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My RTE Super Garden Blog

A Journey Through My Super Garden Adventure

Our First Blog Entry

RTE Super Garden

Epoisde 1 The First Try

This is a blog all about my time and experience on the programme that is RTE super garden. Well it all started back in 2016 it was around the June bank Hoilday and Bloom the yearly garden festival was on up in the phoenix park in Dublin. I was walking around looking at the gardens when i got to the super garden display . I said to myself can I do that can I win super garden. With that in my mind I set myself a goal to go on to super garden. So in January 2017 I sat down and taught about what to do. So I filled in the online forms and sent them off. I got a phone call back from a guy asking me would I take a phone call next week. So the following week my phone rang and it was a Dublin number so I answered it. The guy on the other side said would i be interested in doing out a design for them. Of course I said yes and with that in mind I waited for them to email me the garden they wanted me to do out a design for. A few days past when I got that email with 4 pictures of this Dublin garden and a brief about the family and what they would like in there garden. Looking back now I maybe should have taught more into my design but still I went and done something out and emailed everything back to Vision Independent Productions in Dublin. A week or so had passed and my phone rang from V.I.P The call i dreaded so I took what can only seem like ages to answer the call. The person on the other side said hi Anthony we would like you to come up to see us in Dublin and would I be interested in coming up of course the answer out of my mouth was yes and when do you want me. A couple of weeks passed and on a Thursday I made my way with my design in hand and up to dublin with a friend of mine for company I went and we got into dublin made our way out to Finglas Business Park. My meeting was for 10.45am We got lost in the rain of course but after awhile we both found unit 26-27 and on that door was Vision Independent Productions. So we both went in and a very friendly women met us a the door she said to go up the stairs. As we went up the stairs the nerves were hitting me hard and really hit me when at the top of the stairs was in my head the famous Super Garden sign. At this point it really was hitting home I was here i was about to walk into the Super Garden production team and show them my work my design while my friend sat outside they filmed me talking all about my design and how it would benefit the family. So after around an hour I had finished there was no more I could do it was in the lap of the gods. With that in mind me and my friend got the number 40d bus into Dublin city centre and our journey back home. So a week had passed and I waited for my faith my dream. With just over a week that call came. With me all nervous I answered my phone again and the news I wanted to hear did not come. The lady on the other side Brittny said they loved every part of me my personality my attitude but this was not my year. My dream of being on RTE Super Garden was over for another year. And when April came around I sat and watched Super Garden on my tv and could not help and wonder why this was not me on the telly why was I not good enough why was I not better then these 5 people and would i try again. Could I go through the disappointment again and was I good enough for RTE Super Garden. I had to go to blooom again in 2017 and see that Super Garden show garden sitting in the Phoenix Park and think long and hard. Would I try again and can I see out my dream of being on RTE Super Garden. Lots of questions going around my head but answers I can't answer right now. 

