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

‘Mr October’ with a floral crown by Fiona Haser Bizony of Electric Daisy Flower Farm. Image reproduced courtesy of Alma Haser

Growers of seasonal ‘eco blooms’ can find a wealth of information and practical advice online

It’s a good time to prepare vegetable beds in kitchen gardens and allotments.  Photograph: Richard Johnston

Growing in modules offers protection from weeds, slugs and cold winds

‘Assumpta’s Treasure’ by Holly Somerville, reproduced by permission of the artist. See hollysomerville.com

Digging reveals tiny pieces of history in broken personal and household objects

Drawings on show at ‘A Weed is a Plant out of Place’ at Lismore Castle, from left: Elizabeth Blackwell, ‘A Curious Herbal, Vol 1, Poppy’; Maria Sibylla Merian, from ‘Metamorphosin Insectarium Surinamensum’; HC Hulme, from ‘Familiar Wild Flowers’. All copyright of the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth and reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

Two exhibitions explore the very different lights in which these nomads of the plant world can be viewed

Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’. Photograph: Richard Johnston

There is a growing appreciation among gardeners for this rich horticultural legacy

Rare yellow snowdrops like this one are much coveted by galanthophiles. Photograph: Richard Johnston

People who work in public gardens and parks need to keep their eyes peeled for plant pilferers

The only way to restore your lollipop tree to its leafy best is to re-pot it, a job best carried out at this time of year as the plant starts back into growth. Photograph: Thinkstock

Giving your lollipop tree some good nourishment is key to keeping it in top condition

Anne Moloney, an allotment holder at Pearse College, with some of her freshly harvested Record potatoes. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Few things taste as good as a handful of freshly dug potatoes, lightly steamed and tossed in butter and a dusting of sea salt. But(...)

‘True Irish shamrock’  is actually clover. Above, the illustration on the cover of ‘Shamrock’, a new booklet by artist  Sonia Caldwell

The national symbol we wear proudly on St Patrick’s Day can be one of a number of plants

The reliably perennial, late-summer flowering Gladiolus ‘Ruby’ growing with eryngiums and diascias in Helen Dillon’s Dublin garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Gladioli are highly decorative, easy to grow and available in a range of gorgeous colours

A pleached lime hedge in the private gardens of Oakfield Park, Co Donegal. Photograph: Richard Johnston

There are lots of ways to plant for privacy without choosing something that will become invasive, shady or high-maintenance

An arrangement of David Austin roses, sweet pea and alchemilla from Fionnuala’s garden last summer. Photograph: Richard Johnston

They’re difficult to grow, but breeders are coming up with new garden-friendly species

My latest fascination has been Camellia sasanqua cultivars. The flowers appear in autumn, the plants are much more elegant in habit than their spring-flowering counterparts, Camellia japonica, and have sweet scented flowers.

What turns a gardener into a plant collector? Single mindedness and an obsessive streak help

While the internet offers an endless supply of seed catalogues, it is still a case of buyer beware

This useful plant is used to reduce pain, to moisturise and to aid healing, among other properties

Preliminary watercolour study  of Iris ‘Killiney’ by botanical artist Jane Stark. (Drawing courtesy of ISBA)

An illustrated book and an exhibition recognising some of Ireland’s new garden plants will be launched this year

The mild winter is bad for gardens – many plants need a sufficient period of chilly weather in order to thrive

Next year’s catalogues are out, and there are lots of interesting new plants to consider growing

There’s a host of handsome evergreen shrubs whose foliage will give your Christmas decorations an air of distinction

Get the gardener in your life a book they will ahve forever

There is a wonderful variety of gardening books for the plantsperson in your life

There are gifts across the price range for your favourite horticulturalists

Compost bins and beehive nestle in the floating orchard barge in London created by kitchen gardener Nick Lacey – one of the innovative kitchen gardens that features in Lia Leendertz’s book, My Tiny Veg Plot

Nowhere is too small or too unlikely – from an unused swimming pool to the back of a pick-up truck – to grow your own food

Tuber treasure: dahlia tubers can be used to make ice cream, crisps, chips, soup, rostis or latkes. Photograph: Richard Johnston

With hints of celery, beetroot and carrot, darling, eat up your dahlias

Gardening this weekend? Fionnuala Fallon has some tips on what you should be concentrating on and some dates for your gardening di(...)

A productive and easy-to-cultivate plant – some would say too easy – the Jerusalem artichoke will happily grow in sun or light shade and in most soils

The Jerusalem artichoke may be a misnomer but this easy-to-cultivate tuber is highly nutritious and tasty

Depending on the particular species or variety, geraniums intensely perfumed foliage can conjure up memories of fistfuls of rose-flavoured Turkish delight, mint humbugs and zingy cola bottles

Lemons, rose, cola bottle, strawberry - just some of the scents that will come from a crushed geranium leaf that can be used to (...)

