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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Repeat or unique?

Are there some things that are common between different garden designs; can a garden style be repeated between different gardens?  "What if I want a particular design style that I have seen in an Instagram photo collection or repeated through the beautiful pictures on someone's Pinterest board?" Legitimate questions to ask when you are researching the myriad options available for your garden design. [caption id="attachment_4634" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Make your garden design your own[/caption] Personally, I approach each garden commission as a new and different project with very little reference to other projects...

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Fine-tuning your garden design plans

The early days of the New Year give us a chance to reflect on the past year's activity and to plan anew for the coming year.  We tend to be full of fresh ideas, we want to make a difference for the better in the coming months and, in a sort of mental-vacuum, are often devoid of self-doubt.  Anything and everything seems possible.   However, in my view, there is a certain need to put a frame, call it structure if you will, around this somewhat dreamy state, essentially to see if...

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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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Blarney in Bloom 2015

Tim is delighted to have been invited to talk at the Blarney in Bloom garden festival that takes place this coming Saturday the 11th July, in Blarney Castle Gardens. The festival includes a Garden Fair with specialist Plant Nurseries, Arts and Crafts, Farmers Market and Food Area, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Children’s entertainment.  There is a programme of talks: [caption id="attachment_4905" align="aligncenter" width="343"] Blarney in Bloom annual garden festival[/caption] 12:00pm Welcome and News at Blarney Castle Gardens by Adam Whitbourn & John Robertson 12:15pm Garden Design - making a great impact by Tim Austen 1:00pm Beginners Organic Gardening Jim Cronin 1:30pm Growing...

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Fresh foliage provides fabulous effects in the garden!

At this time of year when new shoots are starting to emerge from the soil as bulbs and perennials push skywards, it is good to think about the kinds of effects we want to get from leaves, branches and stems as part of our planting overall compositions; how these might serve to highlight the flowers.   [caption id="attachment_3855" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Foliage combination in one of my show gardens at Bloom (2008)[/caption] Ask a good florist and they will tell you how important the foliage can be alongside the key blooms in any given arrangement; the...

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The new gardening year

Around this time of year, I usually put out a little post to encourage people to get their design plans done in the next while before the construction season starts to hot up from March time onwards.  If you have been mulling over your garden situation during the holidays and have been thinking about what to do with it; this is a great time of year to talk to a garden designer. [caption id="attachment_3786" align="aligncenter" width="614"] From small ideas spring forth new gardens!...

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How to design your garden

  Tim is looking forward to visiting Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on Thursday to deliver a garden design talk in aid of the Carers Association.  Please contact the Bloomfield Hotel if you would like a ticket and hope to see you there! Tim will be running through his approach to creating a good garden design with recent examples of design and built projects, there will be a chance to ask questions as well. ...

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