The good news is you don't need a big garden for these evergreen shrubs as camellias will happily grow in pots

Colour groupings make for better borders

Pick compatible plants that will coexist and not compete with one another for light

Ireland’s moist climate is ideal for slugs

How to deal with spring slugs in search of food and prospective mates

Giant tree ferns growing in Kells Bay. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Billy Alexander plans to create a little piece of Kells Bay for the Chelsea Flower Show

‘Raising plants from seed has a lot to do with dodging some common pitfalls and following a few immutable rules of horticulture.’ File photograph: Getty Images

Crack open the seed packets – and keep timing, temperature and freshness in mind

Early-flowering plants spark joy and mark the turning of the season

Witch-hazels are one of the most beautiful of flowering shrubs at this time of year. Photograph: Richard Johnston

You don’t need a glasshouse or polytunnel – a sunny porch will do

Spinkles of snowdrops flowering in the walled garden of Bellefield House, Co Offaly. Photograph: Richard Johnston

February is peak snowdrop season so it’s a good time to visit galanthophiles’ gardens

There’s no shame calling in the experts to help with some of the really heavy work

Call in an expert for inspiration; visit the best gardens; meet some gardening heroes

Rudbeckia ‘Sahara’, one of the must-have plants to grow from seed this spring. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The all-important business of seed sowing is just around the corner

Cambo gardens Scotland

With little doing in the winter garden, plot a visit to some of the world’s most beautiful gardens  

“Instagram at its very best is a potent mixture of beautiful, original imagery and informative, witty, inspiring text”

Gardeners growing their presence on social media are becoming key influencers

Take advantage of any dry weather over the coming weeks to tidy up around the garden.

Round-up of reads features no less than three octogenarians and one nonagenarian who have made outstanding contributions to hortic(...)

The raw ingredients that Hanna Heubach of Hanako uses in this seasonal piece are the kind that you might find growing in the garden or could forage for in local hedgerows or woodlands.

Flower farmer Hanna Heubach looks to nature to create ‘miniature landscapes’ – and has tips on making a stunning seasonal piece

Colourful cast-concrete handmade planters designed by Dublin-based Ail+El

From seeds to secateurs, some green gift ideas for the keen, and the casual, gardener

Even the loveliest ponds need some tough love every 5-10 years to stay free of encroaching weeds

Leafy foliage plants growing in the shady Dublin space of garden designer Bernard Hickie. Photograph: Richard Johnston

What are the options to gently filter more light into the darkest of gardens?

A carport surrounded by flowers, as seen at Bloom in 2014.

Making room in your garden for a carpark space can be achieved in an eco-friendly way

Sweet-pea is a fast-growing annual climber that is ideal for training against a sunny wall or garden fence. Photograph: Richard Johnston

November is the perfect time to plant this fast-growing, ultra-colourful and deeply scented annual climber

Mature trees and shrubs such as these shown growing in Helen Dillon’s old Dublin garden are an important part of the charm of established gardens. Photo graph: Richard Johnston

Advice for owners who want to renovate their house while protecting a mature garden

City rooftop garden designed by Paul Martin

Good containers, thoughtfully planted can transform these small, windy spaces

‘Long-tailed tits feeding from a bird feeder in an Irish garden. Photograph:  Oran O’Sullivan

Even a small suburban garden can host 25-30 species of birds in winter

Amaryllis: Plant its giant fleshy bulbs into a pot in the next few weeks and you should have its tall, splendid, lily-like blooms in time for Christmas when the plants make an excellent gift. Photograph: Getty

Plant its giant fleshy bulbs now and you should have tall, lily-like blooms for Christmas

Outdoor art should have a place in almost every garden – no matter what its size

A mixed basket of tulips from Angela Jupe’s garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Size does matter when it comes to bulbs so rush out and get the best varieties now before they are snapped up

Patthana,  a garden in    Kiltegan Wicklow. Photograph: Richard Johnston

TJ Maher and Simon Kirby’s country garden looks utterly wonderful well into November

Look after your lawn.

