Sunday 15 September 2019

'Courier driving in the snowy Canada winter was my worst job'

My money

Kevin Dennis is a multi-award winning garden designer who has designed the FBD showgarden - the 'Urban Sanctuary Garden' - for this weekend's Bloom Festival
Kevin Dennis is a multi-award winning garden designer who has designed the FBD showgarden - the 'Urban Sanctuary Garden' - for this weekend's Bloom Festival Newsdesk Newsdesk

Kevin Dennis is a multi-award-winning garden designer who has designed the FBD showgarden - the 'Urban Sanctuary Garden' - for this weekend's Bloom Festival. He was awarded a gold medal for that garden last Thursday.

Born in Canada to Irish parents, Dennis moved to Ireland when he was a young child. He lives in Dublin with his wife Annette and their two children. Dennis, who runs his own gardening business - Cityscape Gardener - has won three gold medals at previous Bloom festivals. For more information on the Bloom Festival, which runs in the Phoenix Park until early tomorrow evening, visit

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What's the most important lesson about money which your career in gardening has taught you?

It has taught me plenty of lessons, as I built the business from the ground up during the downturn. Some of the most important lessons I've learned are to make sure suppliers are paid on time - and that in this line of business, you have to earn respect and keep relationships healthy within your trade.

The best advice you ever got about money?

Stay out of debt and only borrow if you can afford to pay it back. That's what my folks said and it created a 'work hard, save hard' ethic in me which has served me well ever since.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

Venice was expensive, but it's on par with Paris. When you pay over €10 for a coffee, the view better be fantastic.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

The last pound coin because it was massive - so you really felt loaded when you had a few in your pocket. I liked the simple design too - a red deer on the front and the Irish harp on the back.

What's the most expensive thing about being a parent?

Let me answer that when they go to college. I have two kids and they don't ask for much to be honest. My biggest outgoings [as a parent] at the moment are towards our annual family holiday.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

When I was younger, I remember saving up for a dream electric guitar while living in Toronto.

What was your worst job?

Courier driving in the snowy, Canadian winter. It was freezing.

Are you better off than your parents?

Yes, because I have had more opportunities - both growing up and in my later years - than my parents have had. They are very happy all the same though.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do with the money?

Build my dream home. I would buy land in Dublin and design the coolest, contemporary high-tech sustainable home with amazing gardens surrounding it, including on the roof.

iTunes or Spotify?

I really like Spotify, as there is huge access to so many artists and it is great in our house on our Sonos system [wireless home sound system]. I recently went back to records though and last year, I pulled out all of my old albums and hooked up a nice Pioneer turntable. I find that I am more inclined to listen to full albums when listening to a record.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Some lights for the Bloom show garden which I built for FBD. I needed to hang pendant lights over an outdoor dining table. I was unable to find them in any lighting design shop but, luckily, I found exactly what I needed online.

Would you buy property now?

I used to think property was a solid investment but I am against the idea since the downturn. The whole homeless crisis has put a new light on property and the attitude that we have towards it. In reality, can we put an affordable roof over everyone's head and still keep investors interested in the rental market?

Are you a materialistic person?

Not really. I know I like cars with badges [big brand cars], but I wouldn't drive one.

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