‘To boldly go’ – being brave with garden design

[caption id="attachment_3429" align="aligncenter" width="259"] Powerscourt Church, Enniskerry Photo from Parish of Powerscourt website[/caption] Enniskerry Garden Club talk Really looking forward to a return visit to see my friends at the Enniskerry Gardening Club tomorrow evening when I shall be delivering a talk. I will be explaining how to revamp an existing garden with a new design.  I will look at the garden design process and how the professional garden designer's approach can be applied to any garden situation. I will illustrate my talk using garden design projects in which I have overhauled existing gardens...

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Emeralds and the gathering

Gardening trends Gardening, like other design-related professions has its trends.  Sometimes these are created by the horticultural industry itself through clever marketing campaigns.  At other times these fashions reflect wider shifts in the way society is thinking, an example being the recent move towards gardens with a grow-it-yourself element, something of which I am very supportive of as you are well aware. Have  we missed an opportunity with Ireland's "The Gathering" to celebrate our greeness? One thing I am surprised about is that the Irish gardening profession, as a whole, has not capitalised...

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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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Sculptural and striking garden seat!

[caption id="attachment_2925" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Really cool and purty garden seat in my Bloom 2011 show garden - clothes from Arnotts, flowers from Austen flowers if you are wondering[/caption] When I first saw the images of these steel garden seats on Alex Moore's website: www.mooredesigns.co.uk, I just had to have one in my show garden at Bloom 2011!  With such an impressive catalogue of designs and some of them having already featured at the Chelsea flower show, I knew it was time to bring one of these hot benches to Ireland.  After all,...

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Tree stakes and ties

[caption id="attachment_2898" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Small tree with adjustable tie[/caption] We are all feeling a bit battered by the recent strong winds here in Ireland.  Spare a thought then for your garden trees, some of which will have felt the worst effects of the wind with branches lost or, worse still, their central leaders (main stems) having snapped. Others may have had their roots torn out of the ground. Good staking of young trees will help to avoid such unfortunate outcomes and will assist a tree through its early establishment years. Although I have...

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Coppicing trees in the garden and coppice woodlands

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Mature coppice in Herefordshire[/caption] Whilst I was working with the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) a number of years ago (quite a number actually!), I completed a super training course in woodland crafts at the Greenwood Trust in Ironbridge, Shropshire.  Since then, I am in the habit of advocating coppicing not only as a useful and productive way of managing woodlands (of all sizes) but also as a method for controlling the size of trees  in small gardens, especially where space is at a premium but the...

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How to decide what sort of garden design you want

Would you like to overhaul your garden but don’t know where to start? Well, if you are at this point, you will have already recognised that redesigning your garden is going to bring you benefits, such as an improved quality of life and perhaps an increase to the value of your property but how do you sort out the mixed tangle of emotions and ideas that you have attached to the project in to a coherent design plan? Luckily, when you employ a professional garden designer this is exactly what they do...

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What sizes of paving slab to use in your garden design?

So you have picked out your paving stone but what size of slab do you go for? The size of your paving slabs will obviously be determined by the look that you are trying to achieve.  I find that as a general rule-of-thumb, smaller sizes will work best for more intricate designs. I also feel that it is best to use a single type of paving but to avoid monotony another material can be added to frame or subtly divide up an area or to provide a contrast with the main material. ...

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