Turn those autumn blues into green fingers by saving seeds and tending to the lawn

An array of tender suuculents growing outside in Hunting Brook, the west Wicklow garden owned by Jimi Blake.  Photograph: Richard Johnston

Succulents are everywhere - in quirky containers decorating the windowsills of hip apartments and embellishish everything from jew(...)

Alan Power is head gardener at Stourhead, the centuries-old 2,500 acre historic estate in Wiltshire

Corkman Alan Power on becoming the new head gardener at the famous Stourhead

OPW gardener Brian Quinn and trainee gardener Daniel Sanchez harvesting potatoes in Ashtown walled garden, surrounded by self-seeded pollinator-friendly plants such as borage and viper’s bugloss. Photograph: Richard Johnston

OPW gardeners fine-tune their style to be as pollinator-friendly as possible

A vibrant combination of pink comsos, scarlet roses and purple lythrum growing in Helen Dillon’s old garden in Ranelagh a few years ago. Photograph:   Richard Johnston

Colour creates an atmosphere of tranquillity as easily as one of excitement and energy

The glory of a self seeding garden

Self-seeding plants are a joy – and a surprise – so get ready to embrace the unexpected

Dahlias and cosmos flowering in Fionnuala’s garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Just when you fancy using your garden as an outdoor room, it can be looking a little tatty

There are ways to deal with slugs which don’t involve nasty chemicals. Photograph:  Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty

You’ll have a better chance of controlling slugs and aphids if your soil is clean and good

BBC ‘Gardener’s World’ presenter heads a long list of experts at popular nine-day event

Orlaith Murphy in her Wicklow garden.

Pick flowers and leaves for their taste as well as their good looks

The delicate bell-shaped flowers of the ornamental climber Clematis alpina. Photograph:   Richard Johnston

Grow pint-size gardens upwards by clothing walls and fences with an array of climbing plants

Time to clear out those rusty old tools and invest in these top-notch implements

Japanese knotweed in an Irish bog in Kerry. Photograph: David Morrison/iStock/Getty

Japenese knotweed is already causing huge damage under Irish homes and in gardens

Colourful kale leaves growing in an Irish garden. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Take action to stop indoor plants drying out, outdoor pots suffering and slugs arriving

An array of colourful Lupins. Photograph: Richard Johnston

These are some of the many flowers that can be grown from seed in early summer

Freshly harvested courgettes sit next to nasturtiums in an Irish garden. Photograph:  Richard Johnston

Plant fast-growing lettuces, beans, peas and tomatoes now to eat in a matter of weeks

Bloom is Ireland’s biggest food and garden show, running from Thursday until Monday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

From parking to the plants and insider tips, here’s how to make the most of your trip

Wake up and smell the flowers this summer. Photograph: Getty Images/Cultura RF

Get your fill of green, from tiny city gardens to lovely country spreads

Garden enthusiasts at Bloom in 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

We preview the best of this year’s festival, which kicks off in the Phoenix Park on June 1st

Heleniums, one of the starts of the late summer/early autumn garden are a good candidate for the Chelsea Chop. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Clever pruning works wonders with many kinds of herbaceous perennia

Nettles: the soupy mix will  transform itself into a smelly but impressively effective, nutrient-rich, liquid plant feed. Photograph: Richard Johnston

This is the time of year to harvest wild plants and seawood and turn them into plant feed

The meadows at Highgrove House  in Tetbury, England. Photograph:  Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Highgrove, the prince’s wild country garden, is proof he’s a true-blue environmentalist

Garden flowers from  Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, by Erin Benzakein and Julie Chai. Photograph: Michèle M. Waite

Fresh local blooms are a lot more lovely than chilled flowers flown in from afar

A homemade ice bowl using edible flower petals. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Even the smallest spaces can yield salad, peas, peppers and dahlias both pretty and tasty

Species tulips naturalised in grass in Angela Jupe’s Offaly garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Beautify your garden with some of the many tulip types and check out garden shows

Start now if you want a soft, thick sward of velvety-green grass this summer.

