Heleniums, one of the starts of the late summer/early autumn garden are a good candidate for the Chelsea Chop. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Clever pruning works wonders with many kinds of herbaceous perennia

Nettles: the soupy mix will  transform itself into a smelly but impressively effective, nutrient-rich, liquid plant feed. Photograph: Richard Johnston

This is the time of year to harvest wild plants and seawood and turn them into plant feed

The meadows at Highgrove House  in Tetbury, England. Photograph:  Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Highgrove, the prince’s wild country garden, is proof he’s a true-blue environmentalist

Garden flowers from  Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, by Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai. Photograph: Michèle M. Waite

Fresh local blooms are a lot more lovely than chilled flowers flown in from afar

A homemade ice bowl using edible flower petals. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Even the smallest spaces can yield salad, peas, peppers and dahlias both pretty and tasty

Species tulips naturalised in grass in Angela Jupe’s Offaly garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Beautify your garden with some of the many tulip types and check out garden shows

Start now if you want a soft, thick sward of velvety-green grass this summer.

Even a woebegone, bedraggled lawn can show signs of improvement within weeks

Visitors to Phoenix Park can appreciate the impressive beauty and productivity of the Ashtown Victorian kitchen garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

New exhibition highlights role Phoenix Park has played in capital’s history

Start with small projects such as growing sunflowers, potatoes and even oranges

A bumblebee feeding on a cosmos flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Trees, variety and a little wilderness – seven ways to lure pollinators to your plot

Prospect Cottage at Dungeness, once owned by Derek Jarman.  Photograph: Getty Images

Holiday-home gardening is a horticultural challenge so forget the lawn and think pebbles, driftwood and easy plants instead

Daffodils  are a sign of spring in the garden

So why do so many gardeners avoid the colour in garden planting schemes?

Stephen Butler must create a sense of horticultural realism without poisoning the animals.

Horticulturalist Stephen Butler creates habitats that conjure up far-off lands

Grow your own: Michelle Obama took a spade to the White House’s South Lawn in 2009 to make a kitchen garden

The Obamas followed a long line of US presidents into the garden. Will the Trumps carry on the tradition?

Community gardener Maeve Foreman hoeing weeds in one of the raised beds belonging to Mud Island Community Garden in Dublin

Raised beds, slip-proof surfaces and ingenious tools help keep elderly gardeners going

Young sweet-pea plants climbing up willow supports

From salads to sweet pea: here are five gardening projects for spring

It’s time to take action – and also abstain from action – to save our hedgehogs

If you want these spiky creatures in your garden avoid slug pellets and herbicides

Right now is a great time to plant both bare-root and potted rose plants, focusing on only the best, most disease-resistant, strongly scented cultivars. Photograph: Getty Images

February is the time to plant roses – they’re high maintenance but so worth it

Learn some of the hidden language of flowers before you send them to your Valentine

New book by royal wedding floral designer decodes the meaning of blooms

A bouquet of Irish flowers: many brides to be want  to use of seasonal Irish-grown flowers for their bouquets and to have a personal hand in growing them. Photograph: Joseph Carr

For a summer wedding, grow fast-growing, long-flowering, floriferous annuals

Garden beauty: plant several different types of dahlia to enliven your garden.

With a range of heights and in a spectrum of colours, dahlias are perfect for your garden

Dahlia 'Grenidor Pastelle'

These showy flowers bring a bit of brilliance to the garden

Planting at this time of the year also minimises the time-consuming demands of labour-intensive chores such as watering. Photograph: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis via Getty Images

Opt for a dry period when planting and take its eventual size into careful consideration

When it comes to fruit, container-grown fig trees and strawberries are a great choice for small tunnels while for larger polytunnels, consider grape-vines or cordon/espalier/fan-trained peach, apricot or nectarine trees,

Your guide to the best groundwork, equipment and plants to get started

Growing in an Irish climate, with a little help from a polytunnel

For top tips on growing flowers and food in polytunnels try these books, blogs and posts

Cloughjordan eco village in Co Tipperary, where the principles of permaculture design have been applied to everything from its buildings to its  woodlands and farm. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Take a holistic, sustainable approach to the garden to foster soil and human health

Polytunnel love: hordes of gardeners around Ireland have invested in a tunnel in recent years

Goodbye unpredictable weather constraints, hello undercover gardening

Hedge layer Mark McDowell partially slices the base of a blackthorn branch. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Hawthorn, dog rose, spindle, elder: advice about what goes into a traditional hedgerow

Winter blooms from the garden including witchhazel and Viburnum bodnantense can be used to decorate the New Year table.

