Mossy marvels on an Irish woodland floor

As a garden designer, I seek to take inspiration from nature whenever I can.  Last weekend, I took these photos on a lovely walk through a coniferous woodland in Wicklow.  Although the wood was predominantly commercial evergreen species, there were some deciduous species, such as, Birch and Beech  present and understory trees like Holly here and there.  But the most striking thing about this woodland was the beautiful carpet of spongy moss spread throughout. [caption id="attachment_477" align="aligncenter" width="574"] Mossy woodland floor[/caption] [caption id="attachment_484" align="aligncenter" width="594"] Moss close up[/caption] It reminded me that I...

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Unexpected flowers!

[caption id="attachment_439" align="aligncenter" width="617" caption="Patty's Plum Poppy"][/caption] I am both delighted and amazed that this beautiful Poppy Patty's Plum  (Papaver orientale) has just flowered in my garden - it's October in Ireland!  This poppy featured in our Bloom 2009 Gold medal winning garden (see pic. below) and was a real crowd pleaser.  But that was early June.  It has been quite a mild summer/autumn but pretty dull and overcast so I am not quite sure why this poppy has just flowered.  But what a joy, and a beautiful reminder of the...

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The Herb Garden

[caption id="attachment_407" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Herb garden in Farmleigh House walled garden[/caption] In Irish gardening, there is a major trend towards “Grow-Your-Own” fruits and vegetables.  This is for a variety of reasons including: wanting to know where our food comes from, cost-saving, taste and experimentation as well as the satisfaction that comes with nurturing and producing our own food.  There is something primal about this too. Many garden designers have long understood the productive side of gardening and encouraged their clients in this area.  This new general trend has obviously made this easier,...

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Our Bloom 2011 entry: The Growise Garden

Tim Austen's  fourth Bloom show garden entry, The Growise Garden sponsored by Bord na Mona (Growise) and the Kildare Growers plant and tree experts is under construction in the beautiful show area at the Phoenix Park visitor centre. [caption id="attachment_363" align="alignnone" width="539" caption="Tim Austen designed Growise garden for Bloom 2011"][/caption] This colourful garden space is designed to inspire creativity with its contrasting rustic and modern materials and it is also a garden retreat with its beautiful hand-crafted stack-wood gazebo (made from sustainably sourced Irish timber) providing a garden getaway amongst the beautiful...

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Super Garden returns to our screens

Super Garden, Ireland's garden design X-factor returns to our screens tonight and is currently Ireland's most watched garden design programme.   [caption id="attachment_319" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Super Garden judges, Tim, Gary and Paddy mean business!"][/caption] The brand new series features five up and coming Irish garden designers competing to showcase their garden creations at this year's 2011 Bloom Festival.  The designers are mentored by garden designer Mary Reynolds and the judges are: for show quality,  Gary Graham (Bloom organiser); for plants, Paddy Gleeson (plantsman); and I am judging the design content...

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How to build you garden design

When you have put all that hard work in to completing your garden design to the client's satisfaction the next step for you, as a designer and consultant, is to make sure that your design is constructed in the way that you have designed it!  Ideally this should be achieved with the minimum amount of fuss and to the client's budget. This is the topic that I used to form the basis of last Saturday's workshop conducted on behalf of the Garden and Landscape Designers Association as part of their annual...

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Tim talks showgardens at the North West Garden Show

On the 8th March, Tim Austen will be speaking about garden design at the launch meeting of this year's North West Garden Show in Donegal.  This will be the second year of the highly successful garden show that attracted 10,000 visitors last year. Organised by the Castlefinn Partnership Initiative, a network of community and voluntary organisations, the show will be held on the 28th and 29th May 2011. Tim will be appearing as a special guest of the show along with TV gardening superstar Diarmuid Gavin....

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Minister John Gormley visits Harbour View Community Garden

As promised on Twitter, I am delighted to report that Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley TD's visit to the community garden was a great success yesterday. Allotment holders turned out in force to meet the Minister and show off our gardening skills...

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