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
wildlife, gardens, design, gardening, designer, wild, areas

Bring in the bugs!

In Ireland, the spring has been slow to start this year, as we have experienced unseasonably low temperatures throughout March.  Now, in early April it finally feels like it is underway: the sap is rising in the trees and the first leaves are breaking bud, daffodils are blooming and temperatures are rising. [caption id="attachment_5095" align="alignnone" width="1024"] View out to the garden (from my Inspiration from Mount Usher garden)[/caption] We hope, at this time of year, to be able to move from the house into the garden to enjoy the first warming rays...

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
Snowdrops, bulbs, planting, gardens, irish, design

Little winter wonders to warm the gardener’s spirits

The brave snowdrop flower provides on of the first signs of life in the garden, as it emerges from its winter slumber. Snowdrops, Galanthus species, are part of the Amaryllidaceae family, having long stems, graceful extended leaves and beautifully rounded, drop-like flowers. Beautiful little snowdrop, Galanthus "Victor" with "Sickle" sketched Snowdrops look as stunning in small individual groups as they do when combined with other bulbs, such as Cyclamen or Eranthis. They create a sparkling display when they are naturalised in grassland and woodland.   They also grow well in marginal grassed areas, in...

Read More

New perennial movement: wash out or taking root?

[caption id="attachment_3838" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Grasses and perennials as used in my Bloom show garden for Barretstown[/caption] With the Garden and Landscape Design Association's (GLDA) seminar on the horizon this weekend, the focus is very much on the so-called "new perennial movement" or "prairie planting" style of planting design that has captured the imagination of garden designers for the last twenty years of so.  This is probably one of the biggest fashion shake-ups to have gripped the garden design world (both amateur and professional) for quite some time. Even minimalist and avant-garde designers who typically...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Ecological gardens

For landscape architects and garden designers alike, there is a contemporary approach to planting design that seeks to mimic or at least draw inspiration from the dynamics and make-up of natural plant communities. [caption id="attachment_1952" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Mount Usher gardens, Co. Wicklow planted to William Robinson's naturalistic style[/caption] In garden design, this approach is purported to have originated (at least in part) with William Robinson's naturalistic approach to planting design in the late nineteenth century.  Landscape architects will attribute its flowering to a more diverse set of roots.  Nonetheless, whatever are its...

Read More