Garden party at Gardenworld, Kilquade this weekend!

[caption id="attachment_3156" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Garden party at Gardenworld, Kilquade[/caption] Delighted to be involved in the charity garden party to be held this weekend at Gardenworld, Kilquade for what promises to be a fun day out for all the family. We are sponsoring my garden "The Riverside Retreat" for the day and Camelia Austen is also doing a flower demo at three o'clock with the flower arrangements being raffled afterwards (all proceeds going to the two charities).  ...

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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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Garden design enrichment – get it now!

A timely reminder, if you don’t mind, that the seminal Irish garden design event of 2013 (Bloom in the Park excepted) is taking place this weekend in Blanchardstown, Dublin. If you live in Ireland or indeed the UK and you are interested in what’s new in garden design then I would urge you to attend the Garden and Landscape Design Association's seminar Simply Gardens…Design Inspiration for your Soul’. This is the seventeenth successive annual design gathering held by the GLDA, which is no mean feat in these straightened times. [caption id="attachment_3034" align="aligncenter" width="413"]...

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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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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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Garden hedges using native, wildlife-friendly plants

The weather is a bit windy, wet and wintry here at the moment and maybe the very last thing you are thinking about is the state of your garden.  But if you had been considering a revamp of the garden perimeter with a bit of new planting during the course of last year then you need to know that now is the perfect time of year for planting a new hedge. It’s time to take action because we are currently in the dormant season for deciduous trees and shrubs and this...

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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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Using perennial flowers in your garden

Autumn is a good time for stocking your garden with new plants.  And when it comes to planting, perennials are the proverbial “box of chocolates” – the choice is almost limitless and they are all so tasty! [caption id="attachment_2451" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Perennial flowers in a client's garden (only one year from planting!)[/caption] There is huge variety in foliage, flowering time and they come back year after year with limited maintenance.  Just cutting back, dead-heading and division.   Perennials can be planted in many different styles – formal contained by box hedging, sweeps and...

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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...

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