Onwards and upwards

Tue, Apr 17, 2018

If you’re thinking of growing sweet peas or indeed any climbing plants in the border you’re going to need some kind of structure to support the plants as they grow. There are lots to choose from and the supports themselves can make a visual statement in the garden and contribute to the overall look and feel of the space.

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Plant out Sweet Peas for Summer perfume

Mon, Apr 09, 2018

Planting out sweet peas is one of my favourite spring tasks in the garden and very easy to do. If you have sown your sweet peas from seed under cover, you can usually plant them outside from around mid-April onwards depending on the weather. Do take care this year though as spring has been very late to arrive and temperatures this month can be freezing or very warm, so err on the side of caution – they will quickly make up for lost time so wait a week or two if you’re in doubt. Sowing from seed gives you the best choice of varieties, but good garden centres will have young plants in pots or trays that you can also plant out now.

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Climbing plants for boundaries

Tue, Apr 03, 2018

As we talked about garden boundary options last week, you might like to hear about some climbing plants that can be used to good effect around the perimeters of the garden. A word of warning first though – when I’m called in to design garden plans, clients often assume that planting climbers is a good way to disguise an unattractive boundary. It can work, but you have to be careful, as you could end up drawing attention to the very feature you’re anxious to conceal.

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Setting Boundaries

Mon, Mar 26, 2018

Whatever size your garden is, there will be some sort of boundary separating it from the world outside and the boundary has an important role to play in a number of ways. In towns and cities we need to enclose our own space and create a private area outside our homes for our own personal use, and in more rural areas with larger gardens the boundaries may be further away from the house itself, but still have an important role to play in the design of the garden.

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It’s only natural

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

When thinking of spring flowers it’s often bulbs that come to mind and most of us tend to plant them in borders in any space that’s available. This can work very well and planting them like this adds colour and interest to otherwise brown and green borders early in the year. But there is another way to make them work for you, and that’s to naturalise them in grass.

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Loveliest of Trees

Tue, Mar 13, 2018

With daylight increasing all the time this month, spring is definitely in the air, and if you don’t already have a tree in your garden for spring blossom, now is the time to remedy that. These are really the last couple of weeks for planting bare root trees before the growing season begins in earnest. If you can’t get to a specialist nursery, don’t worry, you’ll have loads to choose from at your local garden centre.

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Perfect Early Spring Perennials

Tue, Mar 06, 2018

Let’s consider some of the earlier perennial plants that do so much to extend the growing season in the garden. As a garden designer, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve people’s enjoyment of their outdoor spaces, and even though the year’s still young, there are so many beautiful plants that can brighten up borders in early spring, so it’s well worth seeking them out.

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The nicest narcissi

Tue, Feb 27, 2018

March is the month when daffodils really come into their own and look wonderful planted en masse, especially around the base of mature trees. You can extend the daffodil season, however, by introducing different varieties so as to enjoy golden yellow or white blooms from February right through to April.

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Final Call for Hedges travelling to...

Tue, Feb 20, 2018

February is a good month to crack on with planting a new hedge if that’s on your to-do list for the coming year. You can of course buy hedging plants in pots and plant them at any time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen, and if you only need a small number of plants that should work well.

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The Lovely Lenten Rose

Tue, Feb 13, 2018

One of the challenges facing a garden designer is how to make a garden look good all year round. The choice of plants for spring, summer and even autumn is endless, but when it comes to the colder months of the year you need to rely heavily on shrubs and ornamental grasses that will add colour and structure even in winter. Fortunately, there are loads of these to choose from and I relish the challenge of producing planting plans to suit different locations and soil types – always remembering that they need to look good and perform reliably. When winter flowers are needed, one of my favourite plants to design with is the hellebore or Lenten Rose.

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Getting into Gear and Putting the Plot in

Tue, Feb 06, 2018

Last week ‘s Gardenwise was about reconnecting with your garden after a long, cold and muddy winter and I hope you had a chance to do that and that a few rays of sunshine appeared to encourage you! We may still have the cold and the mud for a while yet but spring is drawing nearer with every week, and there are some jobs that are well worth doing around this time if you can manage it, so here are a few suggestions if you’re itching to get outside and get gardening. These will help freshen up the garden and hopefully the air and exercise will freshen up the gardener too!

