The red berries of Sarcococca ruscifolia.

The scarcity of scented flowers in winter gardens makes them all the more precious

Alan Power, originally from Cork,  has recently moved back to Ireland, to manage  Derreen Gardens on the Beara peninsula. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

Alan Power says becoming head gardener at Derreen is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

The repeated closure of garden centres throughout this year has served as a precious reminder of the importance of this method of renewal. Photograph: iStock

From now until early spring is an excellent time to take hardwood cuttings

 Susan Lynch working on her roses which are still in flower in the polytunnel at her home in Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Susan Lynch’s Vintage Rose Company is home to more than 2000 productive rose bushes

Hone your creative skills by planting a living willow structure such as a dome, arch or arbour. Photograph: iStock

Enjoy your garden through the cold months while laying the groundwork for spring

A landscape garden  on a winter morning

Forget flowers and curate a selection of hardy plants

Ripe apples ready for harvesting.   Photograph: iStock

October/November are the ideal months to start growing apples, pears and plums

Flowers for cutting from the border. Photograph: Taryn Elledge-Penner of Quartier Collective

Another seasonal bounty of vegetables and flowers from its Victorian kitchen garden

Bex Partridge, from the new book Everlastings. Photograph: Laura Edwards

Insta images of artful bouquets from dried foliage and flowers changing a dusty image

Harvested garlic. Photograph: Getty

Use potato beds to plant for spring colour and summer flavour

The annual autumn rite of bulb planting is an important period in the gardener’s calendar

In gardening, September is the month of reckonings and new beginnings

Oliver and Liat Schurmann, owners of Mount Venus Nursery, Tibradden. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

How Dublin's Mount Venus Nursery survived and even thrived during the lockdown

Ajuga reptans are suited to heavy, claggy soil. Photograph: iStock

Our naturally damp soil can often become waterlogged, but there are solutions at hand

Photograph: Richard Johnston

American gardeners in Kerry: ‘When you make room for it, nature always finds you’

Adam Bermingham with his daughters Erica and Niamh at their home in Churchtown. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Adam Bermingham’s approach to gardening has always been endearingly boffinish

 Mark Grehan and his French bulldog, Finn,  in his garden at his apartment in Cork Street, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan

My outdoor room: Mark Grehan, florist and garden designer

Valerie Duffy in her city garden in Rathmines. Photograph:  Damien Eagers

Me and My Garden: Valerie Duffy’s city plot

Polytunnels are valuable pieces of real estate where every square metre of precious growing space should - ideally - be used throughout the year. Photograph: Getty Images

On rainy days a polytunnel offers warmth, seclusion and a leafy refuge

Older gardens are more likely to harbour certain common plant diseases.

Mature gardens may have lots of charm but need lots of TLC to get them back into shape

Des Doyle  in the gravel gardens of Lavistown House. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Des Doyle’s unique creation is ultra low-maintenance but also dynamic and very beautiful

Delphiniums in the garden. Photograph: Getty

Dowdeswell’s delphiniums are the ones to pick – a hybrid all the way from New Zealand

Anenomes in the garden. Photograph: Getty

Expert gardeners select the plants that have outperformed the rest in weather extremes

Savouring the very first homegrown potatoes or carrots is a magical feeling

Kitchen gardening is strangely addictive, sometimes frustrating and hugely rewarding

Growing plants from cuttings is a wonderfully satisfying way to grow your own plants for free.

