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...

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formal rose gardens, roses, box hedging, pots, paths, stonework

Visit to Ballintubbert gardens

[caption id="attachment_5169" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The grand canal water feature at Ballintubbert[/caption] In the summer, our design studio took a study tour to visit some gardens across the southwest of Ireland.  En route to Cork, we stopped to have a look at a fascinating, complex, garden that has recently been reinvigorated near Stradbally in Co. Laois. Ballintubbert House, is a garden of around 14 acres, consisting of multiple garden ’rooms’ of various sizes, surrounding a Georgian manor house.  It is documented that pilgrimages were made to Ballintubbert (the name comes from the Irish...

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European gardens, garden, tours, Italian, villas, houses

Taking your Garden to new heights!

Dealing with Levels in Garden Design In a board or card game, sometimes it can feel like you have been dealt the worst possible hand and yet sometimes starting from a seeming position of disadvantage can actually see the game play into your hands; as it unfolds new opportunities arise that you did not think were possible, you get creative, you exploit and then you come out on top.  In garden design, we are sometimes dealt these difficult hands, none perhaps more so than the steeply sloping site.  Yet, with a...

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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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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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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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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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Garden design enrichment – get it now!

A timely reminder, if you don’t mind, that the seminal Irish garden design event of 2013 (Bloom in the Park excepted) is taking place this weekend in Blanchardstown, Dublin. If you live in Ireland or indeed the UK and you are interested in what’s new in garden design then I would urge you to attend the Garden and Landscape Design Association's seminar Simply Gardens…Design Inspiration for your Soul’. This is the seventeenth successive annual design gathering held by the GLDA, which is no mean feat in these straightened times. [caption id="attachment_3034" align="aligncenter" width="413"]...

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Spring bulbs! early markers of the garden design year ahead

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Russborough House, Co. Wicklow. Spring bulbs creating a beautiful and colourful floral carpet beneath mature Lime trees[/caption] I was captivated by this colourful display on a weekend break to West Wicklow last week (a garden designers busman's holiday or what?). These beautiful bulbs including snowdrop, winter aconite (yellow) and cyclamen (pink) have been planted in drifts alongside the Lime walkway leading to the walled garden at Russborough House  - a fine Palladian pad, itself worth a visit when it opens from late March. But what a wonderful marker these...

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