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Clearly Contemporary

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It can be tempting when building your dream home to focus only on the house itself and not on its surroundings. It’s very understandable too - things you didn’t even know existed need to be budgeted for, and always turn out to be more expensive than you’d thought.

Scents of an Ending

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If asked to name some autumn scented plants could you do it? It might be trickier than you think, as the scents we associate with autumn usually tend towards the woodsmoke / damp leaves / spiced pumpkin variety, no? Actually I suspect spiced pumpkin has more to do with Starbucks than with autumn, in this part of the world anyway, thanks to the cult status of the PSL in recent times. (For those aged 21 and over that’s the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, obviously).

Going Native - Part Two

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last week’s Gardenwise has inspired you to consider a native hedge, you might find yourself paying more attention to what’s growing at the side of the road near you as you pass – but please take care if you’re driving! If you’re walking, running or just out for a stroll though, it’s amazing how rewarding a study of the simple plants growing wild at the roadside can be – and this is the season when they really come into their own.

Going Native - Part One

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A drive through the Irish countryside in autumn can be a real treat as native hedgerows display their jewel coloured treasures – ruby haws and rosehips, glowing blackberries, and sloes and elderberries gleaming blue. Soon the leaves will be changing colour too, and the quirky spindle, hiding in plain sight for the last few months, will blaze into fiery colour – each little dangling berry reminding us, with its pink casing and orange centre, that fashionistas might think they invented the colour clash, but nature got there first.

Herbal happiness

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What is a herb, exactly? I wasn’t actually sure myself, so I asked Google, and it replied Any plant with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine or perfume.

Who’s the Boss here?

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I’m lucky enough to work from home, that is when I’m not being blasted by Atlantic gales, or lashed with rain on a site as I’m taking measurements and photographs in preparation for starting a garden design. As anyone whose office is in their home will tell you, this has upsides and downsides. One of the upsides is being able to snatch five or ten minutes in the garden at lunchtime if the weather is at all favourable. Today I had a chance to do just that, and it set me up for the rest of the afternoon. The sky was blue, the bright orange nasturtiums were blazing cheerfully along the fence and I could feel a soft breeze coming in from the coast – it was so refreshing and such a good way to clear the head.

Colour You Can Count On

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time of year as a beginning – of toasty fires, autumn spiced cookies and blazing coloured leaves. But it’s very hard letting go of summer for another whole year, so to ease the transition into autumn proper, the clever gardener will have a few tricks up his or her sleeve to keep things looking cheerful outside until it’s time to close the curtains and retreat inside.

In Praise of the Raise

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As the multi-tasking debate continues – does it make you an extra-productive, capable achiever or leave you a mindless, burnt-out wreck? – you have to admit that things that multi-task (objects as opposed to people) absolutely rock. A mobile phone moonlighting as a torch? Nifty. Storage that doubles as a seat? Don’t mind if I do. A spork? I haven’t personally had the pleasure, but I’m sure they’re extremely useful. Whether space is tight or it’s just appreciation of good design, we all like things that work hard for us.

Social (and Antisocial) Climbers

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Let there be height you said – and lo there was height, but what happened next? Choosing the right climbing plant for the right structure can be confusing, as the choice is so varied and expanding all the time. The right climber will enhance and beautify, but one that’s too shy or too vigorous for the particular spot it’s intended could well end up being labelled antisocial, through no fault of its own.

It’s still alive, you know

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It’s never really finished, to be honest. You can plan, certainly, and that undoubtedly gives you a better result – but it’s a living thing, and like all living things, it needs some looking after.

 

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