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...

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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...

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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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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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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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Catch Helen Dillon in Kenmare!

The fabulously friendly and go-getting Kenmare garden club are having Ireland's premier gardener, Helen Dillon, to speak at their evening event to be held this Thursday, March 6th at 7.30pm sharp in the Carnegie theatre.   I would thoroughly recommend this talk to anyone who is either a keen gardener or who would like to hear an excellent speaker or both.  This is a real treat for all gardening fans, as Helen has been leading the way in Irish gardening with her garden at 45 Sandford Road for quite some time.  An...

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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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Spring bulbs! early markers of the garden design year ahead

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Russborough House, Co. Wicklow. Spring bulbs creating a beautiful and colourful floral carpet beneath mature Lime trees[/caption] I was captivated by this colourful display on a weekend break to West Wicklow last week (a garden designers busman's holiday or what?). These beautiful bulbs including snowdrop, winter aconite (yellow) and cyclamen (pink) have been planted in drifts alongside the Lime walkway leading to the walled garden at Russborough House  - a fine Palladian pad, itself worth a visit when it opens from late March. But what a wonderful marker these...

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Coppicing trees in the garden and coppice woodlands

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Mature coppice in Herefordshire[/caption] Whilst I was working with the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) a number of years ago (quite a number actually!), I completed a super training course in woodland crafts at the Greenwood Trust in Ironbridge, Shropshire.  Since then, I am in the habit of advocating coppicing not only as a useful and productive way of managing woodlands (of all sizes) but also as a method for controlling the size of trees  in small gardens, especially where space is at a premium but the...

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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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