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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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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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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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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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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New perennial movement: wash out or taking root?

[caption id="attachment_3838" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Grasses and perennials as used in my Bloom show garden for Barretstown[/caption] With the Garden and Landscape Design Association's (GLDA) seminar on the horizon this weekend, the focus is very much on the so-called "new perennial movement" or "prairie planting" style of planting design that has captured the imagination of garden designers for the last twenty years of so.  This is probably one of the biggest fashion shake-ups to have gripped the garden design world (both amateur and professional) for quite some time. Even minimalist and avant-garde designers who typically...

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