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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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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Garden design live (3): finishing touches

I bet you are wondering did we ever finish our garden project outlined in my posts: garden design live 1 and garden design live 2?  Well, I am pleased to report that we did finish the garden and that it looks great!  "It is totally amazing, we did an awesome job!" as Jedward might say.  In all seriousness, we have had great feedback from our client so now all that reamains is for the Irish weather to be a little bit kinder so that the plants can grow away more...

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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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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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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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Mossy marvels on an Irish woodland floor

As a garden designer, I seek to take inspiration from nature whenever I can.  Last weekend, I took these photos on a lovely walk through a coniferous woodland in Wicklow.  Although the wood was predominantly commercial evergreen species, there were some deciduous species, such as, Birch and Beech  present and understory trees like Holly here and there.  But the most striking thing about this woodland was the beautiful carpet of spongy moss spread throughout. [caption id="attachment_477" align="aligncenter" width="574"] Mossy woodland floor[/caption] [caption id="attachment_484" align="aligncenter" width="594"] Moss close up[/caption] It reminded me that I...

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