Gardens of the High Line

For many years I walked and enjoyed the wildness of a deserted railway line close to my home. The interaction between the industrial hard landscape and the gradual but persistent encroachment of nature is always fascinating and it was such a scene in New York which inspired the development of the High Line, one of […]

What were they thinking?

How often have you looked at a designed landscape and wondered what had inspired the creator to develop the area in this particular way! This book has been both a revelation and a comfort as there are times when the source of inspiration may be clear and obvious – for example, when the garden is […]

Primulas – The Plant Lover’s Guide

Our beautiful native pale yellow primroses announce, “Spring is here” more effectively than any other plant. It is no wonder we love them and delight in seeing them each year. They have a simple beauty which endears them to young and old, to gardener and non-gardener alike. Beyond the native species of our own country […]

Coming to Terms with Your Plants!

Amicia zygomeris is an uncommon and rather unusual looking plant. The leaves are of a peculiar shape, not unlike those of the tulip tree where what would normally be a pointed end of the leaf is blunt and double-lobed with an almost cut-off appearance leading to the common name of yolk-leaved Amicia and it is […]

Magnificent Magnolias

As I live very close to Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford, magnolias are a big part of my gardening year as I can see not only an unrivaled selection of magnolias but also plantings in numbers which cannot be seen anywhere else. The February flowering of Magnolia campbellii, a planting made over fifty years ago […]

Pottering about in the Garden!

The quiet times in our gardens regularly allow us to enjoy delightful moments when we may witness scenes not enjoyed by those who rush along through life – the robin who comes to snap up the disturbed worm, the wood pigeon bathing in the garden pond, the house sparrows raiding the hens’ food, the stoat […]

Give a lot; Demand little!

Geraniums are among the most popular of garden plants and it is easy to understand why. They are versatile, easy to please and excellent performers. It is easy to find cultivars which will suit sun or shade, those for border display and others for ground cover under shrubs and trees. Robin Parer is the owner of […]

Rainy Days are Reading Days!

It is the first of April, the weather is dreadful but it has provided an opportunity to catch up on book reviews. There is always a queue of books to be read and often it is more pleasant to read the next one that write about the previous. This must be one of the busy […]

The Art of Gardening…Chanticleer

It would seem impossible that a garden designed by committee would be considered a “standard bearer of excellence in horticulture worldwide” (Dan Hinkley at ) but it seems such is the case for Chanticleer Gardens, on the outskirts of Wayne, Pennsylvania, as they are extraordinarily successful and deeply loved by the American gardening community. […]

Asters are the Stars!

Asters are the highlight plants of the garden at this moment. They are the ones which shine out and provide outstanding colour as the season is otherwise drawing to a close. They lengthen our season of colour and interest in the garden and are again being appreciated as the wonderful plants they are, easy to […]

Will We Let the Garden Go Wild?

What would happen if we allowed plants have their own way and to grow as and where nature decides? Would it be chaos or just another facet of our gardens? The thought of allowing plants to have their unbridled way in the garden is, perhaps, too much for most gardeners who see their creation and […]

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Tulips by Richard Wilford – A Review

All the gardener will need to know about tulips is presented in this book in an informative, concise, readable and well-illustrated manner. The author, Richard Wilford, spent many years looking after the general bulb collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but travels to see species tulips growing in the wild and to the Keukenhof […]

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias by Andy Vernon – A Review.

A gardening book written by a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and experienced gardener quickly wins the heart and the mind and makes for enjoyable, informative, applicable and pleasurable reading. Andy Vernon is writing about the razamatazz element of many of our summer gardens, dahlias, and provides wonderful background information on these plants, excellent advice on growing and […]

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Epimediums by Sally Gregson – A Review.  

We have entered a period of renewed interest in epimediums following the introduction of a range of new species from China and the subsequent richness of cultivars bred from them. For many years gardeners have considered epimediums as the pretty plant for dry shade conditions but the new Chinese plants are simply astonishing and have […]

Hidden Histories: Trees –The Secret Properties of 150 Species by Noel Kingsbury. A Review

This book presents a collection of snippets of interesting information about a world-wide selection of trees and presents this in an arrangement of text boxes along with accompanying illustrations. As would be expected the practical uses of trees feature regularly – those used for building purposes, for making furniture or tools, for weaving into baskets, […]

Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden by Keith Wiley: A Review

When I first visited Keith Wiley’s garden, “Wildside” in Devon, I though the man must be a complete nutcase. At the time, the planting of the garden was almost complete with some area still under development. To me, it didn’t seem much like “development” when I walked it as there was still a large area […]