Long meadow grass in the garden

“To mow, or not to mow:  that is the question.”

Should the month of May be the only time that we leave our garden spaces to grow long? I may have embellished Hamlet’s infamous opening line in his soliloquy; however, I find some relevance to the current discussions and or pressures of undertaking: ‘No Mow May’. There is truth and so many benefits to leaving areas of your lawns and grassy areas grow long for May. By hitting the pause button, we are allowing our grassy spaces to mature to their full untapped potential. You’d be surprised how many hidden gems in the...

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A well placed rock can create a focal point in a garden design, can act as a garden seat or simply complement garden planting

This Rocks!

The humble rock, stones, boulders; whatever you want to call them, we are surrounded by these features daily either as natural or constructed features. Be it the pebbles on the beach or a cobblestoned Temple Bar, rocks have an undeniable omnipresence. However, they are perhaps overlooked as a garden feature. Here are some of the elements that one could consider when planning to use stone in a garden design. Use of stone to create interest and contrast in one of my small garden designs in Dublin The above picture of a garden...

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garden, design, water, lights, pergola, planting

Going with the flow: Incorporating water features into your garden

Creating joy with water features What do we think when we think of water? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is that we need it to survive. It keeps us alive. One could also take a more metaphorical point of view, that of peace, a cool refreshing dip in a rippleless, crystal-clear body of water. Be it metaphorical or literal, it is an integral part of our existence and this notion of life and movement can manifest itself beautifully in a water feature. A nature inspired pond in a tranquil...

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garden, design, colour, splash, big, blue, pot, feature

Crazy about colour!

It may sound obvious but colour in the garden can come from both the plants themselves but also the materials that we construct the garden from.  The colours that we choose to use in our gardens can have both personal significance related to our experiences, whether obvious or subconscious memories, but may reflect deeper meanings related to the societies in which we live.  There are also historical associations with certain colours and some have political and religious connotations e.g. red for Labour Day or green for St. Patrick’s Day.  Human...

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wildlife, gardens, design, gardening, designer, wild, areas

Bring in the bugs!

In Ireland, the spring has been slow to start this year, as we have experienced unseasonably low temperatures throughout March.  Now, in early April it finally feels like it is underway: the sap is rising in the trees and the first leaves are breaking bud, daffodils are blooming and temperatures are rising. [caption id="attachment_5095" align="alignnone" width="1024"] View out to the garden (from my Inspiration from Mount Usher garden)[/caption] We hope, at this time of year, to be able to move from the house into the garden to enjoy the first warming rays...

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European gardens, garden, tours, Italian, villas, houses

Taking your Garden to new heights!

Dealing with Levels in Garden Design In a board or card game, sometimes it can feel like you have been dealt the worst possible hand and yet sometimes starting from a seeming position of disadvantage can actually see the game play into your hands; as it unfolds new opportunities arise that you did not think were possible, you get creative, you exploit and then you come out on top.  In garden design, we are sometimes dealt these difficult hands, none perhaps more so than the steeply sloping site.  Yet, with a...

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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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garden furniture, design, front, seating, gravel, dublin

Mood boosting gardens!

Sometimes a simple clean up of your garden with some new planting, perhaps, a small feature added can give you a sense of achievement which can be seriously mood boosting.  Think about when you give one of the rooms in your house a new lick of paint, rearranged the furniture or changed the curtains - the sense of self-satisfaction can be quite strong and often the rest of the family appreciate the new look  - especially if the makeover has been for one of the teen's bedrooms.  Don't get me wrong, I am...

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house extension, garden design, gardens, makeover, home improvements, gardening, home, extension

Garden extension

In the current Irish housing market, many people are adding extensions to their homes rather than moving to add value to their properties, add more space etc.  I'm in that bracket myself with my kids becoming teenagers, suddenly the house seems much smaller than it did a few years ago.  But retired couples may also want to make space for visitors and give themselves the nice large, sitting room that they have always dreamed about. The architects design concepts often involve nice views to the garden with floor to ceiling windows,...

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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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