SOS – Save Our Songbirds!

Tue, Nov 12, 2019

Regular readers will know how much I love my feathered garden visitors – and I know from chatting to many of you that you do too – so you can imagine how horrified I was to learn recently that we could be helping to cause the deaths of millions of these tiny creatures every time we do a grocery shop.

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Therefore all Seasons……

Tue, Nov 05, 2019

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee’ wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Whether the summer clothe the general earth with greeness’……’or whether the eave drops fall, heard only in the trances of the blast’…..Fair play to him, I say, for being so open – minded. I’m afraid the colder, darker seasons are not very sweet to me, and when the poet wrote those lines he didn’t have central heating, Netflix and other small comforts that make the winter bearable. What he did have though, was an appreciation of the natural world and a sense of the beauty to be found in it at all times.

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A Tree for Every Season

Thu, Oct 17, 2019

This is a great time to plant a tree – the earth is still relatively warm and you can probably count on plenty of rainfall to keep the soil moist. But which one to choose? Well how about settling on a tree to suit your favourite season?

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Clearly Contemporary

Tue, Oct 15, 2019

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.

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Scents of an Ending

Tue, Oct 08, 2019

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).

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Going Native - Part Two

Thu, Sep 26, 2019

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.

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Going Native - Part One

Tue, Sep 24, 2019

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.

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Herbal happiness

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

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.

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Who’s the Boss here?

Mon, Sep 09, 2019

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.

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Colour You Can Count On

Mon, Sep 02, 2019

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.

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In Praise of the Raise

Tue, Aug 27, 2019

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.

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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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