Episode 2 Going To Give It Another Try

Months had passed and Christmas had come and gone and my mind was made I up I would not try for Super Garden in 2018. As it got to February my partner at the time was telling me to give it another go. But with my mind finding it hard to say yes and with the closing date coming closer I had to either sink or swim and so with my partner pushing me in the direction of giving it another go I made that call. I applied for 2018 RTE Super Garden. With the disappointment of 2017 and the positivity of making it through this year I told myself that this would be my last attempt . But this year I would go up there with a design that would place them in a difficult position. So day by day night by night I worked on stuff in my head and then I got that phone call again to ask me do a design out for the same garden as the year before but with a different brief. It took every bit of my garden design knowledge I done out a design but this time I took a bold decision to not stick too much to the brief but to do a garden that would be a show garden at bloom. This would end up being my best decision I would make. So again with this time a design done out A1 size paper and a mood board to match plus all about this garden in my head how I would talk them around I set off alone to Dublin on the train. I got into Dublin and went for a bite in to burger king and bought a meal for a homeless guy outside. This guy looked at me and said I can see someone is looking down on you my friend. With that being said i looked towards the heavens and told myself my ex boss the late Paul o Gorman is giving me a sign so with that I took the number 40 bus to Finglas Business Park on the Tolka Valley Road. My meeting was for 2pm. I went through that door again the same girl greeted me and said your back. I said yes with that she said she was told that last year they found it tough not to put me through. I walked up them stairs but this year something was different this year the Super Garden sign was no where to be seen. So as I waited in what can only be said as a lonely couch for 5 mins but seemed like 50 mins a guy came out not the girls from last year. A tall guy his name was Declan Jones was this another sign as Pauls brothers name is Declan. I told him he would need a bigger table for my drawing to which he went next room and brought out a drawing board. So with the same task as last year and camera rolling again I done my interview stage but this time I went over the hour and half that they had set on camera in there words talked the head off them. But they said it was a great interview and said last year I came in this door doubting myself this year I came in as I owned the room. So with all that done I went outside and caught the 40d bus back to Dublin city centre passed the same homeless guy to who said out of the blue I told you someone was looking down on you as he could see how positive I looked and with that i rolled back into Carrick all positive and awaited the phone call. A week had passed when one sunny Sunday afternoon as me and my partner lay on my bed watching a film my landline rang but I never picked it up. Then I had miss call on my mobile. My partner looked at me and said it might be VIP in Dublin you need to ring them back and see and just as she said that the landline rang again and at the other end was an American voice the one and only Brittny Heinrich. And as I said hello she said with last year being tough for you and hard for us to say no to you I can give you good news this year Anthony you are one of the five you have made it. With the realisation not sinking in I had to hand my phone over to my partner to let her hear it just in case I was dreaming. And yes it was true yes i was on RTE Super Garden my time had come. But as she told me she also told me only family can know this till the launch date. With the phone now down me and my partner needed to go to Supervalu for a bottle of champagne and one or two phone calls to my mum dad and sister. Me and my partner chilled out on the couch and watched old episodes of Super Garden on the rte. player to get in the mood and with me a Super Garden contestant in a few weeks time and me going to be on the biggest gardening programme me a chance to go to bloom. If to say I had a good sleep was an understatement. Now I had to figure out how am I going to keep this a secret for the next couple of weeks and where in the country will I end up and what families garden will I wreck. The answers would only be a few weeks time

Episode 3 Dublin And Meet My Fellow Contestants And Know My Family

So a day or two had passed when I got my time table for RTE super garden. And first up was another trip up to Dublin. And back to VIP for what would be the last time I would go there. So it was a Thursday I made the trip up to Dublin and into visions office. I went up the stairs and into a room where I met the super garden team. First off was Declan Jones then Karen Kennedy and Brittny Heinrich plus I got to meet the other four contestants . On the table were cakes and treats I remember as VIP were filming Operation Transformation at the time. So we were getting stuff that they had filmed for that show. It was either that or they were trying to butter us up for what was to come. So on to the four designers and first off was Darren Joyce from Dublin who is planning to design a Mediterranean garden for a middle eastern family in the foothills of the Dublin mountains . Catriona Hassett and her dreams of bringing Ayers Rock to the heart of Tipperary Catriona was from Limerick and her family the Egan's in Nenagh . Next up was Joanna o Brien from Cork and her design in Cork then we had Eastern Europe coming to West Dublin with Tzvetanka McFadden from Bulgaria who took on the challenge of giving the Byrne family from Harold's Cross a garden tribute to five generations of family . So that was the 2018 RTE Super Garden fab four garden designers I would battle it out with for my chance at winning super garden and going to Bloom in June and then there was me a no body from the small town of Carrick on Suir and where was my garden and who were my family. So I got my email when I was up there with the other four about our families and our gardens and my family were from Limerick. At first I went mad and with talking to the other four and with them telling me how close they were from there gardens and my garden being miles away I was mad believe me I was marching down to the room where we talked to the super garden team and tell them this cant happen. But little did I know the family I had being giving would be the the making of me and the best family I could have being giving. So where was it well let me tell you. Around 20.8km from Tipperary Town pass Emily is Hospital in Co Limerick. This small village situated in the townland of Barrysfarm . The family that did not know who was about to turn up at there door. My family was the Hartnett family Niall and Natalie and there four kids Gavin , Charlie , Alex , and Jade so on a Saturday afternoon I turned up at there house and rang there doorbell. The welcoming I got was just special. I taught first off they seem such a warm kind family and from the first second they welcomed me into there family. I then was asked would I like a tea or a coffee and here is me saying I drink lattes I would say they taught posh twat. But the kind family they were Niall went out and bought a packet of Lattes and that would not be the last box he would get as I went through there fab house to there garden and what was a weird shaped garden but thank god all that was in there garden was swings and and a trampoline that would give me nightmares and this what can only look like sheep's fencing along the path. Plus me thinking would my design work for them. I was giving a brief Natalie wanted a space where she could sit a chill out with a coffee ( glass of wine ) and Niall would love that wildlife area as he was a guy that was big into birds and other wildlife. But the one thing that was clear and would end up down the line being something talked about a lot was there trampoline as Gavin was very big into trampoline gymnastics and from the photos on the wall very talented . So after outstaying my welcome ( only joking ) I headed home and set on working on the design that first off the three Super Garden judges would like and might get me to bloom next up is meeting them the RTE super garden judges but most importantly I need to make my design work for the Hartnett family and there 4 lovely kids and two dogs. After at first not being happy with where my garden was to now be so glad to have listened to the super garden team and mostly Brittny where she told me when I meet my family I will see why I was picked to go here and why it was the right family and she was every bit right this was the start of something special a bond that would end up being a bond for life that the next four weeks would have its ups and downs its moments there would be tears but also smiles . The next four weeks would be a roller-coaster ride that me and the family would not forget and also I get to meet a true legend Billy Higgins and his lovely wife Ber. Let the super garden games begin.