If we have learned anything, it’s a new appreciation for traditional propagating skills

Textile artist Nicola Brown  at her home and studio in Borris, Co Carlow. Photograph : Laura Hutton

Eco textile artist Nicola Brown produces botanical dyes at her farm near Borris

Wildflower meadow at the  National Botanic Gardens. The gardens reopened to the public on May 18th having  been closed since March 28th. You can once again stroll along the heavily scented paths and meadows in the 50 acres of heaven in Glasnevin.   Photograph: Fran Veale

The annual garden festival is cancelled because of the coronavirus, but there is plenty for gardeners to do this weekend

Don’t skimp on quality when it comes to using a good, fresh, loam-based, multipurpose compost for your summer containers. Photograph: Getty Images

Don’t be afraid to combine summer-flowering bedding annuals with longer-lived shrubs

Lockdown rules: so many people having to stay at home meant demand for plants soared even as the same restrictions kept garden centres closed. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Digital Vision/Getty

The two-month coronavirus hiatus has given flora time to look ‘look absolutely fantastic’

Gardening with children

Here are some fun ways to share the special magic of gardening in the months ahead

May is one of the busiest months of the Irish gardening year, a time to sow and plant many kinds of vegetables, herbs and ornamentals.  Getty

Many different kinds of vegetables can be sown directly into the ground now

Invest in just a few packets of seeds and tubers of summer-flowering varieties over the coming weeks and you’ll be astonished by the abundant beauty  they’ll bring you, right through to late autumn. Photograph: Getty Images

If you have a sunny spot to spare, these are the flowers to plant out

A patch of home-grown cosmos. Photograph: Richard Johnston

It’s a spring like no other but there are still seeds to be sown and plants to be tended

A garden polytunnel. Photograph: Richard Johnston

All kinds of heat-loving vegetables can be grown under cover, and flowers too

A variety of vegetables and herbs growing on a small balcony in Dublin. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Even the smallest spaces can accommodate a fine array of container-grown edible plants

A faster, less laborious alternative to single-digging is to build some raised beds. Image: Getty Images

Pick a sunny spot, prepare the soil and start planting vegetables and flowers

 As public concern grows for the vulnerability of the food chain during the  pandemic, gardeners are discovering the international seed supply chain is not immune to  challenges.   Photograph: Getty Images

Online orders for Irish seeds rise dramatically in wake of Covid-19 restrictions

Pots of young seedlings ready to be pricked out. Photograph: Richard Johnston

By late spring you’ll have hordes of baby plants ready to be planted outdoors, all for the price of a few packets of seeds

Freshly-harvested French beans and tomatoes. Photograph: Richard Johnston

From peas to radishes, spuds to spinach, these will give you a harvest in no time

St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the start of the potato-planting season in Ireland.  Photograph: Getty Images

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get going in the garden

Jennifer Jewell: “I see hope and value in a self-sustaining cycle of living with plants, loving plants, learning plants, growing plants, knowing plants, interpreting plants.”  Photograph:  John Whittlesey

A “forest” of women across the world are connected by their love of plants and flowers

Cluain na dTor gardens in Donegal. Photograph: Seamus O’Donnell

We can easily recreate the sense of an Australian rainforest, leafy Asian woodland or a sun-baked Mediterranean garden, at home

Sarah Price’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 garden. Photograph: Clare Takacs

There are many ways to create a beautiful slice of nature in the smallest of spaces

Jobs to do in the garden

Itching to get going in the kitchen garden or allotment? Here’s a handful of crops to start growing now

Box hedging in an Irish garden. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Bush fruit, nut trees, hedging and specimen trees can be planted now, while they are in winter hibernation


Fragrant, flowering shrubs herald the start of a new growing season


It may be cold and muddy but there’s pruning, planting and planning to be done

Photograph: Getty

Frilly flowers, tasty potatoes and onions worth waiting for can all be grown from seed

A wildlife-friendly pond. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Stop using pesticides, allow weeds to grow and go for pro-pollinator planting

Horticultural entertainment and inspiration for gardeners. Photograph: Getty Images

These inspiring shows will take you all over the gardening world

Freshly harvested produce in the walled kitchen garden of Burtown House in Co Carlow. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The kind of gardens we want to create will radically evolve over the coming decade

Wild about Weeds, Garden Design with Rebel Plants by  Jack Wallington

Winter has its icy grip on the garden leaving little for the gardener to do except pick up a good book

Ceramic ‘Girl Power Vase’ by For All Womenkind (€35, )

From “Brexit” seeds to hanging pots – what to give the green fingered person in your life

A litter of fox cubs emerging from their den in Delgany, Wicklow. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Some argue that we feed birds, hedgehogs and other wild animals, so why not foxes?

