Achillea Moonshine is long-flowering, low maintenance, drought tolerant and pollinator friendly. Photographs: Getty/iStock

For all the yellow-phobics out there – Pantone says it’s the future, so embrace it

Many types of low-growing alpines, including  perennial candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) above, will thrive in challenging growing conditions, which echo their habitats in the wild. Photograph: iStock

Plants can transform the most unpromising niches in sun-baked and shady stone walls

Ireland’s Garden Heroes presenters Niall Maxwell, Ingrid Swan and Jimi Blake.

New RTÉ series, Ireland’s Garden Heroes’ features 18 gardeners and their owners

Enjoy some inspiring gardening reads during the summer break. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Seven of the best new gardening books you’ll find yourself going back to again and again

Many of the very best foliage plants are trees or shrubs including  deciduous Japanese maples. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Blinded by our love affair with flowers, we struggle to see what’s right under our noses

Ladybirds control garden pests and are useful pollinating insects, resulting in larger crops of fruit, vegetables and seed. Photograph: Getty Images

It takes more than butterflies and bees to support the complex ecosystem of gardens

Photograph: iStock

At this time of year it’s important to keep tomato plants well watered and fed

Planting in any great border inevitably includes flowers with spikes and spires. Photograph: Getty

Slender, upright flowers are brilliant for creating a sense of space in small gardens

The Plant-Lover’s Garden by Patricia Tyrell for Bloom 2021. Design renders: &Smyth Creative Communications

Annual garden festival Bloom goes virtual with design packs, competitions and talks

There’s something irrepressibly joyful about sunflowers. Photograph: Getty Images

Now is a good time to sow seed for half-hardy, fast-growing annuals

Container-grown plants, including primula (above) are especially at risk of attack from the vine weevil. Photograph: Getty

‘Much of modern gardening is about helping nature maintain a healthy balance’

 Photograph: Getty Images

Choose a colour scheme to complement your garden’s furniture and hard landscaping

 Kathy Whyte is a passionate gardener as well as a former nurse, midwife and the founder of Nurture Mum.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times

Nurse and midwife Kathy Whyte establishes fundraising initiative in honour of her late mum

In the eyes of many a shady garden equals a gloomy garden but that’s  bunkum. Photograph: Getty Images

Drought-tolerant ornamental species are more than up to the challenge of shade

Groves of giant rhododendrons drip with Jack in the Beanstalk-sized blossoms at Kilmacurragh gardens in Wicklow.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Wicklow site will now include Regency walled garden and additional 53 acres

Hardier plants can go into the ground in April.  Photograph: Getty

Heat, good light levels, sufficient moisture and good quality compost are all important

Nettles are an indication of a fertile soil. Photograph: Getty

Weeds can serve as hugely useful indicators of different soil types and growing conditions

Lavender in Provence, France. Photograph: iStock

Shrub’s soothing perfume could play a useful role in relieving anxiety, research has found

March is a great time to mow the lawn – or a great time not to mow it

Morning glory has short-lived but spectacularly decorative, trumpet-shaped flowers.

Seeds for sweet pea, morning glory and black-eyed susan may be sown in spring

The enduringly popular Verbena bonariensis, a perennial species, gives tall, slender flower stems topped with tight clusters of pollinator-friendly, indigo-purple blooms. Photograph: FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty

Not only will perennials endure for years, most will naturally bulk up over time

Grow your own culinary herbs and you’ll find yourself using them in ways that you never would if they were shop-bought.

Just a few sprigs of homegrown rosemary can be a game-changer in the kitchen

Swiss cheese plant known as Monstera deliciosa, is so obliging and undemanding that it’s almost impossible to kill it. Photograph: iStock

The best houseplants all thrive on a regime of benign neglect and minimal intervention

Klaus Laitenberger

Laitenberger gives dirt-under-the-fingernails guidance in ‘The Self Sufficient Garden’

Garden Designer Pip Probert advises those planning a garden makeover to ‘try to think in 3D when it comes to the finished design’.

BBC garden designer Pip Probert’s advice is not to get bogged down in the small details

Late February is a great time to sow tomato seed  for planting out in late spring/early summer. Photograph: Getty Images

Early tomatoes can be sown in a pot on a windowsill or in an electric propagator

Designed well, the smallest pond offers food, water, shelter and a place for  species to live and/or to breed

Water features attract a wide array of wildlife making them a wonderful addition to any home

What snowdrops lack in stature, they easily make up for in terms of the scale and beauty of their seasonal displays as well as their hardiness and resilience. Photograph: Getty Images

What these tiny flowers lack in stature, they easily make up for in beauty and resilience

This is a good time of the year to trim and prune many bushes and trees

Feel like getting your hands dirty? These pointers will kick-start your garden's return to loveliness

 Cox Pippin apple and orange display market stall display in Bray, Co Wicklow.

‘We’re holding off taking orders until things become clearer’: some British suppliers suspend mail service

Who could have guessed that the simple act of plunging your hands into a bag of cool, damp seed compost could give you such a heady rush of endorphins? Photograph: iStock

The pandemic’s black cloud came with a silver lining: the joy of digging and planting

A Christmas wreath made mainly from native species, or foliage grown locally, is one of the most sustainable ways to decorate. Photograph: iStock

Use the season to celebrate all the foliage that has kept us going this year

The healing power of nature is a theme that’s central to many of this year’s crop of great gardening books.

This year’s selection covers everything from nature’s healing power to a masterclass in nurturing a garden on a grand scale

Lightweight and portable Takibi Fire Pit and Grill by Snow Peak (€380 at

No idea what to buy for the gardener in your life? Let us plant some ideas in your brain

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

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