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Woolies, Wellies and Jobs to do!

Mon, Nov 20, 2017

Regular readers of Gardenwise will know that I’m firm believer in making your garden work all year round and in enjoying it for twelve months of the year. It’s very tempting as the days grow shorter and colder to retreat inside and forget all about the garden until spring rolls around. Whether we like it or not though, the garden’s still there and still visible from inside all winter long, even if we’re not spending much time outside. A little time and effort now will help keep things looking well throughout winter and beyond and ensure that the garden is ready to spring into growth next year, ideally without too much winter weather damage.

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Dare to Bare in the Garden this Season

Mon, Oct 23, 2017

With November approaching, the bare root season is about to begin, so it’s time to think about how you can make the most of this if you’re planning any changes to the garden. First though, it might be helpful to explain what exactly bare root means for those not in the know as these terms can be confusing if you’re not of a horticultural bent!

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Going Down in a Blaze of Glory

Tue, Oct 17, 2017

If you’re a spring person like me this may not be your favourite time of year. However we are all part of the great circle of life and as the year draws to a close there are many compensations to be had for the shortening days in the outdoor world. This is when those with large gardens are to be envied as autumn, more than any other season, is the time of the tree. If you live in an area with acidic soil you are even luckier as many of the best trees for autumn colour produce their most vivid tints in acidic areas.

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Think pink this October

Mon, Oct 09, 2017

You’ll be seeing a lot of pink this month and if you don’t know why, then lucky you. Most will know that in this part of the world, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month when pink is the order of the day to raise awareness of this dangerous disease and remind us all to be vigilant, as thankfully, when detected and treated early, outcomes for those affected can be much better than in times past. This month you’ll see magazines with pink covers, designers flogging pink frocks and all manner of products from phone covers to lipstick to kitchen utensils produced in limited-edition shades of pink, with many donating a percentage of proceeds to breast cancer charities both here and in the U.K.

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Tiny Treasures to seek out now

Mon, Sep 18, 2017

Yay, it’s time to go shopping! Depending on your gender, this is either a cause for celebration or a reason to run away - far, far away – and hide until the danger is over. If you’re a bloke, don’t worry, it’s not clothes (or even worse, Things for the House) – it’s September and time to stock up on spring flowering bulbs to lift the spirits and bring colour and cheer to the garden after the grey dreary days of winter.

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Plan ahead to get your Garden Working

Mon, Sep 11, 2017

As another Irish summer (no irony intended!) draws to a close it’s time to take stock of the space outside your home and consider whether it’s pulling its weight and working for you. With a bit of luck you can continue to enjoy golden late summer afternoons outside for several weeks to come. Calm, dry, sunny weather at this time of year allows you to soak up a little more warmth from the sun before the dark days of winter.

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Colours for Champions

Tue, Sep 05, 2017

At this stage of the week I hope the hangover has eased if you joined in the celebrations on Sunday – and Monday – and Tuesday….although I’m sure the sense of euphoria throughout the city and county will last a good while longer, and rightly so. As the champions prepare to return to their well-deserved welcome in the City of the Tribes, as well as towns and villages throughout Galway, the green-fingered might like to consider showing their appreciation in a horticultural way. After all, flags and banners in the county’s colours of maroon and white have fluttered from windows and decked our streets for weeks. Why not include our window boxes, hanging baskets, front gardens and even roundabouts – all areas where the hard working members of our Tidy Towns groups do so much to cheer up and beautify our streets for everyone’s benefit.

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Keep borders glowing for a golden end to Summer

Mon, Aug 28, 2017

Do you ever find your garden is lacking in late summer colour? Sometimes June and July can be the best months in the garden and by August and September, there isn’t much happening in the borders to bring colour and movement. Early flowering perennials have gone over and most flowering shrubs do their thing in spring and early summer, leaving them green and unexciting for the rest of the year.

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The sensory garden

Tue, Aug 22, 2017

It’s easy to think of a garden as something you just look at or look after – and with our west of Ireland weather that can be the case all too often. A garden can do so much more for you than just enhance your home and look smart – if planned carefully it can bring you so many benefits and enhance your well-being by appealing to all five of the senses – this is what we call a sensory garden and thinking about the garden this way and incorporating elements that appeal to the senses can help you to get the very best from this valuable space.

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