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...

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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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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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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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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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Great autumn perennial plants – Joe Pye Weed

I was delighted to catch Carol Klein extolling the delights of the Eupatorium plant on BBC's Gardeners' World this week having just selected the fantastic variety Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum 'Atropurpureum' or Purple Joe Pye weed for a client of mine. [caption id="attachment_3341" align="aligncenter" width="585"] Eupatorium purpureum (Purple Joe Pye Weed) - pic. taken at Gardenworld[/caption] I was looking for an autumn flowering perennial with impact, suited to a heavy (wet, slightly acidic) soil.  This seems to be the ideal tall flowering perennial.  The flowers are pinky-purple in colour, slightly unusual (not...

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Construction story at Bloom in the park – Giardino della mostra

Ok, so things just got way too busy at Bloom to give you the rest of the updates on construction.  Apologies!  We obviously finished on time, thanks to huge efforts and ridiculously long hours over many days from all the team involved - I think we broke my previous record for length of time on site at Bloom on any one day with a cracking 17 hours of work put in by 12 people on the Thursday - but it was all worth it as we had a great show with...

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Using perennial flowers in your garden

Autumn is a good time for stocking your garden with new plants.  And when it comes to planting, perennials are the proverbial “box of chocolates” – the choice is almost limitless and they are all so tasty! [caption id="attachment_2451" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Perennial flowers in a client's garden (only one year from planting!)[/caption] There is huge variety in foliage, flowering time and they come back year after year with limited maintenance.  Just cutting back, dead-heading and division.   Perennials can be planted in many different styles – formal contained by box hedging, sweeps and...

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Thoughts on planting design

When it comes to planting design, I respect the view of the nurseryman and horticulturalist.  They know what plants need to grow and be healthy and how they should be handled to best effect.  I do have knowledge in those areas - I have a masters degree in landscape management and a background in landscape contracting and I have done my fair share of garden maintenance (including €0.70p per hour summer jobs in my youth) – and I keep this knowledge in the back of my mind when I am...

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Design inspiration, on an Olympic scale!

Garden designers are always looking for design inspiration for their next project.  Most design ideas are stimulated by something a designer will have seen or experienced whether directly related to garden design or not. Another thing that garden designers ought to be doing is keeping on top of developments in the overall profession of garden design.  This can be done by reading garden design books and journals or spending time browsing relevant websites.  Otherwise, visiting constructed garden projects, whether public spaces, private gardens or indeed showgardens, is always a great way of...

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