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

Bad days, we all have them. Something happens, and suddenly you find yourself briefly but uncomfortably at odds with the world. I was having such a(...)

Meet the Tomtato: You say tomato, I say potato . . . but now meet the “tomtato”. Gardeners have taken to this strange plant in a big way. Its ‘(...)

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

In the same way that I have a soft spot for eccentrics and oddballs of the human kind, so I’ve always been intrigued by the horticulturally strange(...)

Willow weaver Beth Murphy at work in her country garden on County Kildare. Photographs: Richard Johnston

Whimsy ... not only do I love it as a word but I also like it in a garden, where it brings an air of playful, joyful irreverence. For the same reas(...)

It has always struck me as deliciously odd that a plant capable of producing such fiery-tasting fruits should be known by the name of “chilli”. We (...)

Sam Smyth of Urban Plant Life surrounded by the Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana), one of his favourite indoor plants. Photographs: Richard Johnston

It’s not easy being a house plant. Too often, it’s expected to have the endurance skills of a French Foreign legionnaire along with a supernatural (...)

Clarke’s Soaps, handmade in Dublin

I could start off this week’s column with a Grinch-like list of gifts that the nation’s gardeners are hoping not to find under the tree this year ((...)

Verney Naylor-designed garden and boathouse at the West Cork home of Lord and Lady Puttnam

Vast, golden beaches, salty summer breezes, anemone-filled rock pools and sand in your toes: what would summer be without at least one trip to the sea(...)

Leaves and edible flowers for the salad bowl. Photograph: Richard Johnston

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately dreaming about salads. Not just any old salad, but the perfect, homegrown leafy salad; the sort with just t(...)

Grow it yourself: a great way to save money. Photograph: Getty Images

Gardening has become rocket science all of a sudden after news this month that astronauts are growing their own vegetables in space, suggesting(...)