Seamus O’Brien, head gardener at National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacurragh – and now author

Have you ever paused to wonder where the plants that grow in our Irish gardens and parks originally come from? It might be a surprise to learn that s(...)

Nigella seed heads drying in a glasshouse. Photograph: Richard Johnston

What first got you hooked on gardening? The flowers? The home-grown food? The pleasure of escaping from the hustle and bustle of modern life? For the (...)

Weeping beech: We found a drift of self-sown beech seedlings, a few inches high, and pocketed one for the garden. Illustration: Michael Viney

The summer storm swept past in a hectic swirl of branches and I looked out at dawn to a polytunnel plastered with torn, wet leaves. But even on this b(...)

Garden for any length of time and you soon learn to love the well-made, durable, ergonomically designed sorts of tools that make the jobs of digging, (...)

Beech trees on the Dark Hedges Road in Co Antrim, by Michael Viney for Weekend Review

Our solitary beech is the last tree on the acre to burst into leaf, well after the native oaks and ash. It bears a scant tatter of last year’s leaves,(...)

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(...)

James Alexander-Sinclair: “Not only is [horticulture] exciting, creative work, but there’s also great charm in the idea that you’re doing something that will leave the world a better place.” Photograph: Courtesy of Malvern Spring Show

Not many professional gardeners have quite as many strings to their bow as James Alexander-Sinclair, the British landscape designer, RHS judge, telev(...)

Thomas Pakenham: “my predecessors  loved the family estate and planted many parkland trees to make it beautiful. Now these were in my care: individual oak and beech and sweet chestnut as fine as you could observe in any great park in Britain or Ireland”
Thomas Pakenham’s family of trees
  • Books
  • November 25, 2015, 08:00

I have been remarkably fortunate. I developed a passion for trees and the trees responded. At any rate, most of my trees seem happy where I planted th(...)