Meet the team - Daniel
Daniel is the newest addition to the Mid Ulster dream team. He has worked in the landscape industry for several years and now he helps to manage the wonderful displays and make everything go smoothly. He is available in-store to answer your gardening questions.
Mrs Bloom: What are you working on at the moment?
Daniel: I'm developing the garden hardware room. It's an area where we store fertilisers, work tools and sprays. One of my favourite products is here, the organic liquid seaweed fertiliser. I love the idea that the sea plants gives to land plants and land plants give to other living creatures. Gardening is an object lesson in balance and harmony, giving and sharing.
My favourite book is called "The Giving Tree". It is about the relationship between a boy and an apple tree, how much the tree selflessly provides for the boy, even though the boy was not aware. It is a story that is rich in symbolism. You can treat each tree as a life story with a distinct narrative. Its life begins as a seed; planting a tree is bearing witness to the narrative slowly unfold in front of your eyes. As you nurture it and becomes its custodian, you also become aware of the 'give and take' that is key to this narrative: The soil provides nutrients to the tree, we take care cultivating it, and in return the tree provides food and sanctuary to insects, bird life and us. See this cherry tree? It will bear fruits in the summer, with which we can make a cherry pie and share with our neighbours. A tree teaches us the art of giving.
"In fact,you can treat each tree as a life story with a distinct narrative...as you nurture it and become its custodian, you also become aware of the reciprocity that is key to this narrative."
Mrs Bloom: You told me that silver birch is your favourite. Why silver birch?
Daniel: I like the impacting colour of the bark, which can fit well in lots of different landscapes. A close contender is the beech: it is the only deciduous tree which keeps its leaves all year round, shedding old leaves only after new ones have grown. Here is a tree that wears its clothes throughout the year!
Mrs Bloom: I love your take on gardening and the cycle of life. How did you develop this outlook?
Daniel: My parents have always had a garden. When I was still in short trousers they gave me projects to do, making miniature gardens in a biscuit tin or one small corner of the garden. The seeds of gardening were sown in my heart at an early stage! Gardening, in addition to my other major hobby, surfing on the North Coast, has taught me we are all part of a larger creation. We need to bear responsibility for respecting our place in the master-plan, and learning from nature is a key part of the process.
Mrs Bloom: Can concepts such as environmentalism can be imparted through a lifelong gardening culture. But how do we get people gardening again?
Daniel: For me, exploring new approaches to gardening is the key to (re)discovering the joy of gardening, and I try to get people to think more creatively. When customers approach me for recommendations I find it useful to get to know them a bit: Who is the best gardener in the family? What do the children think of gardening? What is the main colour tone of the house? Which area do they live? I enjoy encouraging people to take a sense of responsibility for their garden where they are free to experience the fruitfulness and joy of gardening. "A space that grows" - doesn't this pretty much summarise what we do?