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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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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Winter garden flowers

New Year, same values

If we consider the definition of the word “resolution” it implies a determined commitment, something resolute. I will go to the gym this year, I will read more, I will redo my garden… In terms of garden design, structural elements can be added to your outdoor spaces be they paving, water features or new planting. However, as we ring in the new year, it is important to recognize the regenerative value of nature within our gardens during the catatonic, rattling off resolutions, atmosphere that is the “New Year”. A bird feeder set...

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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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Water with care!

My last "outpouring" :) about watering was in March 2012, and back then I was describing having to water my perennials due to the unseasonably hot weather we were experiencing.  This year too, we did have a dry, sunny spell in March; however, it did not last in the same way as 2012's. We experienced a long stretch of cold weather throughout April and May on the back of an extremely wet and windy winter (tough conditions for tender plants that were planted in the garden at the back end of...

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Fine-tuning your garden design plans

The early days of the New Year give us a chance to reflect on the past year's activity and to plan anew for the coming year.  We tend to be full of fresh ideas, we want to make a difference for the better in the coming months and, in a sort of mental-vacuum, are often devoid of self-doubt.  Anything and everything seems possible.   However, in my view, there is a certain need to put a frame, call it structure if you will, around this somewhat dreamy state, essentially to see if...

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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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