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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Amazing azaleas

At this time of year, no blog on garden design would be worth its salt without a post on Rhododendrons .  Alongside the Magnolias these are some of the plants (both trees and shrubs) that lend a real “wow-factor” to spring gardens. My father has always been a “rhodo-fanatic” and having recently moved from a garden in Wicklow with alkaline soil to one in Kerry with acid-peat soil, he is delighted with the results - his Rhododenrons are romping away and producing spectacular flowers. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Rhodendron macabeanum in Kerry[/caption] Briefly,...

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Plant power!

Here's a few pics to show the impact that a relatively simple planting design can have on the appearance of a building. Before: During: After: The three multi-stemmed trees are Betula pendula multi-stems, height range 5-5.5m.  These were planted as root-balled specimens.   Being on the nothern side of the building the groundcover plants include those tolerant of shade.  The soil is also somewhat wet.  Plants selected included, amongst others: Alchemilla mollis, Astilbe, Bergenia cordifolia, Helleborus orientalis and Caltha palustris with a selection of  Ferns, grasses including Luzula sylvatica with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Tradescantia ‘Red...

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Firebush (ensure correct name when googling)!

In garden design there are certain plants that do it every time for me: the Chilean firebush Embothrium coccineum has to be one of my favourite plants.  Although not successful in my own garden, due to our alkaline soil conditions (this is a plant that does well in gardens that have acidic or peaty soils), there are some superb specimens dotted around my locality in Wicklow and I also come across them on my sojourns in Kerry (where this one was recently pictured).  I dragged a small potted plant back...

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Brilliant bluebells!

A carpet of bluebells in deciduous woodland has to be one of the most enchanting sights, at this time of year.  And even if you are neither interested in the botanical nor the ecological value of these plants then surely you can't but be moved by the sheer pleasure of the visual experience.  Many artists have been. I happened across these English bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta to the side of the N71 road just after it leaves Killarney near Muckross.  Covering a huge area underneath some Sycamore trees they were a brake-inducing sight.  And...

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