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

Ubiquitous, disreputable and unloved is how the British nature writer Richard Mabey famously described weeds, while at the same time arguing that the(...)

Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’. Photograph: Richard Johnston

As gardeners, we may occasionally grumble about Ireland’s cool, damp climate but oh, how our daffodils adore it: everywhere I looked this week, I see(...)

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

Of all the various gems of advice given to me during my training at the National Botanic Gardens many years ago, “Beware of old ladies bearing umbrell(...)

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

Say the words “Lollipop tree” to any child and it’s likely to conjure up Enid Blyton-esque images of stiff branches magically laden with delectably su(...)

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

I don’t know of any kitchen gardener who doesn’t relish the annual ritual of sowing and growing their own potatoes, from the special, muddy-fingered p(...)

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

Given that it’s as much a symbol of our rain-soaked little island as the Irish tricolour or the national anthem, it’s strange to think that the botani(...)

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

Tucked away inside the pages of an old family album is a photograph of my grandfather’s back garden, taken on a late summer’s day some time in the la(...)

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

Ugly views, glaring street lights, nosy neighbours, goldfish bowl-style glass extensions added to next-door properties . . . or just a natural desire(...)

Sea side: Padraic Uí Néide of Inis Mór spreading seaweed to make lazybeds. Photograph: Richard Johnston

It is at this time of year that I envy anyone who lives by the sea. But it’s not those wide-open skies, silvery dunes and briny, ice-cold waves that I(...)

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

Roses, if a recent survey by Bord Bia is to be believed, are the nation’s favourite garden flower. Certainly, all that’s required is a stroll down an(...)