Plant sweet pea in April and you’ll be picking their intensely perfumed, pretty flowers by early summer. Photograph: Richard Johnston

What a month of blisteringly cold blizzards, icy gales and floods it’s been, with the result the soil in many Irish gardens is cold and wet, plants ha(...)

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

Ever heard of the Chelsea Chop? No, it doesn’t refer to some obscure form of martial arts, nor is it the name of the latest must-have hairstyle or som(...)

Preliminary watercolour study  of Iris ‘Killiney’ by botanical artist Jane Stark. (Drawing courtesy of ISBA)

As the wife of a professional garden photographer, it’s not unusual to find myself standing in a stranger’s garden grumpily harrumphing while my husba(...)

One of the Brown Envelope Seeds polytunnels filled with the ripening seedheads of salad and vegetable crops. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Ask Meath-born Madeline McKeever, botanist and founder of the award-winning organic seed business Brown Envelope Seeds, what she loves most about l(...)

A copy of the  lavishly-illustrated Ireland’s Wild Orchids by Susan Sex and Brendan Sayers made €580 (€400-€600) at Mealys

Strong demand for rare books, by Irish and overseas collectors, resulted in a 85 per cent sold rate in Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers’ Spring Rare Bo(...)

Spring audition: Browning wrote about the song thrush. Illustration: Michael Viney

Back on duty as soon as the rising temperature allowed, a song thrush has been waiting on the same branch, morning after morning, to share with(...)