A Secluded Hideway

Growing up in the midst of the Liverpool suburbs, the nearest green spaces were in my local park, a much frequented place during school holidays. From high ground en route, I could see the distant Lancashire hills with fields, wood and cottages, a sight that sparked my young imagination – and a daydream to live in the country. A reality achieved, although it took another 20 years.

With a rural way of life came a new discipline – gardening – about which I knew nothing. So a steep learning curve, although more of an infinity curve because one never, ever, stops learning.

Later, when running Slidefile in Dublin, we had frequent requests for images of Irish gardens. I seized the opportunity, photographing some of the most spectacular Irish gardens. Sitting on a pretty terrace chatting about the garden to the owner over coffee didn’t seem like work. It wasn’t ! And all the time horticultural education seeped into the old brain cells, by a kind of osmosis, like how to mix flowers and shrubs along with landscape design principles.

Inspired I began designing a cottage-garden in the small garden our County Meath home in the 1990s, where between the cottage and garage was a tiny square suntrap, a patch of rough turf that challenged me…

So here it is (was), a favorite place of relaxation, where colour and perfume filled the air. A lovely secluded little hideaway for an occasional glass of vino, conversation, reading and the occasional thought that garden design would have been a nice occupation in another life…

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