A handful of homemade leafmould. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

One of nature’s great gifts to gardeners is a simple free way to lavish love on your plants

Freshly harvested Irish plums. Photo Credit Richard Johnston

Supermarkets are piled high with fruit imports but it’s not hard to grow your own

Avoid putting out very salty, stodgy or highly processed foods in the feeder.

Set your bird table and feeders at least two metres from ground cover so they can’t be ambushed easily by cats

Pinus mugo ‘Carsten’s Wintergold’ a slow-growing conifer that is a great choice for a winter container. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

A generous pot of trailing and upright evergreens will create a pleasing lushness in the winter garden

The lipstick-pink and orange fruits of the native spindle tree, Euonymus europaeus, in their autumn glory. Photograph: Richard Johnston

These six shrubs and trees feed birds and make tonics and syrups for humans

Some of Ireland’s loveliest gardens put on a fine display of autumn foliage

A selection of ripe seedpods and seed from Fionnuala’s garden in autumn including tagetes, nicandra, lunaria and papaver. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Calendula, tagetes, sweet pea and poppies are just a few of the season’s flavours

Peony in flower. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Now is the perfect month to plant spring-flowering bulbs including narcissus, crocus, scilla and allium

Garlic ready for planting. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Best of all, growing your own means avoiding supermarket bulbs shipped from China

A snowdrop emerges from its bulb. File photograph: Getty

Product from UK nurseries could be pricier, but there’s potential to grow more here

Jimi Blake in his west Wicklow garden, Hunting Brook. Photograph: Sean Jackson

New book shows all sides of this Irish horticultural genius and his beloved Hunting Brook in west Wicklow

Tulip ‘Absalon’. Photograph: Jacque Amand

Here’s a shortlist of just some of this year’s ‘must-haves’, along with a guide to reliable suppliers

Fig tree: originating in Asia Minor, the culinary fig (Ficus carica) is  one of the earliest species of fruit cultivated by humankind. Photograph:  BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A fig tree will happily grow in a sunny spot, or in a polytunnel or greenhouse

Tanguy de Toulgoët at Dunmore Country School. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Tanguy de Toulgoët’s Co Laois plot is a flower-filled, hugely productive family garden

Dahlias: Dahlias are notorious for the ease with which the tubers of different varieties can accidentally get mixed-up. Photograph: Getty

Important to deadhead, water and liquid feed container-grown flowering plants

Consider drying fruit during abundant harvests

This damp August has created optimum soil conditions for seeds to germinate

The spectacular display of produce at the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. Photograph: Jonathan Hession

It takes time and expertise to coax these greedy, sun-loving, thirsty plants to give of their very best

Persicaria ampexicaulis ‘fat Domino’.  Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Add colour and texture to the garden with these hardy perennials

Sweet pea flowering in Fionnuala’s flower farm. No photo is going to let you know what it feels like to breathe in the intoxicating perfume of sweet pea in full bloom on a warm summer day. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

The many different smells of a summer garden have the power to stimulate our senses in mysterious ways

lys Fowler: “Being that tidy-minded is not only an awful lot of hard work, it also comes at an enormous cost to our wellbeing.”

The gardening writer was in Ireland just before the same sex marriage vote

Giverny, France - June 8th, 2017: Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, in the background the house of Monet can be seen. Photograph: Getty Images

This week in the garden: Irish gardeners share their top places to visit on holidays

Caution: garden eating deers about. Photograph: Alan Betson ,

Deer find certain plants delicious, like camellia and roses, but they don’t like rhurbarb

Few plants can beat the rose for its intensity and richness of scent plus the sensuous beauty of its blooms. Photograph: Richard Johnston

While most roses will like space, a rich, fertile soil and full sun, there are some that will cope well with all kinds of conditio(...)

