Irish-Italian interior staging specialist Natasha Rocca Devine has just launched a new scented candle “The Secret Garden” with Cork-based candlemaker La Bougie. Natasha, who lives in Dublin and manages her own company The Interiors NRD Studio, spent several months designing the candle and scent alongside professional perfumer Lucy Hagerty, owner of La Bougie candles. “I wanted the candle to be inspired by nature and the outdoors, and I named it after my favourite childhood book The Secret Garden,” explains Natasha. “Having lived abroad in city apartments with no garden facilities, I appreciate the power and pleasure of a candle, the joy of a comforting, welcoming scent in a home.” The candle, which took over six months to curate, has top notes of lavender, musk and honey and is €30 with a burn time of 50 hours. To order visit www.theinteriorsnrd.com.
Irish broadcaster and agricultural expert, Darragh McCullough, recently met Claire Woods, garden manager of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Manager who took him on a tour of the majestic four-acre walled gardens. The gardens are a must for keen gardeners with several cafes, and a lovely walled garden, often with homegrown produce on sale for visitors too. Claire has given her top five tips for what to do in the garden this weekend.
“Firstly, save seeds for next year, such as marigolds and nasturtiums, as well as any beans or peas from the vegetable patch that are too mature to eat. Collect the seeds on a dry day and store them in a cold, dry place in the dark over winter. Remember to label the envelope!
“Tidy your beds and borders by removing dead flowering spikes and weeds. Don’t be too tidy though because flower heads can create lovely winter interest eg alliums and grass heads, as well as providing seeds for birds. Leave a few weedy areas for wildlife to hide in.
“Give your lawn an autumn renovation by using a spring tine rake to pull out moss and thatch (if the moss is very bad you may need to use a moss killer first). Use a specially formulated autumn feed to harden the grass up for winter.
“Sow green manure. It can be used all year round but in autumn it can be sown in areas of the garden where crops have already been harvested. It will add organic matter, improve the structure of the soil and suppress weeds over the winter. When dug in next spring it will ensure your soil is in perfect condition to grow bumper crops!
“Keep deadheading late autumn flowering plants such as roses and sweet peas in order to keep them blooming.” To find out more about visiting Hillsborough Castle and Gardens visit www.discovernorthernireland.com.
Two sales will interest gardeners keen to get some plants and bulbs for springtime colour. Firstly, Ballyseedy Home & Garden, Tralee, Co Kerry has announced its end of season sale with discounts of up to 70 per cent off seasonal lines. Starting this weekend, there is 25 per cent off plants, up to 30 per cent off pots, with other lifestyle and barbecue items also included. Ballyseedy Home & Garden is open daily from 9.00am to 6.00pm; www.ballyseedy.ie.
Mr Middleton’s famous Flower Bulb Open Day has moved online and will be held on Saturday September 12. Hundreds of new and rare varieties of flowers bulbs will be released for sale, with special offers and great deals. Mr Middleton has the largest range of bulbs in Ireland with stock arriving from over 20 different suppliers; www.mrmiddleton.com.
Make the most of the good weather to visit Lismore Castle Gardens & Gallery, Co Waterford which remain open daily until October 11. I visited the gardens last year and still have memories of forest bathing in the woodland areas, enjoying the clucking of hens and discovering the many artworks installed among the foliage. The gallery café is open for takeouts and picnic baskets are available, €38 on a pre-ordered basis from Thursday to Saturday (€30 for Friends Scheme Members). I can’t think of a better place to enjoy one. With restrictions in place there are two time slots for visiting from 11am-2pm and 2pm-5pm (with last entry 4pm). Advance booking essential; www.lismorecastlegardens.com.
I’ve just received an advance copy of My Garden World by Monty Don, which will be published on September 17, by Two Roads. I’m sure this will be on a few Christmas lists this year and is an enthralling, mindful way to wind down in the evenings. Monty takes us through the seasons on a month by month basis observing wildlife as much as plantlife. He says, “Wildlife is not something that we watch happening in remote and exotic parts of the world on our screens, but right here in our own backyards and the more we encourage it and learn to live with it, the more rewarding it becomes.” Having kept notebooks and journals over 60 years, this book bears witness to his fascination for nature – from trees, wildflowers, birds and insects. It’s not my usual reading matter but I was hooked from the first page; www.montydon.com.
Something of a red herring here …The Galway Summer Garden is an arts and dining Hub, and the backdrop to The Big Think festival of talks taking place from Friday September 18 – Sunday September 20. The central outdoor stage is surrounded by 30 bell tents that can be booked for groups of up to six for an afternoon or the entire evening. Food and drinks can be ordered and delivered to the tents by The Twelve. Against this festival vibe, the programme includes author Mike McCormack, (of award-winning novel Solar Bones) talking to Constellations author, Sinead Gleeson about their respective life and work. On Saturday Gleeson will also talk to another great Galway writer, Elaine Feeney, about her acclaimed new novel As You Were. On Saturday, Panti Bliss will present Panti’s Afternoon Tea, reflecting how culture and art can give us hope for the future. On Saturday, Professor Luke O’Neill talks about Life Beyond Covid-19 and what hope and trust we can have in science and society for a better future. Tickets start at €60 Friday €90 Saturday and €90 Sunday per person in tents of six people maximum and can be booked on www.GalwaySummerGarden.ie.
Mark Saturday, October 3 in your diary. It’s the first “Grandparents Day” at Mount Congreve, Co Waterford, when the gorgeous gardens will be for free to all grandparents visiting with their grandchildren. The 70-acre site has some 16km of walking trails with woodland walks, nature trails and manicured lawns some of the attractions. National Grandparents Day for 2020 takes place on a school day of Tuesday, October 6 hence the celebration date at Mount Congreve Gardens has been set for a Saturday to allow for this. All tickets to the gardens need to be pre-booked in advance, free tickets to a grandparent will be allocated with any accompanying child or another adult ticket. Children’s and adult tickets can be pre-booked at www.mountcongreve.com.
Finally, for gardeners who are in need of some TLC after spending days in the garden, a gift from The Burren Perfumery is always well received. This family business established in 1972, by Sadie Chowen, makes small batch perfumes and skincare products inspired by the iconic Burren landscape and its flora. Sustainability is at the core of its ethos and all products are made from certified organic ingredients, are vegan friendly and cruelty-free and come packaged in bottles made from recycled plastic. You’ll find an extensive range of The Burren Perfumery products at all Avoca stores; www.avoca.com.
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