Carlow Garden Trail

Many thanks to the folks at Carlow Garden Trail for the invitation to deliver the opening talk of this year’s festival. I had a great time in Leighlinbridge. Diarmuid wasn’t bad that evening either. Read more »

The Vernacular

In any discussion on architecture we will hear a lot of use of the word “vernacular”. What exactly is the vernacular, what does it mean? It’s the name given to the type of building, in any country, that reflects local traditions and which has developed based on local needs and available materials. Supposedly planning authorities… Read more »

The Clinic

Every so often I am asked to do a design clinic at the Kilsaran showrooms in Dunboyne in Co. Meath. The showrooms up there, with their impressive facilities and even more impressive collection of mocked up gardens, attract a lot of householders who are in the market for some sort of outside makeover. The choice… Read more »

Progress At Last

It’s funny how these coincidences work. Last week I talked about the endurance of the American streetscape, of their front yards divided (if at all) by “living” fences, of the value they place on mature trees. All of this positivity of course was countered, I remind myself, by a healthy slice of cynicism towards the… Read more »

Where Doesn’t The Time Go?

This year’s post Bloom rest and resuscitation consisted of a ten day trip to New England, Massachusetts to be precise. I have been thinking and writing quite a bit recently about how it is possible to construct a potted social history of Ireland by looking at plants and planting trends. We can identify stark differences… Read more »

Context? Ah Do It Yourself

So sullied and abused has it become at the hands of all manner of eejit politicians that you’d nearly be afraid to use the word “context” anymore. At this stage it can rightly take its place alongside ”in terms of” on the list of perfectly good pieces of the language hijacked and destroyed by the… Read more »

Bloom 2016

There are many strands to the situation which is unfolding in Syria. Primarily there is the human cost; lives lost, horrific injuries, families torn apart, violent and traumatic displacement, the uncertain plight of millions of refugees. There is also the decimation of the country and with it a rich cultural heritage stretching back thousands of… Read more »

Put Beyond Many Uses

Marginal land. It comes up fairly frequently. How do we make it productive, how do we treat it, what can be done with it? A surprisingly large percentage of agricultural land in this country can be defined as marginal land. According to the OECD’s glossary of statistical terms, “Marginal land is land of poor quality… Read more »

The Garden With No Plants. Heresy?

We, quite naturally, associate gardens with plants. The Oxford English dictionary defines a garden as “a piece of ground adjoining a house, used for growing flowers, fruit, or vegetables” or the plural gardens as “ornamental grounds laid out for public enjoyment and recreation”. It is difficult to break the association between the concept of the… Read more »

Green For ’16

What do you know about the Greening Grey Britain initiative? Well I knew nothing either till a few days ago when I happened across it on the Chelsea Flower Show website. There I was at home messing about online when I decided to check out Chelsea to see what design delights it has in store… Read more »