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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Exposing Layers and Meaning in 21st Century Garden Design – GLDA Seminar FEB’ 2014

For a day of garden design inspiration and shared passion for all things gardening, I can recommend attending the forthcoming GLDA Seminar that will be held on February 8th 2014 at The Crowne Plaza Conference Centre Northwood. The Garden and Landscape Designers Association have put together an unmissable line-up of speakers who share not only a breath-taking knowledge of their subject, but also a passion for what they do. Attention to detail is a theme that runs through the day’s line-up. Landscape Architect, Feargus McGarvey’s title is ‘Observation’ where he reflects on spatial relationships and site...

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A garden anywhere

After spotting this planted roof to a bus shelter on Zaragoza's Paseo Independencia, it made me realise (again) that it truly is possible to grow a garden anywhere.  All it takes is a little imagination, some basic horticultural innovation and possibly (as with most gardening scenarios) some perseverance. What's good about this feature is that it adds a new dimension to the street scene.  The additional greenery is a visual bonus, it I am sure helps to a degree with rainwater catchment (reducing the volume of run-off) and the vegetation will...

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Garden boundaries and fences

In any garden design, close attention needs to be paid to the boundaries and how they are to be finished at an early stage in the project. [caption id="attachment_3437" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Traditional field stone boundary in the west of Ireland[/caption] The reasons for this are obvious but sometimes need to be restated: 1) They form the framework for the garden whether closely defined and solid or looser, more open boundaries that allow visibility to the surrounding landscape. 2) The boundary finishes (structure, form, texture, colour) can dictate the entire mood of the garden. [caption id="attachment_3439"...

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‘To boldly go’ – being brave with garden design

[caption id="attachment_3429" align="aligncenter" width="259"] Powerscourt Church, Enniskerry Photo from Parish of Powerscourt website[/caption] Enniskerry Garden Club talk Really looking forward to a return visit to see my friends at the Enniskerry Gardening Club tomorrow evening when I shall be delivering a talk. I will be explaining how to revamp an existing garden with a new design.  I will look at the garden design process and how the professional garden designer's approach can be applied to any garden situation. I will illustrate my talk using garden design projects in which I have overhauled existing gardens...

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Emeralds and the gathering

Gardening trends Gardening, like other design-related professions has its trends.  Sometimes these are created by the horticultural industry itself through clever marketing campaigns.  At other times these fashions reflect wider shifts in the way society is thinking, an example being the recent move towards gardens with a grow-it-yourself element, something of which I am very supportive of as you are well aware. Have  we missed an opportunity with Ireland's "The Gathering" to celebrate our greeness? One thing I am surprised about is that the Irish gardening profession, as a whole, has not capitalised...

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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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Musings on using water in the contemporary garden

Splish, splash, splosh: the tradition of using water in the garden goes back thousands of years. I have waxed hydrologically about the importance of water in garden design before and it is something that continues to excite and inspire me - from the Persian paradise gardens of the middle east via the Moorish gardens of Spain, the Italianate Villas and French classicism all these celebrate the beauty, movement and sheer refreshment that water can add to a garden scene (or indeed placed water firmly at the centre of the garden...

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Using plants to divide up and create an interesting garden space

Just mulling over something I come across repeatedly on garden consultation visits which is that many gardeners are under confident when it comes to extending planting from the boundaries of the garden inwards. [caption id="attachment_3268" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Typical dreary garden scene in Ireland - basically lawn and devoid of plants[/caption] I am not sure why this is exactly: perhaps it is because they are afraid that if the plants don't do well that their mistakes will be too visible or maybe they just feel that plants have no place in a garden’s...

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Garden canopy

This super Irish summer (with temperatures having been well in to the mid-20s (0C) with clear blue skies for quite some weeks now - SWEET!) has put me in mind of our Bloom 2009 garden, best in show garden - The Garden Lounge. [caption id="attachment_3170" align="aligncenter" width="614"] The Garden Lounge, Bloom 2009 gold medal winner and best in show by Tim Austen[/caption] The temperatures then too were scorchingly hot and perfectly suited that garden with its relaxed outdoor living theme.  And we Irish, whilst craving the sun, are not really, truthfully, comfortable being sun-worshippers...

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