Foraging for food – the good, the bad and the ugly, part 1

Whilst undertaking a road survey recently, I came across a super example of "food-for-free" in the Irish countryside when this apple tree presented its fruits to me. [caption id="attachment_3354" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Wild Irish apple tree![/caption] This native Irish apple tree is growing right alongside the N6 motorway in Westmeath and is a fantastic example of the bounties that our hedgerows and woodlands can offer us in the autumn.  All we have to do is look what's around us and we have the best natural foods available in our own countryside. [caption id="attachment_3356" align="aligncenter"...

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Great autumn perennial plants – Joe Pye Weed

I was delighted to catch Carol Klein extolling the delights of the Eupatorium plant on BBC's Gardeners' World this week having just selected the fantastic variety Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum 'Atropurpureum' or Purple Joe Pye weed for a client of mine. [caption id="attachment_3341" align="aligncenter" width="585"] Eupatorium purpureum (Purple Joe Pye Weed) - pic. taken at Gardenworld[/caption] I was looking for an autumn flowering perennial with impact, suited to a heavy (wet, slightly acidic) soil.  This seems to be the ideal tall flowering perennial.  The flowers are pinky-purple in colour, slightly unusual (not...

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Musings on using water in the contemporary garden

Splish, splash, splosh: the tradition of using water in the garden goes back thousands of years. I have waxed hydrologically about the importance of water in garden design before and it is something that continues to excite and inspire me - from the Persian paradise gardens of the middle east via the Moorish gardens of Spain, the Italianate Villas and French classicism all these celebrate the beauty, movement and sheer refreshment that water can add to a garden scene (or indeed placed water firmly at the centre of the garden...

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Using plants to divide up and create an interesting garden space

Just mulling over something I come across repeatedly on garden consultation visits which is that many gardeners are under confident when it comes to extending planting from the boundaries of the garden inwards. [caption id="attachment_3268" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Typical dreary garden scene in Ireland - basically lawn and devoid of plants[/caption] I am not sure why this is exactly: perhaps it is because they are afraid that if the plants don't do well that their mistakes will be too visible or maybe they just feel that plants have no place in a garden’s...

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Garden canopy

This super Irish summer (with temperatures having been well in to the mid-20s (0C) with clear blue skies for quite some weeks now - SWEET!) has put me in mind of our Bloom 2009 garden, best in show garden - The Garden Lounge. [caption id="attachment_3170" align="aligncenter" width="614"] The Garden Lounge, Bloom 2009 gold medal winner and best in show by Tim Austen[/caption] The temperatures then too were scorchingly hot and perfectly suited that garden with its relaxed outdoor living theme.  And we Irish, whilst craving the sun, are not really, truthfully, comfortable being sun-worshippers...

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Garden party at Gardenworld, Kilquade this weekend!

[caption id="attachment_3156" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Garden party at Gardenworld, Kilquade[/caption] Delighted to be involved in the charity garden party to be held this weekend at Gardenworld, Kilquade for what promises to be a fun day out for all the family. We are sponsoring my garden "The Riverside Retreat" for the day and Camelia Austen is also doing a flower demo at three o'clock with the flower arrangements being raffled afterwards (all proceeds going to the two charities).  ...

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Construction story at Bloom in the park – Giardino della mostra

Ok, so things just got way too busy at Bloom to give you the rest of the updates on construction.  Apologies!  We obviously finished on time, thanks to huge efforts and ridiculously long hours over many days from all the team involved - I think we broke my previous record for length of time on site at Bloom on any one day with a cracking 17 hours of work put in by 12 people on the Thursday - but it was all worth it as we had a great show with...

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My bloom journey is underway!

[caption id="attachment_3060" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Giardino della mostra by Tim Austen for Bloom 2013[/caption] I am all of a flutter about Bloom 2013 having just uploaded the details about my show garden on to the official Bloom in the park website and apparently there are only 30 days to go before the event opens! Giardino della mostra or “garden of exhibits,”  - I think it reads wonderfully in Italian and I look forward to hearing it enunciated by Italian visitors to the show - is a County Wicklow inspired garden supported by Gardenworld,...

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Garden design enrichment – get it now!

A timely reminder, if you don’t mind, that the seminal Irish garden design event of 2013 (Bloom in the Park excepted) is taking place this weekend in Blanchardstown, Dublin. If you live in Ireland or indeed the UK and you are interested in what’s new in garden design then I would urge you to attend the Garden and Landscape Design Association's seminar Simply Gardens…Design Inspiration for your Soul’. This is the seventeenth successive annual design gathering held by the GLDA, which is no mean feat in these straightened times. [caption id="attachment_3034" align="aligncenter" width="413"]...

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