At this time of year, the sight of a flowering plant or shrub brings a peculiarly intense joy

Landform at  Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art created by environmental artist,  landscape designer and “cultural theorist” Charles Jencks. Photograph: Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images

With landscape as canvas, ‘land art’ delights in swirls and spirals using soil as material

Close-up of a natural Christmas wreath made by Fionnuala, using willow, yew, honesty seedheads, hawthorn berries, ferns, beech twigs and old man's beard foraged from the garden or in the wild

Take your pick of branches and berries, but be careful if foraging further afield

Sadie Chowen of the Burren Perfumery: she says she is  obsessed by the smells of the wild landscape surrounding her home and business

Perfumes inspired by stark beauty of Burren and variety of native flora

Lilliput fruit trees from Mr Middleton.

Avoid gimmicky “gifts”and give gardeners some really useful or beautiful things

A winter window box filled with skimmias, heucheras, trailing ivies and winter-flowering pansies. Photograph: Tig Mays

In gloomy winter weather, the special charm of the window box lies not so much in colourful floral displays but more in its clev(...)

Carlow artist Nicola Brown is showing her wares at National Crafts & Design Fair in RDS

Finish pruning summer-fruiting  blackberries to encourage them to grow new canes next spring.

Staying in touch with the soil can help to make us happier and save the planet

Matt Damon turns his hand to gardening on the “red planet” in The Martian

Seed tests show that colonies on other planets should be able to grow their own food

Black Hamburg grapes ripening in the Richard Turner-designed peachhouse in the gardens of Áras an Uachtaráin

Whether outdoors or under cover, we are coming to the best time to plant vines

A hardy grape variety and tenacious Irish winemakers are confounding the sceptics

Ingredients growing in the   garden of Glebe Gardens restaurant in west Cork. Photograph: Richard Johnston

More Irish restaurants cultivate the habit of growing their own seasonal produce

How does any novice gardener transform the dirty, grey soil of what was up until recently a busy building site, into the kind of crumbly, chocolate-coloured growing medium in which plants will happily grow?

Aim for the right plants for the right soil and in the right place

For it to be an efficient, environmentally-friendly fuel, your home-grown firewood needs to be as dry as possible

The benefits of growing wood for fuel include the pleasure of chopping and stacking it

 In a small town garden,  deep shade can often be cast by overlooking buildings or neighbouring trees, but shady gardens can be magnificent, leafy places with a special charm all their own. Photograph from 'New Small Garden' by Noel Kingsbury (Frances Lincoln), with photography by Maayke de Ridder

A town garden can be a place of peace and contemplation, to grow food and watch nature

Stepping stones: Mien Ruys’s Gardens in Dedemsvaart in the Netherlands.

Mien Ruys transformed garden design with her experimental, creative approach

An Acer showing brilliant autumn colour in the Kildare gardens of Coolcarrigan Photograph: Richard Johnston

There is no one perfect tree, but here are suggestions for gardens big and small

Verde 25 in Turin: not so much a tree house as a house of trees, with more than 60  apartments housed within its five-storey walls

. . . it is like the Verde 25 building in Turin where plants form vital part of design

The intricate work of British botanical artist Rachel Dein. Photograph: Andrew Montgomery

Capturing that perfect moment in the garden

A paeony in flower: late October is an excellent time to plant all types of paeonies. Both the Itoh hybrids and herbaceous types like a spot in either full sun or light shade, while tree paeonies will tolerate deeper shade

A bit of effort now with weeds and seeds will pay off in next year’s harvest

Rose petals, forget-me-nots, cornflowers and daisies as seen on faces at Preen’s SS17 show at London Fashion Week. Photograph: Estrop/Getty

The latest trend on the catwalks involves using fresh flowers to adorn oneself

Autumn-flowering chrysanthemum ‘Orange Allouise’ from Fionnuala Fallon’s garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

