoon Show will watch the transformation unfold, with a grand garden opening in May.

So how can you be in with a chance?
To enter: please send us photos of the plot of land, a detailed description of where it is, and who would benefit if it was transformed. Also include a contact name and number
We need to know the size and aspect of the plot, name and contact details of the owner of the land, and who would benefit in the local community if it were transformed.

Send entries to either email emails@theafternoonshow.ie or by post:

Good Cause Garden Makeover
The Afternoon Show
RTE
Donnybrook
Dublin 4

Please note the plot of land can be no greater that a quarter of an acre in size.

Deadline Thursday 5th April 2007

For more information
Eugene's plant setting is provided by Blackbanks Garden Centre in Dublin.

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