Birds, frogs, hedgehogs, centipedes and beetles are all predators of slugs. Photograph: DK/Getty

Hoe your way to happier, faster-growing plants and let nature take care of the slugs

Cheiranthus cheiri F1 Hybrid, Sunset Apricot wallflower

Don’t buy from a garden centre in early autumn, propagate from seed sown now

Florists are eschewing outdated ‘toxic’ oasis foam for natural, curly stalks in a vase

Fashionable florists choose simple posies over imported flowers and ‘toxic’ foam

From garden festivals and talks to the hundreds of lovely Irish gardens open to the public, there is plenty to enjoy this month. Photograph: Getty Images

Lots to see and do this month plus garden festivals, workshops and open days to get you going

Bloom: five-year-old Adrianna Fayiah, seven-year-old Eoghan Fox and four-year-old Florence Marlow Ward at the launch of this year’s Phoenix Park garden festival. Photograph: Alan Betson

What’s on, where to buy tickets, where to eat and how to get to the Dublin showground

If a plant looks particularly miserable, it may need to be repotted  or potted on.

Freshly potted plants should be placed away from direct sunlight and high temperatures

Liat and Oliver Schurmann, who are bringing an underwater marine garden, called Aquamarina, to Bloom. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Climate change is a focus for some of Ireland’s top gardeners at Phoenix Park festival

For centuries, lilac has been prized as a cut-flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Grow them as a shrub or small tree in a lawn, an informal hedge, or even trained against a high wall where their foliage will act (...)

TJ Maher in his garden Patthana in Co Wicklow, planting summer containers. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Now is the time to start planting pots that will burst into colour in high summer. Artist and gardener TJ Maher shares some of his(...)

Aquilegia flowering in an Irish garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

These May flowers will bridge the gap between the spring bulb rush and summer

A cluster of pots filled with culinary herbs. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Most culinary herbs can be grown in pots or tubs while plenty will stay compact enough to grow very happily in a window-box

Joyce Russell: lifelong gardening passion began in her childhood in the Yorkshire dales. Photograph: Ben Russell

New book from west Cork gardener Joyce Russell is full of simple, practical advice

Bumble bee feeding on cosmos flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Let’s celebrate some of the loveliest flowering plants for the Irish garden

June Blake’s garden near Blessington, West Wicklow, will also be celebrating its “Month of Tulips” throughout April with a spectacular display of these spring-flowering bulbs.

Sow organic seeds, cut less lawn and let the wild things grow in your garden

Well rotted manure makes an excellent organic mulch. Photograph credit: Richard Johnston

Spread lightly at this time of year a good organic mulch helps to protect against the effects of summer drought

Triona Noonan  in her garden in Dun Laoghaire with some of her prized alpine and rock plants Photo Credit Richard Johnston

Alpines and miniature species will happily grow in small pots and stone troughs

Custom-made leather tool belt from the small family-run US firm Wheeler Munroe, whose belts are things of beauty as well as lifesavers for busy multi-tasking gardeners.

Great tools can help you become a great gardener. Here’s some of the best

Close-up of the delicate spring flowering, black cherry plum blossom also known as Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’,

A bad case of Prunus plantlust - fed by this year’s early splendid displays of blossoms

The native Irish primrose (Primula vulgaris) flowering in an Irish woodland this spring.  Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Few plants are as charming as this hardy, spring-blooming, native wildflower

The golden flower heads of Stipa gigantea

Fionnuala Fallon: Preparation put in over coming weeks will be repaid tenfold in future months

Photograph: Moment/Getty

Follow the three Ds by using secateurs to remove any dead, diseased or dying wood

The size of the material in your compost heap will  affect the speed at which it breaks down.  Photograph: Getty

Known as ‘gardener’s gold’, kitchen waste and even human hair can be transformed in to a rich mulch in a matter of weeks

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