What is a RAIN GARDEN?
A garden in Ireland in the summer! Seriously, it is a group of ideas for gardens that may be used singly or together that store or manage rain water helping to reduce flash flooding and release water slowly into the garden. That, in turn, reduces the need to water during dry spells. The ideas range from as simple as storing water in butts, through green roofs (a roof with plants growing on it) to bog gardens and natural swimming ponds.
What is your environmental policy?
Apart from designing gardens that I believe are very environmentally friendly we do the following
- source plants from nurseries that are as local as possible (we use UK nurseries when we cannot source plants in Ireland).
- use nurseries that employ organic growing methods, reduce the use of peat products and generally follow environmentally beneficial practices.
- use recycled paper for all our printing & designs; get all our brochures printed using vegetable based inks with a printer who follows other good environmental practices.
- we don’t use or advocate the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides.
What is a POTAGER?
A mixed vegetable and flower garden so the overall effect is very attractive compared to the traditional vegetable garden with straight rows of single plants.
What is a NATURAL SWIMMING POOL/POND?
It is a pool where the water is purified through the natural action of water & bog plants. The pool can look like a standard pool or like a pond. Then you will have an area that the water is recycled through using a pump that is planted with moisture loving plants that are especially good at purifying water. There is a lot less maintenance than a standard pool as well as no need to use chemicals to purify the water. And it looks great as well.
What is a SOLAR & WIND DRIVEN HOT TUB?
We are developing a hot tub that will be heated with solar panels and/ or a small wind turbine. It will combine the idea of a natural swimming pool in that the water will be purified in an adjoining regeneration area. So again, no chemicals will be needed to keep the water pure.
What is a FOREST GARDEN?
It is a garden modelled on a woodland but using productive trees and shrubs. A simple example would be apple trees, with current bushes underneath and a ground cover layer of insect attracting plants like the poached egg plant (Limanthes douglasii). The idea is to create a garden that has a carefully designed group of trees, shrubs and perennials that interact together in a beneficial way that makes for less maintenance and more produce. A forest garden could be several acres or just one or two trees in a back garden.
What is MULCHING?
It is when the ground is covered with a light excluding layer. It can be something artificial like black plastic or a woven membrane commonly sold in garden centres. Or it can be a natural organic layer like thick straw, bark, manure, grass clippings etc. Mulches help reduce weeding as plants need light to grow. They can also keep the soil moist in dry spells. Organic mulches rot down and add to the soil but obviously need topping up. Artificial mulches are great for clearing land before planting but we don’t advocate them for long term use as weeds eventually start growing on top so they become embedded in the soil and nearly impossible to remove. They also make the addition of compost or other fertility building measures impossible. Mulches can increase the slug population but they also provide shelter for slug eating beetles so on balance they are a very useful part of a lower maintenance garden.
How much work is involved?
Our garden designs aim for a lower work load than is usual for a traditionally managed ornamental, vegetable or fruit garden. However, they are not paved-over gardens with a few ornamental grasses requiring virtually no work. We aim to create a garden where any gardening you do has a benefit over and above keeping your space attractive. So the additional pay-off may be a bunch of fresh herbs for your favourite dish; a bowl of delicious home-grown strawberries; a bite from an apple straight off the tree. Add to that unusual tastes as you wander round your own garden of Eden picking things to nibble like the fruit of an edible fuchsia or the petals from a marigold, Calendula officinalis (our signature flower).