Let There Be Height

Tue, Aug 20, 2019

One of the most useful things you can do when planning garden improvements is thinking about how to introduce height into the space. It’s such a useful element of design and can completely transform a garden, making it so much more interesting – but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want it to really work for you.

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Social (and Antisocial) Climbers

Tue, Aug 20, 2019

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.

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Let There Be Height

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

One of the most useful things you can do when planning garden improvements is thinking about how to introduce height into space. It’s such a useful element of design and can completely transform a garden, making it so much more interesting – but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want it to really work for you.

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Cottage Gardens in the Twenty First Century

Tue, Aug 06, 2019

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Cottage Garden?’ Lots of things probably spring to mind – roses rambling round a doorway, tall flowering spires – delphiniums, lupins, hollyhocks – masses of scented things, and above all, a sense of abundance. It’s one of the most popular styles of garden even in the midst of all our twenty -first century technology – possibly, in fact, because of all that twenty first century technology.

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Spirit of the Garden or Slightly Sore Thumb?

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

Get it right and it looks like it’s always been there, the spirit of the garden in stone or metal, sprung fully formed from the lusciously planted surroundings. Get it wrong and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Sculpture in the garden – it’s a tricky one to get right.

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It’s still alive, you know

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

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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West Coast Grow Shop's 1st Birthday!

Fri, Jul 05, 2019

The West Coast Grow Shop, formerly the Grow Shop Galway, is having its one-year anniversary this July. Having more than 10 years’ experience in the grow shop industry, it provides excellent service and products for growing enthusiasts around the city, county, and beyond, and is the place for both beginners and experts to visit when planning to improve and expand their planting skills.

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A little sage advice….

Tue, Jul 02, 2019

Looking for some fabulous colour in the garden this summer? Then here’s a little sage advice – get hold of some salvias to bring the bling into your summer borders.

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Contemporary Cool……so Hot Right Now

Mon, Jun 24, 2019

There’s one garden style I love to admire and love to design, but I’m not sure I could live with it in a ‘forever’ way myself – it’s the contemporary, minimalist style. I love these gardens and the sense of peace and calm they can bring when executed properly – the restrained use of planting and the adventurous use of materials and textures. But as anyone who follows me on Instagram and Facebook knows, I can’t resist colour, pattern and texture, and I love the constant changing of the seasons, new things and a regular freshening up of what’s around me.

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How to be a Domestic Goddess – the Garden Way!

Mon, Jun 17, 2019

With the end of the exam season in sight at last, many of us are looking forward gratefully to spending some well-earned time in the garden. There’s an increasing trend towards taking care of ourselves and making sure that some down-time is factored into our day, and this goes hand in hand with the realisation that connecting with the outdoors, with nature and with the garden is the very best way to do this, when our unstable climate permits. As the summer solstice approaches and evenings seem to last forever, it’s possible to spend at least some time in the garden every day, however busy our schedules are.

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Love is Like a Butterfly

Mon, Jun 10, 2019

I suppose I’m betraying my age here but do you remember a golden curled and silvery voiced Dolly Parton singing this every week on her television show, as she appeared on a swing in a floaty gown that fluttered “like soft wings in flight”?

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The Facebook Garden – Connecting with each other and with the natural world

Tue, Jun 04, 2019

One of the most innovative gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was the Beyond the Screen garden sponsored by Facebook. Why? Well, in a world where social media often gets a bad press – and understandably so – this garden set out to celebrate the many ways in which social media platforms can connect people across the world in different ways.

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Some Like it Hot

Fri, May 24, 2019

I’m not given to strong colours inside my home, preferring to keep things calm, neutral and restful (apart from the, ahem, ‘lived in’ clutter that is), but in the garden it’s a different story.

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Top of the Pots

Tue, May 21, 2019

They are the first introduction for many of us, a sort of gateway drug that lures you in and hooks you, so you keep wanting more of them, then different ones, then something else altogether.

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When Imagination needs Cultivation

Mon, May 13, 2019

Last week’s Gardenwise – Doing it For the Kids – seemed to spark a great deal of interest, with lots of people looking for ideas for child-friendly gardens, so this week I thought I’d share a few of those ideas with you. What you can fit in your garden obviously depends on your own particular space, and all the other demands upon it, but here are five of the best to think about:

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Doing it for the Kids……

Tue, May 07, 2019

If you’re a parent you’ll know that along with the incredible joy children bring, there are always….costs. As a loving parent, you take this in your stride, but if you’re like me, you’d prefer to invest wisely when it comes to playing and leisure, so that your little darlings get the most value out of what you’re spending that hard earned money on. The throwaway culture of recent times has led to so much waste, and toys have to be one of the biggest culprits. We have some lovely wooden toys that provided hours of amusement and are still in my office today, coming down from the shelf occasionally when a client has to bring a little one along to a meeting. But the number of plastic things that broke after a few outings – and therefore couldn’t be passed on to the thrift shop, for instance – still bothers me.

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Bee-ing friendly to little Buzzers...

Mon, Apr 29, 2019

When I sit down with clients to discuss their garden design, I always ask them if they would like a wildlife friendly garden, as there are so many ways to encourage beneficial wildlife into a garden, using both design features and choice of plants. Almost everyone is keen to encourage bees and butterflies, with a growing awareness of the decline in bee numbers and the need to provide vital sources of nectar and pollen for them.

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Green habits, green pots and lots of lovely green leaves

Tue, Apr 23, 2019

The gentlemen with whom I share my home (one husband and one child) are disinclined, at the best of times, to partake of vegetables of any description, and though they might be tolerated as a necessary evil occasionally – on top of a pizza, for instance – salad leaves of any kind seem to give rise to a red line. They are, after all, food for rabbits – and I suppose I must have been a rabbit in a former life because they are one of my absolute favourite things. It winds me up though, that the only way to buy them is usually as a whole head of one kind of lettuce – boring! – or as a mixture in a bag – much more interesting and delicious, but it’s hard to get through a whole bag by yourself before they get limp and lifeless, and I hate waste. So this week I’ve been planting my own ‘cut and come again’ lettuce.

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Planting out sweet peas

Mon, Apr 15, 2019

If you’re thinking of growing sweet peas this year, this weekend is a great time to plant them in the garden - and I can’t think of a better way to spend the bank holiday than prepping the garden for the summer season ahead. You can grow them from seed, in which case you would need to have sown them indoors or under glass in January or early February, but most garden centres are stocking young plants about now. Either way, make sure they are hardened off before you plant them outside, to lessen the shock they’ll get from moving outside into a colder environment.

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Sit Down Next to Me

Mon, Apr 08, 2019

Do you pack your garden seats away every winter? I don’t. The thing is, winter’s not that clear cut in these parts - it doesn’t have a fixed beginning and end, tending to show up, uninvited, at intervals throughout the other three seasons. The upside of this is that summer gets a crack at it too, with still, balmy days possible any time from February to November, and it’s a real shame not to take advantage of these to snatch a few welcome minutes in the garden, so I like to make sure there’s always somewhere to sit. By the time you’ve hauled your furniture out of storage and brushed the cobwebs off, the window of opportunity might have closed.

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