The Common Good

We all share the same landscape.  A crime against horticulture is, on some level, a crime against humanity and the country is awash with great examples,rural and urban. There are certain practices which , anecdotally, it seems nobody agrees with and which attract universal disdain. Yet they keep happening. You would be hard pressed to… Read more »

The No Half Measures Monty

Last Saturday night myself and my wife, along with roughly a thousand others, enjoyed An Evening with Monty Don. The event was part of the annual Carlow Garden Trail and took place in the Arboretum in Leighlinbridge. Monty talked to us about his life in gardening and specifically the development of his own garden, Longmeadow… Read more »

School Gardening

Is it not time we had a coherent strategy to incorporate horticulture and gardening into mainstream education? You may have noticed the odd polytunnel in some of the new second level schools which have been built over the last decade or so. This is obviously to be applauded as a step in the right direction… Read more »

The Autistic Gardeners

I don’t watch much television but I have been tuning into a programme called The Autistic Gardener over the past couple of weeks on Channel Four. The show concerns a Garden Designer fortuitously named Alan Gardner. Alan has Asperger’s syndrome and believes that his condition allows him to bring something unique to his work; microscopic… Read more »

Face The Fear And Plant It Anyway

The fear is everywhere, the fear of making a mistake. The nobility of learning through trial and error, though often preached, is evidently  a concept that we abandoned with childhood. There is a view that mistake based learning stops at a certain point, a point after which we can be microscopically prescriptive  and everything will… Read more »

The Kids Are All Right

We have talked about the potential for the garden to provide a dynamic and stimulating environment for the entire age spectrum. Add this to what we have traditionally prioritised in our outside space and you have what seems to an irreconcilable cacophany of design imperatives. Modern garden design attempts to pack a lot in. The… Read more »

Design For Life

Biophilia, the theory as developed by the biologist Edward O. Wilson,  is defined as an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world. Now, we’ve all heard of horticultural therapy;  its multiple benefits have been well researched and documented. That same research, however, might just be about to acquire a new… Read more »

The Possibilities Are Endless

The possibilities are endless. The combinations and computations are infinite. There is no end to what is not needed or what does not belong. Good design is difficult because of the amount of superfluousness that relentlessly  tries to insinuate itself into the picture. The designer must be ever vigilant to eradicate that which does not… Read more »

All The Things Your Garden Can Do for You

The garden is a magical place; it provides therapy, illness recovery, increases intellectual capacity, provides wholesome goal driven participation for people in need of a supportive and nurturing environment, holistic benefits.  Ultimately where we’re going with all this stuff is to expand the conventional meaning of accessible in the garden context; physically accessible yes but… Read more »

Broad Appeal

Consider Multi Generational Design and how it can impact areas like horticultural therapy, designing for autism, for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There is a confidence building role for it within the work being done with people in transition; from abusive or addictive backgrounds, children from dysfunctional homes.Facilitating pleasurable engagement with the garden. Providing the vehicle… Read more »