Flux Capacity

Whatever happened to topiary? Topiary, just in case you don’t know, is defined as the art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes. The shrub most commonly used by the topiary practitioner is undoubtedly Buxus sempervirens, or to give it its common name, box. I could count on the fingers of one… Read more »

The Fear

I lived and worked in New England for nine years, from 1997 to 2006. In the gardening and landscaping business in the U.S.A one thing that always struck, and surprised, me was how conservative they are regarding what they are prepared to do, or even try, in the garden. My default preconception heading to America… Read more »


We are afraid of the weather. Sometimes, as was the case last Monday fortnight, this is quite justified. Occasionally our weather can throw a Shakespearean dose of lethal malevolence at us and we rightly hunker down and cower in fear. Our weather is for the most part benign, we are not exempt from the odd… Read more »

EVE Harvest Sensory Garden, Kildare Town

It’s happening again. Every year around this time, seemingly out of nowhere, comes an irresistible compulsion to attend to the needs of the homestead. And as I have said before it is a totally primal, subliminal, unconscious thing. It quite clearly has to do with our inherent rhythms, our ancient propensity to tie up loose… Read more »

Hands Off The Hedge

We hear a lot about our architectural heritage and the lengths to which the appropriate bodies routinely have to go to protect it from soulless development. I cast my mind back to the famous Frank McDonald book The Destruction of Dublin which was published in 1985. In the book McDonald chronicled the systematic disfigurement of… Read more »

Milton Keynes at 50

A very important anniversary falls this year. It’s not one you are going to hear an awful lot about. There won’t be any military parades up and down O’Connell Street, wreaths laid or lapel adornments worn. It will slip by unnoticed by all but the sad few, amongst whom I must include myself. Ladies and… Read more »

What I Found In a Thousand Towns

I have a healthy obsession with an American singer songwriter by the name of Dar Williams. I first saw her perform in 1996 in the Jazz Café in Camden Town in North London, again a few years later in the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts and most recently a couple of years ago in the… Read more »

Ireland has a Housing Agency?

I caught an interesting discussion on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk the other morning. Pat was interviewing (actually a more accurate verb might be ‘crucifying’) the Chief Executive of The Housing Agency. And perhaps the most striking and interesting thing about the Chief Executive of The Housing Agency was how fondly he spoke, how… Read more »

Sub Zero Maintenance & The Farthest

I have been given a brief for a townhouse garden, 15 metres long x 8 metres wide. So what, says you. Nothing startling, special or unusual about that. And, of course, you’re right. I only mention it because it is one of those that crop up every so often that is proving especially difficult to… Read more »

Sounds of the Suburbs

Some day when you have absolutely nothing else to do, Google the phrase ‘Sound of the Suburbs.’ In all likelihood, what will appear before you on the results page is a collection of versions of The Members hit single of the same name from the nineteen seventies. You will also see a string of references… Read more »