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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Fill the gaps: Block planting in garden design

In an ideal garden design, there would be every plant under the sun and zero limitations in terms of what we could plant, regardless of the climate we live in. This, however, is not sustainable, neither for the maintenance of our garden nor for our pockets. To remedy this planting problem, we would suggest repetition of planting or “block planting” in your garden design. And I don’t mean square planting beds here either! Here are a few reasons why this planting is effective: Uniformity in your garden design Block planting can add seamlessness...

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Self heal, a lovely wildflower of grassy areas that is attractive for pollinators

Taking a walk on the wild side: Rewilding your garden

Designers Urquhart and Hunt’s collaboration with Rewilding Britain (see link  https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/support-rewilding/rhs-chelsea-flower-show) at Chelsea 2022 has reiterated the need to incorporate rewilding into garden design. Through an active collaboration between man and nature, we can help to restore nature from our own back gardens (see more about Rewilding Europe here https://rewildingeurope.com/what-is-rewilding-2/). This blog will give a glimpse into some basic steps you can take to boost conservation in your garden design. Viper's bugloss, a lovely wildflower that attracts insects and grows well in long grass areas The lawn. An integral part of many...

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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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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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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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