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...

Read More

Plan a new planting scheme

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="An area of planting can be reworked to create a new garden scene "][/caption] Now is a great time of year to rework an existing planting scheme if you have an established garden.  Quite mature shrubs can be relocated and used as the structural elements in a new arrangement.  This can give tired or mundane parts of the garden a new lift. Plan it out carefully so that the heights and shapes of the main plants work together giving symmetry across the area to create an interesting...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Thoughts on planting design

When it comes to planting design, I respect the view of the nurseryman and horticulturalist.  They know what plants need to grow and be healthy and how they should be handled to best effect.  I do have knowledge in those areas - I have a masters degree in landscape management and a background in landscape contracting and I have done my fair share of garden maintenance (including €0.70p per hour summer jobs in my youth) – and I keep this knowledge in the back of my mind when I am...

Read More

‘Planting Design’ A Garden Designer’s Perspective 15th September, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion Wicklow

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="442"] Image from powerscourt.ie[/caption] In support of Bord Bia’s ‘Autumn Time is Garden Time’ campaign, I will be giving a complimentary talk at the Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on planting design and what plants to choose for your garden this autumn. Did you know that trees, shrubs, roses, heathers, spring bulbs and most flowering plants are best planted in the autumn? I will be sharing my experience of garden design and offer advice on the type and size of plants to use and how to space them to create a...

Read More

Big Pigging! or how to get maximum benefit from your kitchen waste

I have been composting with my "pig" for a number of years now and whilst it is somewhat more expensive, at initial outlay, than other traditional composters, I do find it is far more effective. Thus your initial investment is recouped over the medium to long term. My pig is a sealed unit, which means that literally all your kitchen waste including raw meat can be added to it without encouraging vermin, so, you save on waste charges and it produces large volumes of compost rapidly (I find in an average...

Read More

Crazy about currants, using fruit and vegetables in the garden.

[caption id="attachment_2182" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Red currants - an easy to grow garden fruit[/caption] I have just harvested my annual crop of red currants from my garden's solitary red currant bush.  This tough, easy-to-grow,  garden shrub does so well each year and satiates my need for breakfast berries - the rest of my family are not big fans so one bush provides us with all we (or I) need for my bowl of muesli in the morning (for  a week or two each summer). I am also excited by the productive side of...

Read More

Garden design tip 1

I am conscious of the fact that I haven't really done a specific garden design post to date.  I have been mulling over how to present these.  Shall I just dispense the information in a prescriptive way, like a garden doctor, if you will?  Perhaps in bullet point format: All gardens should have a design style to them Garden designs can be formal or informal Take inspiration from gardens that you have visited No, I think this could get pretty dull and is never going to satisfy either my need to use words or...

Read More