With chrysanthemums, it’s best to start with the easy ones, and then work your way up to the showstoppers

‘What, for you, are the quintessential smells of autumn? The musty whiff of fallen leaves? The sweet fungal odour of gently decaying foliage?’ Photograph: Richard Johnston

A Norwegian artist has managed to ‘harvest’ the smell of Central Park

Rich pickings: ripe seed heads of Thalictrum. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Many popular hardy annuals are prime candidates for autumn seed-saving

The ‘Golden Lily’ wallpaper design, by Morris & Co. Reproduced with permission from Brian S Nolan and Morris & Co

Gorgeous Victorian creations based on garden plants are still in high demand

A detail of Helen Dillon’s garden at 45 Sandford Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The horticultural luminary has taught many gardeners innumerable lessons in generosity, bravery, joyfulness, editing and anti-s(...)

Tulip ‘Angelique’ and (right) Tulip ‘Mount Tacoma’, which both appear in April/May. Photograph: Courtesy of Mr Middleton

In the case of autumn bulb planting, resist the temptation to stay snug indoors

The garden at Voxpro’s Cork office, which is to be replicated at the company’s other branches. Photograph: Barbara Falke

A company garden in Cork provides food, serenity and inspiration for staff

Lilium henryi, or tiger lily, was brought to Europe from China by Augustine Henry. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Intrepid collectors died of disease, were eaten by wild animals or beheaded by local tribes

Dan Hinkley in Vietnam with Daphniphyllum. Photograph:  Uoc Le Huu

Dan Hinkley, a supernova and reluctant ‘granddaddy’ of the gardening world, is coming to Ireland

Box hedging in the gardens of Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co Cork. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Good reasons not to give up on wonderfully versatile box hedging despite fungal disease

Carl Linnaeus’s standardisation of plant names revolutionised botany

Swedish botanist revolutionised world of botany with his standardisation of plant names

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’. Photograph: Karen Lynes/Peter Nyssen

The ‘Café Au Lait’ dahlia is a rock-star flower, with its extravagantly-ruffled blooms the colour of a milky coffee, but it might (...)

Walled garden at Glenarm Castle, Co Antrim.

The Irish Georgian Society has organised a Walled Gardens Study Day, to take place in early September

Simon Doyle and Adrian Coen were commissioned to come up with a fresh design for the picnic benches. Photograph: Cáit Fahey

Simon Doyle and Adrian Coen’s airy, contemporary design combines functionality with beauty

How a citizen science experiment followed the research of the brilliant Nazi codebreaker

A dewy summer rose, from A Tale of Two Gardens.

‘A Tale of Two Gardens’ is lovely, poignant, informative, and elegantly written

‘Rake’s Progress’ is a fresh take on the classic gardening magazine genre

Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ flowering in the Dublin garden of Helen Dillon. Photograph: Richard Johnston

These shrubby plants have a chameleon-like quality that makes them look as much at home in a traditional country garden as in a ch(...)

The Hampton Court maze in  greater London: from the late 17th century, it is one of the oldest surviving mazes in Europe Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The maze at Hampton Court Palace contains many twists, branches, turns and dead ends

Stephen’s McAllister’s city ‘garden’ is no more than a cheerful clutter of pots and recycled wooden wine crates on a crowded, sh(...)

A tortoiseshell butterfly in an Irish garden feeding from the magenta flowers of oregano. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The variety of plants and animals in the world has fallen to dangerously low levels, but gardeners can take modest measures to en(...)

A scarecrow on duty in an Irish school garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The All-Ireland Scarecrow Championship at Durrow, Co Laois, includes Mad Hatters and a runaway bride; a previous winner was inspir(...)

James Alexander-Sinclair: “Not only is [horticulture] exciting, creative work, but there’s also great charm in the idea that you’re doing something that will leave the world a better place.” Photograph: Courtesy of Malvern Spring Show

Alexander-Sinclair will be in Ireland later this month to give a talk in Altamont gardens as part of the Carlow Garden Festival

Astrantia ‘Ruby Wedding’ Photograph:   Richard Johnston

Fionnuala Fallon’s gardening column

The idea of planting according to the rhythms of the moon divides gardeners

Growing flowers from seed will give you great joy and satisfaction

Cornwall-based textile artist Sian Cornish collecting plant material to use as natural dyes for her range of silk ribbons

The centuries-old practice can create deep, vibrant colours and is environment-friendly

Classic text now in ebook offers wealth of scientific advice to younger generation

The pretty annual Cosmos flowering in an Irish vegetable garden. Photograph: Richard Johnson.