Episode 4 The Design And Meeting The Judges

So the next stop on my Super Garden journey was doing out my design for the 3 amigos I mean judges. So I sat down and got my thinking hat on. The judges wanted a planting plan an 3d drawing and an over seeing drawing of my design. Plus something that might wow both the judges and the family . I also got some advice from a fellow designer . This was going to be tough there was a few designs going around in my head from this mad garden design of making the trampoline would be partly sunken so one part have a lawn at same level and the other side would have a lower section that would have an turfed area with mounts that kids could go under or lay on top with square light up cube seats and a sail canopy for shade at the other side where the lawn is at the same level as the trampoline would have a another sunken area where large planting would hide it so the adults could go and chill out where it would be Mediterranean planting scheme would surround 2 half moon seats with a fire pit table in the middle and another canopy for shade. This is a design that will haunt me for years to come and still does. After talking to my friend she said it was going away from the brief and i would get slated by the judges. I should stick to the brief so that design that up till now only two people knew about . So it was back to the drawing board. And this is my design a sunken circled area with a timber crannog and surrounded by a wild Irish planting scheme and that planting flows around the trampoline to a small raised lawn area. This would be called first Torc Garden and later changed to Tranquilty a name that my partner at the time named . So with all drawings done all notes down next up was trip to Dublin and to the fabulous Orlagh house . On a sunny Friday morning the 16th of March . Me and my partner got on the train from Waterford and headed to Dublin. We arrived up at Dublin train station where we got the Luas out to Tallaght and then we stopped a cab to take us to Orlagh house which was situated in Rathfarnham. We arrived to be met by the VIP team to chat and find out the plan for the afternoon. I got my mic put on me and then went for makeup I will never forget the lady that done makeup as she is sadly not with us any more but she was such a kind caring person. My partner drank tea and chatted with her while me and my runner started off my day with filming the walk scenes. I done a few till we got them right these were to be where I walk towards the judges room . After we had them done I went back to the holding room to where my partner was and she had asked me how was it to my replay great they said I had the walk of a model which did not go down well but in a good way we laughed about it . So my runner then asked me would I like tea or coffee. I said I would love a latte but this time I had no Niall to come to my rescue but my lovely runner said she would drive to a shop for one for me. So back she came latte and donut in hand no soon had I took a sip I was called to shoot the judges scenes so first I was to film me just walking in and sitting down in front of them. I walked in to what i could only call this stunning room and said hi to them then went over behind all the cameras where I would get my cue to walk over and sit down and just say hi and this took a couple shots . The next part of filming was the scene I dreaded the most I had to film me talking about my design to them so in front of me was all my drawings and the famous three Gary Graham manager of Bord Bias Bloom and chairman of the Super Garden judges then Brian Burke a previous winner of Super Garden and last Monica Alvarez as the Dulux Exteriors representative. So we filmed this scene which was tough to hear some of the comments but also some were positive but it also had me thinking was my design the right one should I have stuck to my first design since that design was like my design that got me on to the programme in the first place being bold . But that was too late now i had to stick to my guns and believe in what I had designed I had to believe in Tranquilty. We filmed the walking out scene took some photos and that was it I was done. I went back out to the waiting room to my partner to tell her how it had gone. We then made or journey back to the train station in Dublin got a bite to eat and made the train trip back to Waterford and get home and see if any changes were to be made to my design. As Gary had told me do something with the trampoline but what and should I change only time will tell .

