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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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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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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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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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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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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Garden visits: E.H. Wilson memorial garden

[caption id="attachment_1385" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Entrance to Wilson memorial garden[/caption] E.H. Wilson was born in Chipping Campden in 1876.  A small memorial garden to the great plant-hunter can be found there.  Barely noticeable, the garden is accessed through a small arch, which is not much more than a gap in the wall at the northern end of the High Street.  I stumbled across the garden on a walk whilst visiting my grandparents  a year or two ago - I had not known it was there before that. The garden is simple in design...

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Joys of Juneberry!

As a garden designer, one has to have a store of ready answers to often asked gardening questions.  These need to be confidently rolled off the tongue, without hesitation, to instil client confidence in your abilities.  I find that some practice is required here as the right answer may differ significantly between gardens, depending on the particular conditions found there, and with variance in client likes and expectations.  I also find that my answers change with experience so a review every now and then is worthwhile. [caption id="attachment_980" align="alignleft" width="600"] Snowy...

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How to plant bare-root trees

http://youtu.be/l7mdP1KDN_Y Since it is now the bare-root tree planting season, I thought I would post a video demonstrating this planting technique that I made with the residents of Harbour View in late winter 2010. We carried out the tree planting using young trees called whips and transplants, which means that they are relatively unbranched and are only a year or two old.  Bare-root means that the roots are hanging loose without soil and not in a container or root-balled so they have to be fully dormant at planting.  That is why the...

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