A trained apple  tree can be pruned at this time of year. Photograph: iStock

From sowing winter salads and feeding tomato plants to harvesting garlic and pruning fruit bushes, there’s plenty of work to keep us busy in the kitch(...)

Consider drying fruit during abundant harvests

After last year’s drought, I promised myself that I’d never, ever give out about our rainy climate again. Not a word. So I’m not going to bemoan the r(...)

An armful of freshly picked summer flowering hardy annuals. Photograph: Richard Johnston

One of the valuable gardening lessons that this summer’s fierce drought taught me as a flower farmer florist – and it taught me quite a few – is the i(...)

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

For years, I’ve sniffed at Twitter, rolled my eyes at Facebook and snorted at Snapchat. But then just when I couldn’t get any more toploftical, along (...)

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

The first time I spotted a woodpecker feeding from a peanut feeder in our family garden, I wondered if I was hallucinating. An agitated flurry of fea(...)

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

For various reasons – some avoidable, some not – I neglected my kitchen garden this year. So I sowed seed too late, or not at all, or I forgot to prot(...)

I’m constantly surprised by how few of Ireland’s urban chefs attempt to grow even a little of their own ingredients. Yes, yes, I appreciate that the w(...)

Bumble bee feeding from a cosmos flower. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Bad days, we all have them. Something happens, and suddenly you find yourself briefly but uncomfortably at odds with the world. I was having such a(...)

Meet the Tomtato: You say tomato, I say potato . . . but now meet the “tomtato”. Gardeners have taken to this strange plant in a big way. Its ‘(...)

Clarke’s Soaps, handmade in Dublin

I could start off this week’s column with a Grinch-like list of gifts that the nation’s gardeners are hoping not to find under the tree this year ((...)

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