1001 gardens you must see before you die

apart from the title... ?

apart from the title... ?

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the title. A little depressing to be honest. Why it needed Titschmarsh to do the preface i’ll never know [no offence 😉 ]. Why they didn’t just change the title to 1001 garden to make you smile and just leave it at that… ?

That said said this is a great reference book. I have used it many times from The Monte Palace Tropical Gardens in Madeira to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in South Africa and I absolutely love it.

A must have for any garden library. Pretty simple to use. If you do get away, even in Ireland, just have a leaf through and you are guaraneed to find a garden worth visiting near you.

beautiful bulbs


It is that time of year again. It is time to start planting bulbs. [more information on how to bulb plant here].

It is a case of decide what you want – next year – and back track to now. The only problem with planting bulbs, for you as the client, is that the results are not immediate to be seen, one must wait for Mother Nature to take her course.

I really like when spring bulbs they are planted under the lawn. Sounds a bit odd? Not really. When most things are dormant and the grass isn’t growing, there’s very little competition for growth [ieg. daffodils]. This means when they are due to be cut back [the grass should be around head height of the bulb], depending on the variety, the grass is mowed at the same time.

If you have a small garden, one can literally underplant the entire lawn. It looks absolutely amazing. If you have a balcony – simply plant them in containers and [just about-ish] forget about them.

My EASY list for what will be in flower during December – February and what you really need to consider planting NOW include the crocus,cyclamen, anemone, iris, narcissus [daffodil], tulipa [tulip]. Of course there are a lot more that can be planted but these would be considered more ‘the usual suspects’ I suppose.

crimes against the garden…?

cowboys... ?

cowboys... ?

When I spoke to a colleague of mine about writing an article on robbings in the garden he told me he had seen some himself, but moreso around the winter period. In hindsight I realise this may not be the most amusing opening line for an article but whilst garden theft achieves little or no publicity in the United States, mainly due to the fact that the US has no national crime watch for this type of theft, in the UK there are on average eighteen thousand reports [that are reported] of garden theft every year with British insurance companies adding further that one in seven gardens is burglarised every summer and that twenty five per cent of UK residents have suffered some form of theft from their gardens or outbuildings. The most popular item on the grab and run list is the hanging basket. This doesn’t sound like a lot and possibly quite a frivolous matter but at thirty euro on average per hanging basket [or an average price per theft reported] this equates to a minimum half a million euro per annum.

they took what...?

they took what...?

In Ireland it seems, somewhat similar to the states ‘we don’t keep any statistics for specifically garden theft – it’s all simply reported as theft’ according to the Garda Public Relations Office.

I performed my own research to find a list of sorts to give me an insight into the criminal mind and the damage they leave behind. Although quiet amusing, possibly, I had assumed that the results would be your usual plants and the garden shed style theft. It seems these garden invaders have gone to another level. In no particular order are the ‘offences’ list.

  • gentlemen robbing tropical plants
  • solar lights and clothes including the washing line
  • three garden gnomes, a fake stone sheep and a cow
  • strawberries
  • tree stakes – but not the tree
  • parents throwing their child into the back garden to get the ball
  • cuttings/clippings and flowers that would look good at home
  • furniture
  • wheely bins set on fire
  • courting couples


The point is that nothing it seems is safe. So again through my own personal research I’ve come up with some top tips for the crime crackers.

  • Buy good locks for the garage or shed and even within the shed hide the more expensive pieces under the old junk. Bolt up at all times. Out of sight is out mind.
  • Wire the shed to the alarm or security system and fit sensor lights to both shed and home front and rear
  • Check your insurance details, listings and small print
  • Fit and secure gates where possible
  • Secure ornaments or sentimental valuables to the ground as best as possible. Make sure you want them to stay there first.
  • Gravel paths and driveways are a noise making deterent.
  • Thorny plants are great in selected areas
  • Ensure your privacy doesn’t leave a place for the green – fingered robbers to hide in.


Whatever your lifestyle or the area you live in the general rule for garden design is that the front of house is for the neighbours to walk by whilst the rear of grounds is for the family. Any concerns you might have about security should be discussed with your garden/ landscape designer at the inception of your design. This will allow for security features to not only fit gently into your design but also into your landscape design budget.

keep your hair on…

hair today...

hair today...

the amazing skerries mills


I thought this would be a boring day out. The ones you got ‘dragged’ out on when you were a nipper. I also thought, at first, the €6.50 tour charge was a bit steep, I was [very] pleasantly surprised.

This, had to be, one of the best ‘tours’ I’ve ever been on. Skerries Mills is simply amazing -and it’s a lot more than just a tour. And before you ask, I wasn’t given VIP tickets to visit!


I went with ‘herself’ for a bite to eat in the coffee shop and after some good filling home cooking, we took the tour. Paddy our guide has been involved in literally every stage of the renovation of the mills, going back ten years-ish now, into what it is today and he knows everything. Add to that a good sense of humour and one finds that it is the people that make a place.

From how the 55 acres surrounding the mills came into the councils hands, how spontaneous combustion evolved from static and flour and why the life expectancy for those [lucky enough to get a job there?] was only 40 years of age… is amongst the many facts that make the journey extremely enjoyable. Outside of that ‘The Mills’ are self sufficent, financially. That is, they have to break even. And they do, now.

€6.50! In my day we could have bought the entire mills for that and still had change for a loaf of bread…..

That aside, my other interest was/ is that we ‘are’ going back to the days of water conservation, wind power and home-made; gave me an insight into how ‘not so far away’ we are from those days of old returning.

As I said €6.50 each; todays made home made scones [i asked] and a pot of tea – it is, I thought at first, a bit my Dad’s kind of thing [at least I felt like him for a little…] but it was worth every cent!

Would I return – if only just for the warm scones!