The Vertical Forest

Social media gets a bad rap. By some accounts it is nothing more than a toxic vortex, a black hole into which is disappearing the best years of our lives. Any time spent on Facebook looking at some vague acquaintance’s carefully staged skiing photographs is time you’ll never get back. Time that would be better… Read more »


Here’s what most people know about Ballymun. It is a working- class suburb of north Dublin City. In the 1960s it was a particularly deprived working- class suburb of north Dublin City into which it was decided to insert a bunch of high rise concrete apartment blocks wherein, it was hoped, the good people of… Read more »

Garden Vs. Landscape

I subscribe to an American magazine entitled ‘The Dirt’, the monthly publication of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). That designation is important, ‘landscape architects’. Because here we have another one of those common instances where confusion surrounds the language we habitually use to describe something or to make certain subtle distinctions between things.… Read more »

The Great Indoors

There I was the other day wondering why I don’t spend more time agonising over plant choices for the interior of my house. It’s a well-recognised phenomenon, particularly in Ireland, that our gardens are as much for gazing upon and admiring from the inside as they are for immersing oneself in on the outside. So,… Read more »

De Burgh Land, Naas

So, there was my wife a couple of weeks ago over in New York improving her personal best for the marathon while I single handedly kept the show on the road back home. And in order to assuage her overwhelming guilt at abandoning us for a week she did manage to bring me home a… Read more »

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 »