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(...)