From Limerick to London with flowers
Aoife Power grew green fingers in Dublin’s parks, but now her world is window boxes
Aoife Power: 'Some of my earliest and fondest memories are being outside helping my parents with the gardening.'
“Some of my earliest and fondest memories are being outside helping my parents with the gardening,” says the 28-year-old. “They have a very relaxed nature and definitely encouraged me to be free and creative in the garden and to make my own planting and design decisions.
“As I got older I would take cuttings and experiment with growing vegetables and flowers from seed and I also loved being given the opportunity to prepare, plant and watch my hard work turn into beauty.”
The early seed planted by her parents developed into a passion for horticulture so Aoife headed to Dublin to a course in landscape architecture in UCD.
But while she didn’t get her hands too dirty in the capital, she did develop a keen interest in transforming city spaces . A stint working on the history of Herbert Park and the St Anne’s Park Rose Festival gave her an insight into the complexity of managing public spaces.
“Before I worked there I really took for granted the maintenance work which keeps urban green spaces looking beautiful.”
I love getting to work with so many interesting clients and with different-sized gardens and space
It whetted her appetite for adding colour to inner cities and after college she headed to the UK where she was offered the only place on an annual training programme with the Garden Museum in London.
Five years on, Power now combines working as a freelance garden designer, managing a team of volunteers at the Garden Museum and also doing work for Tulip Landscapes, a design and maintenance company looking after the gardens of private clients in west London.
“My personal freelance work also involves designing and maintaining private gardens and creating planting displays for the restaurant Burger and Lobster,” she says.
“I love getting to work with so many interesting clients and with different-sized gardens and spaces. One of my favourite aspects of the job is creating window box and pot displays, making playful designs such as choosing colours to match interiors or the theme of a particular event.
“The fashion in London for very formal window boxes or planters with topiary and bedding plants is being replaced by a wilder aesthetic using a combination of evergreen structure, perennials and a few annuals.
“For evergreen structure I like to use Sarcococca, Myrtle and pittosporum while the addition of ornamental grasses can really help to give a natural aesthetic. I also like Stipa tenuissima ‘Ponytails’, Anementhale lessoniana and Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’.”
Although passionate about gardening, in her spare time the Limerick woman flexes her vocal chords as the lead singer and bass guitar player in the Indie/Pop/Punk band whenyoung.
“My band whenyoung is currently on a UK tour with a band called Superfood and we’re about to release a single called Actor on HateHateHate records,” she says. “We hope to play in Dublin in December and while my absolute dream is to make a record and tour it– no matter what happens I’ll always have my love of horticulture with me.”