Garden design live (2)

[caption id="attachment_1968" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Setting out the garden design[/caption] So, you saw the design plan in my previous post of the 17th May.  Now here we are on site doin' a bit of hard work!  In the above pic. you can see the new shape of the lawn is nicely defined and in the foreground the sub-base for the new area of paving has been laid.  We have also started to clear back existing overgrown shrubs and prepare the soil for the new planting. [caption id="attachment_1969" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Laying out the new...

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Ecological gardens

For landscape architects and garden designers alike, there is a contemporary approach to planting design that seeks to mimic or at least draw inspiration from the dynamics and make-up of natural plant communities. [caption id="attachment_1952" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Mount Usher gardens, Co. Wicklow planted to William Robinson's naturalistic style[/caption] In garden design, this approach is purported to have originated (at least in part) with William Robinson's naturalistic approach to planting design in the late nineteenth century.  Landscape architects will attribute its flowering to a more diverse set of roots.  Nonetheless, whatever are its...

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Garden design live (1)

Have you ever wanted to overhaul your garden but with minimum intervention for maximum benefit?  That is actually the brief to which we have worked on our current garden project (under construction as I type). The garden design plan involves the renovation of an existing suburban garden.  It is of a traditional style with a good-sized lawn and generous planting beds along the sides with an existing (but weedy) natural stone pathway providing access down through the garden.  However, these elements had not been reconciled with a recent house extension and...

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Bee-friendly garden design

[caption id="attachment_1886" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Tim's bee pic. from his biodiversity study[/caption] Having undertaken a  study of biodiversity in Dublin's gardens a few years back,  I am a fan of any garden design that encourages more wildlife habitat in to our gardens.  So, I am looking forward to seeing the University of Leed's bee-friendly garden at Chelsea this year.  Their top-tips for encouraging bees in to your garden are given on their website and include: Bees love to nest in logs, crumbling walls and woody undergrowth Resist the urge to clear away rotting wood,...

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Amazing azaleas

At this time of year, no blog on garden design would be worth its salt without a post on Rhododendrons .  Alongside the Magnolias these are some of the plants (both trees and shrubs) that lend a real “wow-factor” to spring gardens. My father has always been a “rhodo-fanatic” and having recently moved from a garden in Wicklow with alkaline soil to one in Kerry with acid-peat soil, he is delighted with the results - his Rhododenrons are romping away and producing spectacular flowers. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Rhodendron macabeanum in Kerry[/caption] Briefly,...

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Plant power!

Here's a few pics to show the impact that a relatively simple planting design can have on the appearance of a building. Before: During: After: The three multi-stemmed trees are Betula pendula multi-stems, height range 5-5.5m.  These were planted as root-balled specimens.   Being on the nothern side of the building the groundcover plants include those tolerant of shade.  The soil is also somewhat wet.  Plants selected included, amongst others: Alchemilla mollis, Astilbe, Bergenia cordifolia, Helleborus orientalis and Caltha palustris with a selection of  Ferns, grasses including Luzula sylvatica with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Tradescantia ‘Red...

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Garden design clinics

'Clinic' - there's that medical overtone again in regard to garden design advice that I am not sure about; but anyway, that aside, the GLDA are hosting some garden design advice days as part of the Bloom fringe over the coming weeks.  Press release, as follows: "Good news for gardeners in Dublin, Kildare, Limerick and Cork: free design advice from experienced garden designers is being given at selected garden centres who are holding design clinics as part of a new initiative called Bloom Fringe. ‘The Chelsea Fringe is an enormous event across...

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Firebush (ensure correct name when googling)!

In garden design there are certain plants that do it every time for me: the Chilean firebush Embothrium coccineum has to be one of my favourite plants.  Although not successful in my own garden, due to our alkaline soil conditions (this is a plant that does well in gardens that have acidic or peaty soils), there are some superb specimens dotted around my locality in Wicklow and I also come across them on my sojourns in Kerry (where this one was recently pictured).  I dragged a small potted plant back...

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Brilliant bluebells!

A carpet of bluebells in deciduous woodland has to be one of the most enchanting sights, at this time of year.  And even if you are neither interested in the botanical nor the ecological value of these plants then surely you can't but be moved by the sheer pleasure of the visual experience.  Many artists have been. I happened across these English bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta to the side of the N71 road just after it leaves Killarney near Muckross.  Covering a huge area underneath some Sycamore trees they were a brake-inducing sight.  And...

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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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