The decorative flowers of the late- summer flowering, highly poisonous perennial Aconitum. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Even the most innocent seeming plants and flowers can be deadly at heart, but that shouldn’t stop us growing them

An arrangement of decorative autumn seedheads from the garden, including those of the opium poppy, honesty, Thalictrum, Molinia. Photograph: Richard Johnston

There’s a wealth of plants worth growing for their sculptural autumn seedheads alone

Growing new plants from cuttings is a canny way of building up your stock of tender annuals

Peonies, favoured for their blooms, are long lasting plants that can survive for decades

Don’t take for granted the many vivid autumnal trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses that can gild a late season garden

Expect 10 year wait for fully productive plants, but patience is amply rewarded

Now is the time to plant bulbs that will give you armfuls of spring and summer flowers

Not only are they painterly, vivid and gorgeous, ‘pictorial’ meadows are extremely supportive of pollinators

Honeybees will happily forage for pollen and nectar wherever they can find it. but the flowers of some plants are more valuable to(...)

The new dahlia garden in Aras an Uachtarain, which contains several Irish-bed cultivars include Dahlia ‘John Markham’. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Judging these colourful flowers is an exacting process; you can see it in action today in Greystones

Nocino is an Italian liqueur made from green, unripe walnuts steeped in spirit for several months. Photograph: Richard Johnston

It’s been a wet summer but there’s plenty of produce to infuse spirits with and capture sun for the dark days

Edible rose petals and lemon verbena leaves crystallised by Ballymaloe House’s head pastry chef JR Ryall. PHotograph: Richard Johnston

Roses, violets and dahlias all have a place at the tables, whether in salads or atop cakes

 Close-up of the flower and buds of Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ flowering in Fionnuala’s garden last week. Photograph: Richard Johnson

Difficult to grow and short to flower, the poppy is worth the effort

Bumble bee feeding from a cosmos flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The ‘natural capital’ movement aims to increase awareness of nature’s value

‘The tulip lady’: Welsh-born writer and author Anna Pavord

Gardening and writing are Anna Pavord’s two favourite disciplines and she combines them beautifully

Mick Harford, district parks officer with Dublin City Council in St Anne’s Rose Gardens in Raheny. Photographs: Richard Johnston

Head to St Anne’s Rose Gardens for a treat for the senses

If your heart is set on keeping free-range birds, consider allowing them to roam freely in certain areas of the garden for part of the day while fencing/ netting/ caging off more vulnerable areas such as flower beds

Hens are great cleaner-uppers of garden pests but you will need to keep them away from your favourite plants

These gardens bring nothing but good to a community, enriching many lives in many different ways.

Growth spurt in local gardens is enriching many lives in many different ways

Self-seeding plants Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ and the Welsh poppy, Meconsopsis cambrica, putting on a colourful display in Fionnuala’s garden earlier this month.  Photograph: Richard Johnson

There is a lot to be said for encouraging plants and flowers to self-seed through the garden

The purple flower spires of the native foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, lighting up the edges of a Wicklow woodland.

Digitalis purpurea regally colours our countryside but many digitalis varieties can heighten a garden’s borders

The edible flowers of pot marigolds. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Forget the onions and carrots; instead grow plants with the power to radically transform a home-cooked meal

‘Salvia Amistad’ and ‘Cerro Potosi’; growing together in an Irish garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Vast, versatile plants are extraordinarily colourful, aromatic, long flowering and easy to cultivate

 “Darkness into Light – The Pieta House Garden”, a medium-sized show garden which was designed by Niall Maxwell and which features a mural by Joe Caslin. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Fionnuala Fallons picks some highlights from Ireland’s biggest garden festival

Dan Pearson, whose Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden won the title of Best in Show Garden

Decking is back, try a trowel with a twist or a touch of topiary: 14 ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Herbalist Vivienne Campbell will walk your land and show you what’s good to eat and what cures are growing right under your nose(...)

Sligo-based gardener, writer and designer Lorely Forrester, who will be building her first Bloom show garden later this month. Photograph: Fionn Rogers

A show garden for the upcoming Bloom festival is a tribute to WB Yeats

 Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co Wicklow, from The Irish Garden by Jane Powers. Photograph: Jonathan Hession

This remarkable volume, full of stories and atmospheric photographs, shows that Ireland has hidden its horticultural light under a(...)

A Victorian iron ‘Famine Pot’ used as as planter, with orange T. vvedenskyi ‘Henry Hudson’ in Angela Jupe’s Offaly garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Architectural salvage yards are good hunting grounds for vintage garden pieces or ‘gardenalia’

If you want your garden to be brimming with tasty produce this summer, then it’s time to get sowing

The ‘smarties bed’ in June Blake’s Co Wicklow garden last year, filled with ‘Burgundy’, ‘Ballerina’, ‘Negrita’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Bastagne Parrot’ tulips. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Visit June Blake’s Wicklow garden to see a sea of tulips and other blooms

Fitzgerald Nursery staff harvesting a crop of sweet potatoes grown under cover in Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Pat Fitzgerald/Fitzgerald Nurseries

Irish gardeners are reviving ancient crops such as amaranth, kaniwa and quinoa because they are easy to grow and nutritious

The nonagenarian head of a family of champion growers shares his secrets

Sculptural foliage of silver leafed Astelia, Schefflera hoi and tree ferns growing in the city garden of designer Bernard Hickie. Photograph: Richard Johnston

There’s a plant for almost every type of shady spot, but it pays to give the soil a helping hand

Fionnuala’s garden last summer, filled with plants grown from seed under cover earlier that year. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Spring is in the air. It is time to put in some planting work that will pay dividends later in food and flowers

Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’. Photograph: Paddy Tobin

Gardening experts name their favourite Irish flower or plant

Many of the plants in your garden will benefit from a haircut to encourage strong new growth. Don’t spare the secateurs

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