GLAS Special: Busy times for ALCI members
Ross Carew, executive secretary with ALCI, discusses industry issues, member success at Bloom, and the ALCI Landscape Awards.
18 July 2019
by Julia O’Reilly
Despite the poor weather this summer, most Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland (ALCI) members have found themselves busier than ever, as demand for landscaping services from private and commercial sectors grows.
Yet the biggest issue facing the industry today is the availability of suitable staff. In fact, some members have had to turn down work due to a lack of manpower. While this problem is also shared by the construction industry, its higher pay-rates can attract candidates.
This inevitably leads to price inflation in the sector, as landscape contractors raise their rates and pursue the most profitable jobs, then increase their pay rates to attract and retain good staff.
ALCI members’ success at Bloom
ALCI members once again enjoyed great success at Bloom this year.
The overall show garden award went to Alan Rudden, founder of Outside Options, for his Argentinian themed Vina Doña Paula – A Matter of Altitude garden.
Urban garden designer, Kevin Dennis, Cityscape Gardener, won his fourth gold medal this year for his FBD Insurance sponsored Urban Sanctuary garden. The aim was to inspire those living in towns or cities to engage with outdoors spaces.
Owner of Creative Landscaping Works, Paddy McDermott, won the Super Garden Viewers Choice award at Bloom. The win follows his stint on the RTÉ show, where he created a contemporary family-friendly garden for the Kellys in Letterkenny.
ALCI Landscape Awards
Often referred to as the Oscars of the landscape industry, the ALCI awards celebrate the high standards of professionalism and skill in the delivery of commercial, private, and public gardens as well as landscapes and sports grounds.
Peter O’Brien & Sons Landscaping Ltd won big this year. The Dublin-based family business was named Landscape Contractor of the Year for 2019 and received the Bog Oak trophy for their Adare Manor Hotel entry.
As part of Adare Manor’s extensive refurbishment in 2017, Peter O’Brien & Sons completed all soft landscaping elements within the 840-acre site. This included all gardens, parklands, riversides, carparks, courtyards, the roof garden, and some of the golf club.
Managed by Gregg Fanning, the operation involved establishing a nursery and procuring locally sourced soil, along with the transport and installation of over 150 mature trees, 225 topiary plants, 5,000 herbaceous species, 1,700 hedging plants, 10,000 clipped Taxus shrubs, 30,000 transplants and 500,000 metres squared of cultivating and seeding.
Gary Graham, ALCI awards judge and Bord Bia’s Bloom manager said the “stunning landscape at Adare Manor is testament to the skill and experience which Peter O’Brien & Sons have in abundance. . . the finished estate features a huge amount of clever planting and spectacular mature trees which were sourced and transplanted from Irish nurseries.”
He also called attention to climate change, specifically the impact that extreme weather conditions have on our gardens: “This is where professional horticulturalists, such as ALCI members, really come into their own in using their skills to adapt the landscape to meet changing environments,” he said.