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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Foraging for food – the good, the bad and the ugly, part 1

Whilst undertaking a road survey recently, I came across a super example of "food-for-free" in the Irish countryside when this apple tree presented its fruits to me. [caption id="attachment_3354" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Wild Irish apple tree![/caption] This native Irish apple tree is growing right alongside the N6 motorway in Westmeath and is a fantastic example of the bounties that our hedgerows and woodlands can offer us in the autumn.  All we have to do is look what's around us and we have the best natural foods available in our own countryside. [caption id="attachment_3356" align="aligncenter"...

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Big Pigging! or how to get maximum benefit from your kitchen waste

I have been composting with my "pig" for a number of years now and whilst it is somewhat more expensive, at initial outlay, than other traditional composters, I do find it is far more effective. Thus your initial investment is recouped over the medium to long term. My pig is a sealed unit, which means that literally all your kitchen waste including raw meat can be added to it without encouraging vermin, so, you save on waste charges and it produces large volumes of compost rapidly (I find in an average...

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Crazy about currants, using fruit and vegetables in the garden.

[caption id="attachment_2182" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Red currants - an easy to grow garden fruit[/caption] I have just harvested my annual crop of red currants from my garden's solitary red currant bush.  This tough, easy-to-grow,  garden shrub does so well each year and satiates my need for breakfast berries - the rest of my family are not big fans so one bush provides us with all we (or I) need for my bowl of muesli in the morning (for  a week or two each summer). I am also excited by the productive side of...

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Potato planting: under St. Patrick’s thumb!

It was with some relief that I managed to plant my potatoes last week.  I know - can you believe it? - they were not planted until the 9th of April! Yes, the fact that they had not been planted by the purported St. Patrick's Day planting deadline had been troubling my mind...

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The Herb Garden

[caption id="attachment_407" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Herb garden in Farmleigh House walled garden[/caption] In Irish gardening, there is a major trend towards “Grow-Your-Own” fruits and vegetables.  This is for a variety of reasons including: wanting to know where our food comes from, cost-saving, taste and experimentation as well as the satisfaction that comes with nurturing and producing our own food.  There is something primal about this too. Many garden designers have long understood the productive side of gardening and encouraged their clients in this area.  This new general trend has obviously made this easier,...

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