Home Front: Garden design tips from a lawyer
This week’s edition also visits an artist on Achill Island and looks at floral furniture
Solicitor and garden designer Emily Neville
THE LAW OF GARDENING
Emma Neville has been practising law for almost two decades, specialising in personal injuries and family law. But she also has another, more relaxing role: the Cork solicitor is the founder of Gorgeous Gardens, a design company offering creative solutions to issues of a less taxing kind – such as what border would work best in a particular environment and where would be the most fertile spot to plant some decorative blooms.
But while her two careers couldn’t be more different, Neville says there are some similarities.
“I am an avid gardener and have been designing gardens since 2011,” she says. “As a solicitor I have found that tailoring a service to each client’s individual circumstances is essential and the same applies with designing gardens. You have to be thorough, efficient and a good communicator .”
Most of her work has been on small to medium size gardens in housing estates for young couples and retirees, she says.
She also recently put together a 10-year plan for a young couple with a very large gardens outside the city.
She charges anything from €150 to €1,500 depending on how much time is required – and can be anything from an acre site to an enclosed terrace. Her own garden is extensively planted with many cottage style perennial plants as she love “the dreamy & dramatic look”.
Neville grows a huge amount of produce. “Gardening is a wonderful pastime and possibly one of the cheapest, easiest and most accessible de-stressors,” she says.
“We grow apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, potatoes, courgettes, lettuces, herbs, beans, tomatoes, artichokes and pumpkins.
How do I love thee, Orla Kiely linear leaf design? Let me count the ways. Bags, purses, rings, bracelets, cushions. Wallpaper, mugs, melamine picnicware, umbrellas, vases. Cake tins, tea towels, pillowcases, storage jars, pedal bins.
Kiely’s stylised stems look stylish across an extraordinary range of ordinary objects; there’s even a bicycle which sprouts the iconic foliation (plus, if you’re really keen, matching helmet, handlebar grips and a water bottle).
Clearly, fans cannot get enough of her leafy layouts – so if you happen to be one, and you feel your house is missing that mysterious sylvan something, help is at hand from the Kilkenny shop.
Floor-to-ceiling Kiely curtains are now available from the website, in three colours – charcoal, olive and multi-stem – and sizes. Prices start at €94.95 for the 66 X 72-inch curtains while the 90 x 90 set costs €139.95.
A GARDEN GALLERY
Artists are inspired by beauty and there are few places as beautiful as the wild west of Ireland, with its unspoilt rugged coastline and rolling countryside.
So it’s hardly surprising that sculptor Ronan Halpin chose to make his home in Achill Island, Co Mayo, with his wife Mandy – a biodynamic gardener – and their family.
The stunning location overlooking the ocean is home to Halpin’s gallery and a very productive garden.
While he creates pieces made from steel, brass, copper and wood, Mandy grows a wide variety of vegetables which both serve the family table and are also turned into dishes which she sells at country markets.
“I draw so much inspiration from the environment around me,” says the sculptor.
“We are in a fabulous location overlooking the Atlantic and it is a wonderful place to work. I create pieces of various sizes and designs, many of which I have dotted around the garden here at home – these are made from corten steel which weathers very well and looks really beautiful outdoors as it becomes a wild rusty orange.
“Both the garden at home as well as the beach, hills and surrounding countryside are hugely inspirational for both Mandy and I.”
Ronan Halpin’s gallery in Achill is open during the summer months and his new exhibition, Of Birds and Beasts, will take place in the Solomon Gallery Dublin 2, May 25th – June 17th.
It’s early summer, and flowers are bursting into bloom – but not just in the garden. Flirty floral designs have been turning up everywhere from T-shirts to tableware, and Carraig Donn’s summer furniture collections are no exception.
Vintage roses adorn the Lloyd Concepts’ two-drawer locker with its scalloped top and curved legs (€199), while exuberant wildflowers tumble all over the Romeo chair by Eden furniture (€249), and the pouffe with wooden legs (€49).
If , on the other hand, all those flowers are making you sneeze, check out the World Cabinet, a classy cupboard with interior shelves, glass doors and a map backdrop – an online exclusive at €199. Prices include a €20 delivery charge.
The true gardener feels it in the back and in the knees which is why we love this modest but hardworking piece of kit from M&S. It’s a sturdy gardening support that can be kneeled on or leaned on (for getting up again) and triples up as a garden seat.
In a pleasing shade of pale green, it has an easy-clean seat and the whole things folds down nicely. We spotted it at M&S Mary Street, Dublin 1, but it is also available online, price €40.