Even a woebegone, bedraggled lawn can show signs of improvement within weeks

Visitors to Phoenix Park can appreciate the impressive beauty and productivity of the Ashtown Victorian kitchen garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

New exhibition highlights role Phoenix Park has played in capital’s history

Start with small projects such as growing sunflowers, potatoes and even oranges

A bumblebee feeding on a cosmos flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Trees, variety and a little wilderness – seven ways to lure pollinators to your plot

Prospect Cottage at Dungeness, once owned by Derek Jarman.  Photograph: Getty Images

Holiday-home gardening is a horticultural challenge so forget the lawn and think pebbles, driftwood and easy plants instead

Daffodils  are a sign of spring in the garden

So why do so many gardeners avoid the colour in garden planting schemes?

Stephen Butler must create a sense of horticultural realism without poisoning the animals.

Horticulturalist Stephen Butler creates habitats that conjure up far-off lands

Grow your own: Michelle Obama took a spade to the White House’s South Lawn in 2009 to make a kitchen garden

The Obamas followed a long line of US presidents into the garden. Will the Trumps carry on the tradition?

Community gardener Maeve Foreman hoeing weeds in one of the raised beds belonging to Mud Island Community Garden in Dublin

Raised beds, slip-proof surfaces and ingenious tools help keep elderly gardeners going

Young sweet-pea plants climbing up willow supports

From salads to sweet pea: here are five gardening projects for spring

It’s time to take action – and also abstain from action – to save our hedgehogs

If you want these spiky creatures in your garden avoid slug pellets and herbicides

Right now is a great time to plant both bare-root and potted rose plants, focusing on only the best, most disease-resistant, strongly scented cultivars. Photograph: Getty Images

February is the time to plant roses – they’re high maintenance but so worth it

Learn some of the hidden language of flowers before you send them to your Valentine

New book by royal wedding floral designer decodes the meaning of blooms

A bouquet of Irish flowers: many brides to be want  to use of seasonal Irish-grown flowers for their bouquets and to have a personal hand in growing them. Photograph: Joseph Carr

For a summer wedding, grow fast-growing, long-flowering, floriferous annuals

Garden beauty: plant several different types of dahlia to enliven your garden.

With a range of heights and in a spectrum of colours, dahlias are perfect for your garden

Dahlia 'Grenidor Pastelle'

These showy flowers bring a bit of brilliance to the garden

Planting at this time of the year also minimises the time-consuming demands of labour-intensive chores such as watering. Photograph: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis via Getty Images

Opt for a dry period when planting and take its eventual size into careful consideration

When it comes to fruit, container-grown fig trees and strawberries are a great choice for small tunnels while for larger polytunnels, consider grape-vines or cordon/espalier/fan-trained peach, apricot or nectarine trees,

Your guide to the best groundwork, equipment and plants to get started

Growing in an Irish climate, with a little help from a polytunnel

For top tips on growing flowers and food in polytunnels try these books, blogs and posts

Cloughjordan eco village in Co Tipperary, where the principles of permaculture design have been applied to everything from its buildings to its  woodlands and farm. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Take a holistic, sustainable approach to the garden to foster soil and human health

Polytunnel love: hordes of gardeners around Ireland have invested in a tunnel in recent years

Goodbye unpredictable weather constraints, hello undercover gardening

Hedge layer Mark McDowell partially slices the base of a blackthorn branch. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Hawthorn, dog rose, spindle, elder: advice about what goes into a traditional hedgerow

Winter blooms from the garden including witchhazel and Viburnum bodnantense can be used to decorate the New Year table.

At this time of year, the sight of a flowering plant or shrub brings a peculiarly intense joy

Landform at  Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art created by environmental artist,  landscape designer and “cultural theorist” Charles Jencks. Photograph: Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images

With landscape as canvas, ‘land art’ delights in swirls and spirals using soil as material

Close-up of a natural Christmas wreath made by Fionnuala, using willow, yew, honesty seedheads, hawthorn berries, ferns, beech twigs and old man's beard foraged from the garden or in the wild

Take your pick of branches and berries, but be careful if foraging further afield

Sadie Chowen of the Burren Perfumery: she says she is  obsessed by the smells of the wild landscape surrounding her home and business

Perfumes inspired by stark beauty of Burren and variety of native flora

Lilliput fruit trees from Mr Middleton.