Episode 5 First Day In Garden

Well here we are after all the talk I get to the first day of the build of my Super Garden there is no turning back now . So after a restless night I am up very early 4am on Monday the 19th of March 2018 and head to pick up my mini digger guy the one and only Chris Mackey who I know from my work days with Paul o Gorman. I pick him up at his home in Clonea Power and we head off to Hospital in Co Limerick. The nerves are kicking in big time as the sun rises we stop for a coffee in Tipperary Town . Then take this small road if you can even call it a road pass places like Emily till we get to a sign Hospital. So at the first turn to the right we enter into a small avenue and yes I know I was here before but that time I just taught I was visiting some friends and this time it was serious . So me and Chris went in to meet everyone and today we also had the producer Declan Jones my cameraman and a mini digger . But first we had to get my microphone on me and film my opening chat before Chris got working his magic . And we had already got off to a bad start with my producer as I was not meant of shown the family the drawings of my garden design I was only meant to show them today film them seeing them but oh bold me I had shown them the day I came up to meet them so yes we had to film me shown the plans to a really shocked family for what was only meant to be there first time and believe me we were very good actors here so on to the garden. First off tearing down the wire fence and taking apart the kids swing set which was not easy . After all was cleared Chris started to dig up this poor families garden right in front of there eyes and me in my hi vis looking on with a cameraman filming me and yes my dream was coming true I am on RTE Super Garden. But stop the horses my producer we had started digging and never filmed me marking out the garden so over in a small untouched tiny piece of lawn out came the yellow marking spray just let on we were marking the spot Chris was digging while over the far side Chris had the garden dug up oops I am sorry Declan . At this time i get to meet Natalie’s parents the one and only legend that is Billy and his wife Ber . Well then around 10am we get a call from Natalie to say breakfast was on the table and I taught wow I have landed on my feet here first day and we are getting a full fry up cooked for us and let me tell you Natalie’s famous eggs my god her eggs are excellent just spot on the right texture the right flavour ok the rest of her breakfast is good too . So after everyone was fed we went back out in the sun to let Chris work more of his magic while then I ran into another problem and not with the garden my work boots were falling apart so I had to get Ber to come with me and show me where I could buy a pair of work boots . So as we walked out to van we were chatting till Ber started pointing at my mic yep lets not say too much about anyone . So we travelled a few miles outside of Hospital to a co op and after waiting nearly hour for all the famers to buy there cattle feed and have there chats like its mart day. I got to buy my new work boots and headed back to the garden only for my cameraman to make a fuss and want film me talking about where I had gone and film my old boots and new boots yep i do think the Irish viewer will want to hear all about my boots. So on the day went Chis flying with Billy and the laser level we were making some great progress everyone was smiling and laughing in the sun. As the day was brought to a close and after being fed a mighty breakfast and sandwiches oh and don’t forget the lattes which i got through a box of and after Declan and my cameraman had gone me Chris and the family sat down for a chat and look forward to tomorrow where we will start again on another day on my Super Garden journey

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