I love the magic, the promise and the muddy-fingered industry of planting flower bulbs in autumn. Not only does it feel like an expression of hope,(...)

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

There are moments, such as in the middle of an ice-cold, stone-hard winter, when it feels as if time has slowed to a frozen standstill in the garde(...)

Summer-flowering annuals picked from Fionnuala Fallon’s garden last week, Calendula ‘Neon’, Ammi visnaga, Briza maxima, Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy, Lathyrus ‘Gwendoline’. Larkspur, pennisetum, and Nigella damascena ‘Deep Blue’ Photograph: Richard Johnson

I’m writing this on the sort of mellow, golden autumn day that, like Frederick the field mouse (the eponymous hero of Leo Lionni’s classic children’s (...)

A bench by John Bielenberg based on a painting by Neil Shawcross. Photograph: Richard Johnston
Seat success

What a wonderful summer it’s been for sitting outdoors, savouring the almost forgotten feeling of warm sunlight on our faces. But the next time you se(...)