great, gardens, Catalonia, Guell, Parc, steep, slopes, landscape design, garden design history

Taking a Step into the New Year… and the Garden

As we step into the new year, the topic of steps is in our mind; not the British pop band from the late 90’s but actual steps! Why have them, where and what are they for? Steps perform a functional necessity as a means of addressing any level changes but also provides a design opportunity introducing a bespoke and unique approach that links the overall aesthetic,  atmosphere and elements of the garden together. Steps can be grand, bold and striking, drawing the eye and physical self immediately to them with a clear...

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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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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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Blarney in Bloom 2015

Tim is delighted to have been invited to talk at the Blarney in Bloom garden festival that takes place this coming Saturday the 11th July, in Blarney Castle Gardens. The festival includes a Garden Fair with specialist Plant Nurseries, Arts and Crafts, Farmers Market and Food Area, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Children’s entertainment.  There is a programme of talks: [caption id="attachment_4905" align="aligncenter" width="343"] Blarney in Bloom annual garden festival[/caption] 12:00pm Welcome and News at Blarney Castle Gardens by Adam Whitbourn & John Robertson 12:15pm Garden Design - making a great impact by Tim Austen 1:00pm Beginners Organic Gardening Jim Cronin 1:30pm Growing...

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Roots in to the garden!

I was lucky to have the opportunity to deliver a talk about the use of paths in creating interesting garden designs at Garden Show Ireland yesterday and I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me and other Garden and Landscape Design Association (GLDA) members to attend the show to both give talks and also run a popular garden design clinic where visitors could get free 15-minute design advice for their gardens. [caption id="attachment_3881" align="aligncenter" width="620"] The central gravel and Travertine path in my show garden at Bloom 2013[/caption] My talk...

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Catch Helen Dillon in Kenmare!

The fabulously friendly and go-getting Kenmare garden club are having Ireland's premier gardener, Helen Dillon, to speak at their evening event to be held this Thursday, March 6th at 7.30pm sharp in the Carnegie theatre.   I would thoroughly recommend this talk to anyone who is either a keen gardener or who would like to hear an excellent speaker or both.  This is a real treat for all gardening fans, as Helen has been leading the way in Irish gardening with her garden at 45 Sandford Road for quite some time.  An...

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A garden anywhere

After spotting this planted roof to a bus shelter on Zaragoza's Paseo Independencia, it made me realise (again) that it truly is possible to grow a garden anywhere.  All it takes is a little imagination, some basic horticultural innovation and possibly (as with most gardening scenarios) some perseverance. What's good about this feature is that it adds a new dimension to the street scene.  The additional greenery is a visual bonus, it I am sure helps to a degree with rainwater catchment (reducing the volume of run-off) and the vegetation will...

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Construction story at Bloom in the park – Giardino della mostra

Ok, so things just got way too busy at Bloom to give you the rest of the updates on construction.  Apologies!  We obviously finished on time, thanks to huge efforts and ridiculously long hours over many days from all the team involved - I think we broke my previous record for length of time on site at Bloom on any one day with a cracking 17 hours of work put in by 12 people on the Thursday - but it was all worth it as we had a great show with...

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My bloom journey is underway!

[caption id="attachment_3060" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Giardino della mostra by Tim Austen for Bloom 2013[/caption] I am all of a flutter about Bloom 2013 having just uploaded the details about my show garden on to the official Bloom in the park website and apparently there are only 30 days to go before the event opens! Giardino della mostra or “garden of exhibits,”  - I think it reads wonderfully in Italian and I look forward to hearing it enunciated by Italian visitors to the show - is a County Wicklow inspired garden supported by Gardenworld,...

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Spring bulbs! early markers of the garden design year ahead

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Russborough House, Co. Wicklow. Spring bulbs creating a beautiful and colourful floral carpet beneath mature Lime trees[/caption] I was captivated by this colourful display on a weekend break to West Wicklow last week (a garden designers busman's holiday or what?). These beautiful bulbs including snowdrop, winter aconite (yellow) and cyclamen (pink) have been planted in drifts alongside the Lime walkway leading to the walled garden at Russborough House  - a fine Palladian pad, itself worth a visit when it opens from late March. But what a wonderful marker these...

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