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

Fairy thimbles, fairy gloves, witches’ bells . . . whatever name you might know it by, the lofty purple flower spires of our native foxglove are on(...)

The edible flowers of pot marigolds. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The very best gardens are those that feed the mind, body and soul. An example is the pint-sized kitchen roof garden which I spotted on a recent tri(...)

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(...)

Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’

If the summer garden is like a glass of Champagne, then flowering annuals are its fizz, its sparkle, its fun. Used with flair and imagination, they(...)

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 (...)

These baby plants may be of Lilliputian proportions, but they are wonderfully decorative and intensely flavoursome. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make all the difference. Take micro leaves (or micro greens or microveg, as they are also known), tho(...)

Lichens growing on a stone statue in the historic gardens of Mount Stewart, Co Down. Photograph: Richard Johnston
Loving lichen

Here’s a little quiz for you . . . Which widespread organism is found on almost every garden surface (soil, trees, some evergreen leaves, walls, ro(...)

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(...)