Fill the gaps: Block planting in garden design

In an ideal garden design, there would be every plant under the sun and zero limitations in terms of what we could plant, regardless of the climate we live in. This, however, is not sustainable, neither for the maintenance of our garden nor for our pockets. To remedy this planting problem, we would suggest repetition of planting or “block planting” in your garden design. And I don’t mean square planting beds here either! Here are a few reasons why this planting is effective: Uniformity in your garden design Block planting can add seamlessness...

Read More

Outdoor Space in the Sun: Mediterranean Inspired Garden Design

When you are contemplating your garden design, it is important to consider aspects that will have a transformative effect on your day-to-day life. There are many places from which you can get garden design inspiration: other gardens, parks, natural landscapes. However, it is important to make your garden design personal to you and your own life experiences. Perhaps a place to start is your favourite holiday destination – this allows you to make a link between a place where you feel at peace and your back-garden haven. Examining wild plants...

Read More
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...

Read More
garden furniture, design, front, seating, gravel, dublin

Mood boosting gardens!

Sometimes a simple clean up of your garden with some new planting, perhaps, a small feature added can give you a sense of achievement which can be seriously mood boosting.  Think about when you give one of the rooms in your house a new lick of paint, rearranged the furniture or changed the curtains - the sense of self-satisfaction can be quite strong and often the rest of the family appreciate the new look  - especially if the makeover has been for one of the teen's bedrooms.  Don't get me wrong, I am...

Read More
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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More
garden, plants, gardening, gardens, foxglove, digitalis

Striking garden plants!

This Digitalis purpurea 'Alba' is well over 1.5m tall and making a real statement in a central spot in my garden right now. Fabulous amongst grasses or en masse, foxgloves are a perennial favourite. (albeit a biannual flower) in both show gardens and natural spaces. Fantastic in woodland gardens too! [caption id="attachment_4907" align="aligncenter" width="576"] White foxglove[/caption] A great plant at this time of year when whites are so prevalent before the stronger colours of other plants start to dominate....

Read More
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]...

Read More

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...

Read More