Avoid gimmicky “gifts”and give gardeners some really useful or beautiful things

A winter window box filled with skimmias, heucheras, trailing ivies and winter-flowering pansies. Photograph: Tig Mays

In gloomy winter weather, the special charm of the window box lies not so much in colourful floral displays but more in its clever(...)

Carlow artist Nicola Brown is showing her wares at National Crafts & Design Fair in RDS

Finish pruning summer-fruiting  blackberries to encourage them to grow new canes next spring.

Staying in touch with the soil can help to make us happier and save the planet

Matt Damon turns his hand to gardening on the “red planet” in The Martian

Seed tests show that colonies on other planets should be able to grow their own food

Black Hamburg grapes ripening in the Richard Turner-designed peachhouse in the gardens of Áras an Uachtaráin

Whether outdoors or under cover, we are coming to the best time to plant vines

A hardy grape variety and tenacious Irish winemakers are confounding the sceptics

Ingredients growing in the   garden of Glebe Gardens restaurant in west Cork. Photograph: Richard Johnston

More Irish restaurants cultivate the habit of growing their own seasonal produce

How does any novice gardener transform the dirty, grey soil of what was up until recently a busy building site, into the kind of crumbly, chocolate-coloured growing medium in which plants will happily grow?

Aim for the right plants for the right soil and in the right place

For it to be an efficient, environmentally-friendly fuel, your home-grown firewood needs to be as dry as possible

The benefits of growing wood for fuel include the pleasure of chopping and stacking it

 In a small town garden,  deep shade can often be cast by overlooking buildings or neighbouring trees, but shady gardens can be magnificent, leafy places with a special charm all their own. Photograph from 'New Small Garden' by Noel Kingsbury (Frances Lincoln), with photography by Maayke de Ridder

A town garden can be a place of peace and contemplation, to grow food and watch nature

Stepping stones: Mien Ruys’s Gardens in Dedemsvaart in the Netherlands.

Mien Ruys transformed garden design with her experimental, creative approach

An Acer showing brilliant autumn colour in the Kildare gardens of Coolcarrigan Photograph: Richard Johnston

There is no one perfect tree, but here are suggestions for gardens big and small

Verde 25 in Turin: not so much a tree house as a house of trees, with more than 60  apartments housed within its five-storey walls

. . . it is like the Verde 25 building in Turin where plants form vital part of design

The intricate work of British botanical artist Rachel Dein. Photograph: Andrew Montgomery

Capturing that perfect moment in the garden

A paeony in flower: late October is an excellent time to plant all types of paeonies. Both the Itoh hybrids and herbaceous types like a spot in either full sun or light shade, while tree paeonies will tolerate deeper shade

A bit of effort now with weeds and seeds will pay off in next year’s harvest

Rose petals, forget-me-nots, cornflowers and daisies as seen on faces at Preen’s SS17 show at London Fashion Week. Photograph: Estrop/Getty

The latest trend on the catwalks involves using fresh flowers to adorn oneself

Autumn-flowering chrysanthemum ‘Orange Allouise’ from Fionnuala Fallon’s garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

With chrysanthemums, it’s best to start with the easy ones, and then work your way up to the showstoppers

‘What, for you, are the quintessential smells of autumn? The musty whiff of fallen leaves? The sweet fungal odour of gently decaying foliage?’ Photograph: Richard Johnston

A Norwegian artist has managed to ‘harvest’ the smell of Central Park

Rich pickings: ripe seed heads of Thalictrum. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Many popular hardy annuals are prime candidates for autumn seed-saving

The ‘Golden Lily’ wallpaper design, by Morris & Co. Reproduced with permission from Brian S Nolan and Morris & Co

Gorgeous Victorian creations based on garden plants are still in high demand

A detail of Helen Dillon’s garden at 45 Sandford Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Photograph: Richard Johnston

The horticultural luminary has taught many gardeners innumerable lessons in generosity, bravery, joyfulness, editing and anti-snob(...)

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