From garden festivals and talks to the hundreds of lovely Irish gardens open to the public, there is plenty to enjoy this month. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s officially summer, which means that there’s plenty to see and do in the garden this month plus lots of great garden festivals, talks, workshops a(...)

Brian John Spencer self-portrait, in the style of Sir John Lavery

When artist and political cartoonist Brian John Spencer requested permission to attend and sketch a meeting of Belfast City Council, in preparation fo(...)

Flowers from the garden: calendula, tagetes, alchemilla, sanguisorba and dahlias. Photograph: Richard Johnston

 If you love gardening, then you probably also love growing flowers. But as for picking them? Let’s just say that I have countless gardening frie(...)

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

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you will know that I have more than a “bit of a thing” about cut-flowers. By this, I mean the seasonal(...)

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

More than a quarter of Irish marriages take place during July-August. I say this because those same two months also happen to be among the most flori(...)

Medical herbalist Kelli O’Halloran. Photographs: Richard Johnston

Of all the plants that I grow in the garden, there are a few that are particularly dear to my heart. Among them are pot marigolds (Calendula officinal(...)