Search Results for 'Annes'
12 results found.
A coastal garden is usually a challenge, and being based on the western edge of our beautiful island, a lot of my clients have gardens by the sea. The biggest challenge is usually the wind – not just its strength and frequency, but the salt it carries with it which can be so harmful to sensitive leaves and flowers. Being the west of Ireland, rainfall is high and soil by the sea often tends to be sandy, full of rocks and low in nutrients. But there are few amongst us who don’t love the sea – and that can often lead to the biggest challenge of all – how to create a sheltered garden without losing your view of the rolling waves.
Since lockdown was lifted I’ve been travelling along the highways and byways on my way to clients’ gardens, and the wildflowers along the roadside verges never fail to take my breath away. In a ‘normal’ year, they are as much a marker of the seasons as the leaves on the trees, from wild primroses in April, to cow parsley and foxgloves in May, and the hundreds of nodding heads of the dog daisies in June. How precious they seem this year, when travel restrictions kept us confined, apart from daily walks, to whatever we had growing in our own gardens! There are still more to look forward to as summer unfolds, especially here in the Burren lowlands, with sky-blue scabious, aromatic wild marjoram and many others still waiting to flower, before the multitude of golden grass seed heads takes over in late summer.
I always dread hearing a hosepipe ban announced, for legal reasons. And why is that, you might ask? Well, it’s on account of Murphy’s Law, which states that “although several weeks of sunny weather may create the expectation of a good summer, a declaration of drought will immediately be followed by dark clouds, heavy rain and a chance of localised flooding”. So the hosepipe ban came into effect earlier this week and we haven’t had a dry, sunny day since. I rest my case.
I’ve always been a firm believer that gardens are to be enjoyed, not just worked in – and the last few months have brought home just how valuable they can be. With restrictions easing and indoor visits allowed from this week, lots of us still won’t be comfortable with visitors indoors, especially if someone in the house is vulnerable from a health point of view. So this summer more than ever, we need to get good at gathering in the garden. Here are a few hints to help you make it happen.
Whoever would have thought a couple of months ago that a visit to the garden centre would become such an eagerly awaited event? Suddenly somewhere you popped into to pick up a few bits without thinking – a bag of compost, a bird feeder and a six pack of lettuce plants – became a Destination. Outfits were chosen and displayed on social media. Lists were made and a flask and sandwiches packed in the car just in case the queues were so long you couldn’t get home in time for lunch.
At this most enchanting time of year – ‘Sweet the evening air of May’, and all that – what better subject to focus on than paving? Sand and cement, jointing, hardcore and quarry screenings? Unromantic it may be, but good paving is far more important to your garden than pretty flowers.
“A flower is a weed with an advertising budget” says Rory Sutherland in his brilliant book ‘Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense’. If you think about it, he’s absolutely right. What we call a weed is a plant just like any other, with a job to do – and the leaves, flowers and seeds to do it – but if it decides to grow where we don’t think it should, we call it a weed, and give it its marching orders. And all because it doesn’t have an advertising budget, basically: Its flowers and foliage are not considered suitable garden material, because the ‘budget’ didn’t run to eye-catching size, shape or colour.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to lift the spirits, it’s bright seasonal colour in containers at doors and windows. With a little planning, you can have pretty things in pots and windowboxes all year round, and they’re perfect for places where space is tight.
Yes, you read that right – we’re talking about underwear for the garden this week. The importance of good underpinnings can’t be overestimated, and this is the time of year when you need to be getting them in place. The right supports for your plants will not only make them look good, but by keeping each plant upright and in its place, everyone gets their fair share of sunlight, air and water – so each plant can do its job and make your garden sing.
I can’t imagine my garden without birds, and I love each and every one of them, from the perky robins who perch a few feet away and eye you up speculatively, to the pair of collared doves that land together every so often, exchange a few mildly puzzled coos and lumber off again, looking confused. By encouraging birds of all kinds into the garden, you’re giving it the best possible chance of being a healthy, balanced ecosystem – they may come for the food you’ve left out, but they’ll stay to hoover up greenfly, slugs and lots of other garden ‘pests’ that have designs on your plants.