It’s not too late to tackle that weeded patch and get planting some vegetables

Christopher Lloyd’s  words of wit and wisdom were drawn from a lifetime spent caring for and developing the species-rich meadows of his garden at Great Dixter

Gardeners will revel in reissue of classic handbook on managing grass rich pasture

Séamus O’Brien,  head gardener at Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens in Co Wicklow. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Head gardener Séamus O’Brien explains how to successfully mix flowers and grasses

Gardeners with arthritic hands meanwhile swear by the Active Hands General Purpose Gripping Aids (activehands. com)

When every joint is aching and your skin is burnt, here’s what you can do to help

Jimi Blake’s garden, Hunting Brook in west Wicklow.

At this time of the year many are looking at their most florierous and leafy best

Garden designer Andrew Christopher Dunne with his children Adam, Sam and Jack and wife Carly Dunne in his Bloom  garden – the Savills Garden “Face to Face”. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Ireland’s biggest garden event kicks off its 10th year in style in the Phoenix Park

Diarmuid Gavin’s silver-gilt winning garden.

Garden designers Paul Martin and Diarmuid Gavin made sure the Irish were again among the medals at Britain’s leading flower show, (...)

Paul Martin’s garden for which he won a gold medal. Photograph:  PA

Paul Martin and Diarmuid Gavin named among winners

Wicklow gardener and nursery owner June Blake planting up a vintage cast-iron pot with a selection of choice summer-flowering perennials

A dreamy mix of flowers and foliage is guaranteed to fill your heart with joy

Well-known gardener Helen Dillon with the late Ruby, one of her much-loved dachshunds

Dig in column: Think about the effect on your garden before you choose a pooch

Kilkenny Castle and John’s Bridge when  the  city was announced as  the Irish Tidy Town winner in 2014. Photograph: Pat Moore.

No place for weedkillers and mowing of wildflowers in environmentally-friendly award

Gorgeous, magical stories that can nourish a child’s instinctive love of the natural world

View across the pool in the Italian garden of Garinish Island in Co Cork. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The OPW has just finished an utterly brilliant restoration of Bryce House on the island

Detail of tulip ‘Julia Farnese’ rose feather (1976) by Rory McEwen. Watercolour on vellum, 53 x 51 cm. Reproduced by kind permission of the estate of Rory McEwen

Some varieties are extinct because their bulbs were infected by ‘tulip-breaking’ viruses passed on by aphids

Frances McDonald in the Bay Garden, surrounded by Tulip ‘Golden Apeldoorn’ and T. ‘Apeldoorn Elite’. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Some 5,000 are in bloom in the Bay Garden in Camolin, Co Wexford

A section of Dan Pearson’s winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2015. Photograph: Allan Pollok-Morris

The Best in Show winner at the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show is giving a talk at Lismore Castle

The Lowline Lab in New York’s Lower East Side, which is already yielding strawberries and miniature pineapples.  Photograph: John Taggart/Bloomberg

The inventive use of solar technology in an underground park is lighting the way for an ambitious fibre-optic scheme

Lantern shapes, slender stems: Fritillaria meleagris in flower in Fionnuala Fallon’s garden this week. Photograph: Richard Johnston

This almost-wild plant self-seeds around gardens, yielding generous clusters of pretty spring flowers that look as good in a vase(...)

An adult puffin on the cliff tops on Skomer Island  in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In Victorian times,    Peruvian guano was much sought after. Photograph:  Matt Cardy/Getty

We dress it up with terms like ‘livestock manure’, but human and animal excrement is part of gardening folklore

Paul Martin: ‘It’s a little bit like showing a pedigree dog at Crufts; you have to understand the rules if you want to win a medal at Chelsea.’ Photograph: Richard Johnston

Paul Martin is using many Irish suppliers and contractors in his show garden this year

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