Long meadow grass in the garden

“To mow, or not to mow:  that is the question.”

Should the month of May be the only time that we leave our garden spaces to grow long? I may have embellished Hamlet’s infamous opening line in his soliloquy; however, I find some relevance to the current discussions and or pressures of undertaking: ‘No Mow May’. There is truth and so many benefits to leaving areas of your lawns and grassy areas grow long for May. By hitting the pause button, we are allowing our grassy spaces to mature to their full untapped potential. You’d be surprised how many hidden gems in the...

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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...

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house extension, garden design, gardens, makeover, home improvements, gardening, home, extension

Garden extension

In the current Irish housing market, many people are adding extensions to their homes rather than moving to add value to their properties, add more space etc.  I'm in that bracket myself with my kids becoming teenagers, suddenly the house seems much smaller than it did a few years ago.  But retired couples may also want to make space for visitors and give themselves the nice large, sitting room that they have always dreamed about. The architects design concepts often involve nice views to the garden with floor to ceiling windows,...

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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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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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Foraging for food – the good, the bad and the ugly, part 1

Whilst undertaking a road survey recently, I came across a super example of "food-for-free" in the Irish countryside when this apple tree presented its fruits to me. [caption id="attachment_3354" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Wild Irish apple tree![/caption] This native Irish apple tree is growing right alongside the N6 motorway in Westmeath and is a fantastic example of the bounties that our hedgerows and woodlands can offer us in the autumn.  All we have to do is look what's around us and we have the best natural foods available in our own countryside. [caption id="attachment_3356" align="aligncenter"...

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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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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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