a rose can make a simple colour statement that is at once unforgettable

Colourful language: The importance of colour to garden design

As we head into the summer months, we can recognise that this is a peak time for colour within garden design. Roses make a graceful reappearance, geums sprout up playfully from the ground and lavender blesses us with its quasi-addictive scent once more. While an abundance of colour is a feast for the eyes, it is important to consider the way in which it is incorporated into our garden design to maximise its efficacy. Use of Alliums in my own garden to provide a colour statement; the colour is the more...

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planting, gardening, gardens, plants, planting, design, special shrubs

Good garden design can be as simple as getting the right plant in the right place

Whilst last week, we looked at some of the graceful floral forerunners of the spring, such as Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis and Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis, if we design our gardens carefully there are other specialist plants that occur naturally at other levels and locations, which can provide us with charming sights and scents. [caption id="attachment_5054" align="alignnone" width="903"] White Helleborus orientalis in bloom in February[/caption] A plant that has been “on-the-go” for quite some time in milder gardens, but which is about to enter its key bloom period, is the Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis...

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Snowdrops, bulbs, planting, gardens, irish, design

Little winter wonders to warm the gardener’s spirits

The brave snowdrop flower provides on of the first signs of life in the garden, as it emerges from its winter slumber. Snowdrops, Galanthus species, are part of the Amaryllidaceae family, having long stems, graceful extended leaves and beautifully rounded, drop-like flowers. Beautiful little snowdrop, Galanthus "Victor" with "Sickle" sketched Snowdrops look as stunning in small individual groups as they do when combined with other bulbs, such as Cyclamen or Eranthis. They create a sparkling display when they are naturalised in grassland and woodland.   They also grow well in marginal grassed areas, in...

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planting design, gardening, plants, design

Keep gardening, the more so in retirement!

A couple of things have made me think about how important gardens and gardening are to the retired. Firstly, looking at the way my parents have enjoyed developing a brand new garden in County Kerry (from scratch) and how this has in many ways defined many of their recreational habits and interests in their retirement, from attending the local garden group, to plant hunting their favourite plants from nurseries in Ireland and the UK to physically spending pleasurable hours in the garden undertaking all sorts of frenetic horticultural activity; it sometimes...

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garden, plants, gardening, gardens, foxglove, digitalis

Striking garden plants!

This Digitalis purpurea 'Alba' is well over 1.5m tall and making a real statement in a central spot in my garden right now. Fabulous amongst grasses or en masse, foxgloves are a perennial favourite. (albeit a biannual flower) in both show gardens and natural spaces. Fantastic in woodland gardens too! [caption id="attachment_4907" align="aligncenter" width="576"] White foxglove[/caption] A great plant at this time of year when whites are so prevalent before the stronger colours of other plants start to dominate....

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beautiful, garden plants, must haves, iris, scent, colour, form

Iris Beauty

Fabulous blue iris is at its peak in my garden at the moment. What a colour and it has a knock out scent too! Even in a small garden it is worth finding a spot for a strong germanica (bearded iris) variety. There are a huge range of colours to choose from too! [caption id="attachment_4910" align="alignnone" width="683"] A beautiful blue bearded Iris, great in an Irish garden![/caption]...

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Fresh foliage provides fabulous effects in the garden!

At this time of year when new shoots are starting to emerge from the soil as bulbs and perennials push skywards, it is good to think about the kinds of effects we want to get from leaves, branches and stems as part of our planting overall compositions; how these might serve to highlight the flowers.   [caption id="attachment_3855" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Foliage combination in one of my show gardens at Bloom (2008)[/caption] Ask a good florist and they will tell you how important the foliage can be alongside the key blooms in any given arrangement; the...

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