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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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 furniture, design, front, seating, gravel, dublin

Mood boosting gardens!

Sometimes a simple clean up of your garden with some new planting, perhaps, a small feature added can give you a sense of achievement which can be seriously mood boosting.  Think about when you give one of the rooms in your house a new lick of paint, rearranged the furniture or changed the curtains - the sense of self-satisfaction can be quite strong and often the rest of the family appreciate the new look  - especially if the makeover has been for one of the teen's bedrooms.  Don't get me wrong, I am...

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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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Sammy the Seal’s 20th Birthday Party and Plant Sale!

This weekend (Sunday the 19th July), we are opening the garden design studio as part of the Wicklow seafood festival to be held on the South Quay, in association with the South Quay Trader's group.   Aside from fabulous fish and seafood delights that will be cooked up by local chefs, we will be having a plant sale. There will be range of perennial flowers and grasses that I frequently use in my garden design projects available for purchase at discount rates.   I will also be offering free garden design consultations from 2-5pm should you...

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garden, plants, gardening, gardens, foxglove, digitalis

Striking garden plants!

This Digitalis purpurea 'Alba' is well over 1.5m tall and making a real statement in a central spot in my garden right now. Fabulous amongst grasses or en masse, foxgloves are a perennial favourite. (albeit a biannual flower) in both show gardens and natural spaces. Fantastic in woodland gardens too! [caption id="attachment_4907" align="aligncenter" width="576"] White foxglove[/caption] A great plant at this time of year when whites are so prevalent before the stronger colours of other plants start to dominate....

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beautiful, garden plants, must haves, iris, scent, colour, form

Iris Beauty

Fabulous blue iris is at its peak in my garden at the moment. What a colour and it has a knock out scent too! Even in a small garden it is worth finding a spot for a strong germanica (bearded iris) variety. There are a huge range of colours to choose from too! [caption id="attachment_4910" align="alignnone" width="683"] A beautiful blue bearded Iris, great in an Irish garden![/caption]...

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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...

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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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