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 ((...)

Verney Naylor-designed garden and boathouse at the West Cork home of Lord and Lady Puttnam

Vast, golden beaches, salty summer breezes, anemone-filled rock pools and sand in your toes: what would summer be without at least one trip to the sea(...)

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