Self heal, a lovely wildflower of grassy areas that is attractive for pollinators

Taking a walk on the wild side: Rewilding your garden

Designers Urquhart and Hunt’s collaboration with Rewilding Britain (see link  https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/support-rewilding/rhs-chelsea-flower-show) at Chelsea 2022 has reiterated the need to incorporate rewilding into garden design. Through an active collaboration between man and nature, we can help to restore nature from our own back gardens (see more about Rewilding Europe here https://rewildingeurope.com/what-is-rewilding-2/). This blog will give a glimpse into some basic steps you can take to boost conservation in your garden design. Viper's bugloss, a lovely wildflower that attracts insects and grows well in long grass areas The lawn. An integral part of many...

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garden, design, water, lights, pergola, planting

Going with the flow: Incorporating water features into your garden

Creating joy with water features What do we think when we think of water? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is that we need it to survive. It keeps us alive. One could also take a more metaphorical point of view, that of peace, a cool refreshing dip in a rippleless, crystal-clear body of water. Be it metaphorical or literal, it is an integral part of our existence and this notion of life and movement can manifest itself beautifully in a water feature. A nature inspired pond in a tranquil...

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garden, wildlife, insects, wildflowers, gardens, design

Sustainable garden designs – 5 ideas

Whist this subject has waxed and waned in popularity over the last couple of decades, I like to think that we are all now strongly concerned to ensure that our gardens are as eco-friendly as possible and/or, at least, incorporate some aspects of sustainable or green approaches to design.  Since the construction of a garden can have as much impact on the environment as house- construction, it is important to consider these aspects throughout the process.  Sometimes, being eco-friendly can present money savings, too, something that should be of interest...

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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...

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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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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...

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Coppicing trees in the garden and coppice woodlands

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Mature coppice in Herefordshire[/caption] Whilst I was working with the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) a number of years ago (quite a number actually!), I completed a super training course in woodland crafts at the Greenwood Trust in Ironbridge, Shropshire.  Since then, I am in the habit of advocating coppicing not only as a useful and productive way of managing woodlands (of all sizes) but also as a method for controlling the size of trees  in small gardens, especially where space is at a premium but the...

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Planting trees in your garden

[caption id="attachment_2358" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Fabulouos oak tree avenue in Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow[/caption] Yesterday's 'tree day' for schools, organised by the Tree Council of Ireland, got me thinking about how important trees are to the Irish landscape in both a physical and a cultural sense.  Many of our most special trees are part of property boundaries and/or are contained in gardens.  And I feel that it is incumbent on both gardeners and garden designers that we make a worthy contribution to Ireland' stock of trees, whether we are using native or exotic...

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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...

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Bee-friendly garden design

[caption id="attachment_1886" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Tim's bee pic. from his biodiversity study[/caption] Having undertaken a  study of biodiversity in Dublin's gardens a few years back,  I am a fan of any garden design that encourages more wildlife habitat in to our gardens.  So, I am looking forward to seeing the University of Leed's bee-friendly garden at Chelsea this year.  Their top-tips for encouraging bees in to your garden are given on their website and include: Bees love to nest in logs, crumbling walls and woody undergrowth Resist the urge to clear away rotting wood,...

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