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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formal rose gardens, roses, box hedging, pots, paths, stonework

Visit to Ballintubbert gardens

[caption id="attachment_5169" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The grand canal water feature at Ballintubbert[/caption] In the summer, our design studio took a study tour to visit some gardens across the southwest of Ireland.  En route to Cork, we stopped to have a look at a fascinating, complex, garden that has recently been reinvigorated near Stradbally in Co. Laois. Ballintubbert House, is a garden of around 14 acres, consisting of multiple garden ’rooms’ of various sizes, surrounding a Georgian manor house.  It is documented that pilgrimages were made to Ballintubbert (the name comes from the Irish...

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garden, designs, Australian, plants, irish, gardens, acacia

Gardens and plants from down under!

Much of the time, we take our trees and plants for granted, never thinking too deeply about where they are from.  I have mentioned the importance of native plants in several previous blogs but in our modern Irish landscape, we see plants from every part of the world. One of the most striking plant groups are those from the Antipodes (continent of Australia and New Zealand). When we think of Australian plants, possibly the best known is the Eucalyptus for its striking bark and grey-blue foliage and bright flowers.  Many large...

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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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Seminar Promotion: The Designed Garden – An unfinished canvas

As a full Member of the GLDA,  Tim Austen garden designs are proud to promote the upcoming 22nd International Garden Design Seminar to be held on Saturday 17th February 2018 at Crowne Plaza Dublin, Northwood Park, Santry, Dublin 9.  Synopsis As designers and gardeners, we are very aware that our gardens are only as good as their subsequent maintenance. Every time we prune and clip and cultivate in an effort to maintain control, we are forcibly reminded of the dynamic and unpredictability of Mother Nature. Much focus is given to show gardens and instant makeovers, but...

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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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planting, water feature, garden design, irish, designer, plants, planting

It’s all about the plants, the plants!

One thing that strikes me, when I think of the portfolio of gardens that we have designed and installed this year, is that whilst the practical aspects of the design are of the utmost importance - surfaces, levels, materials selection are all key parts of garden design that I spend a great deal of time pondering about and which are needed to make the garden work - the selection and planting of the gardens at the end of the construction period still remains the most satisfying.  Furthermore, it is this...

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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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