a rose can make a simple colour statement that is at once unforgettable

Colourful language: The importance of colour to garden design

As we head into the summer months, we can recognise that this is a peak time for colour within garden design. Roses make a graceful reappearance, geums sprout up playfully from the ground and lavender blesses us with its quasi-addictive scent once more. While an abundance of colour is a feast for the eyes, it is important to consider the way in which it is incorporated into our garden design to maximise its efficacy. Use of Alliums in my own garden to provide a colour statement; the colour is the more...

Read More

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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More

Seminar Promotion: The Designed Garden – An unfinished canvas

As a full Member of the GLDA,  Tim Austen garden designs are proud to promote the upcoming 22nd International Garden Design Seminar to be held on Saturday 17th February 2018 at Crowne Plaza Dublin, Northwood Park, Santry, Dublin 9.  Synopsis As designers and gardeners, we are very aware that our gardens are only as good as their subsequent maintenance. Every time we prune and clip and cultivate in an effort to maintain control, we are forcibly reminded of the dynamic and unpredictability of Mother Nature. Much focus is given to show gardens and instant makeovers, but...

Read More
concept garden design tim austen irish designer ireland

Plan your garden design

So, you’ve watched the garden makeover programmes on TV, read the garden magazines, you’ve Googled garden designers and famous gardens in Ireland and across the world, you’ve used Facebook and Instagram to find those wow garden images and you’ve put them all together on your Pinterest account.  You know what you want and you’re ready to get the garden designed.  You deserve congratulations at this stage, as you will have put concerted effort and significant time into getting to this point.  What’s next? The next big step will be for you...

Read More
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