June 2014 . Awarded Silver medal for a small show garden at Bloom, Phoenix park, Dublin.


The garden's sponsor Calor, wanted a garden that enhanced the experience of outdoor cooking with their Mini-BBQ .  Chef Rory Morahan,  the Druidchef, entertained, cooked and fed bystanders at the garden. 


Caroline from Calor and Chef Rory Morahan in action

While this was a small garden, only 5 x 7m, I hope it showed what can be done with a small space, for relaxing, dining, socialising and growing edible and ornamental plants in.   It is about maximising the space for it's intended use.   For example the plants must be suited to the space and my philosophy is ' carry no passengers'.  Each plant must perform and be suited to the garden and it's site and soil type.  Herbs are wonderfully easy to grow and as we use them, snipping off for cooking or remedies, keeps them compact and rejuvenates their growth patterns.  Herbs are so life enhancing with their aromatic qualities, memories evoked by scent,  stopping us in our tracks, glimpses into the past, people and present.  They mix incredibly well with other ornamental planting providing texture, colour, scent, and bringing a constant stream of wildlife into the garden space.  

Aromatic planting

Plants from Mount Venus Nursery, Dublin and Inver Garden Centre, Larne, Co. Antrim.

Water feature subtly placed under the birch trees with mosaic rocks by Dawn

Callistemon laevis

Chair by Unopiu

Art works so well in a garden space!  My mosaics were integrated into the fabric of the garden space as were the weatherproof  art panels of birch and poppies. 

My mosaic stepping stones form a decorative and functional path through the garden, bringing colour, vibrancy, light reflective qualities and direction through the space.  They are incredibly durable and weatherproof for our climate.  The theme being bio diversity with insects, birds, flowers and fruit depicted.

Beetle mosaic

Apples mosaic ready for transference onto base.

Finished Apples mosaic in situ.

Spider Mosaic just started

Spider Mosaic just started

ready for fixing onto base.

finished mosaic

My red hot chilli mosaic panel enhances the 'outdoor kitchen theme' linking to the intended use of the garden with cooking, eating and growing edible food.  Mosaic panels work well in both the indoor and outdoor environment  and the Fired Earth tiled surround beautifully frames the mosaic images.


Red chilli mosaic by Dawn and framed with Fired Earth's Portland Lownsdale tiles

The art panels created a boundary and sub divided the space in one corner.  The images of birch trees and poppies were painted by Hazel Revington and transferred onto outdoor panels suitable for the outdoor world.  They blended with the garden both in aesthetic and functional capacities, and would create year round interest even in the depths of cold dark winters. 

Kitchen island unit with oak panelling and art panels in the background amongst Acer Trompenberg and Cornus Kousa (Mount Venus Nursery), Laburnum vossii (Woodstock Trees and Shrubs)


The star shaped limestone patio and counter worktop facilitated the cooking features of the garden.  The patio 'hovered' above the ground level and the fifth triangle of the star design formed the worktop space for the chef to cook at.  Oak formed the table aspect of the island unit and enabled people to sit and relax whilst dining.  Geometric red Arabesque tiles from Fired Earth livened up one aspect of the island unit, reminiscent of the Alhambra's use of tiles and pattern making, and complemented the mosaics in the garden.


Fired Earth 'Arabesque' tiles on kitchen island unit and Limestone patio

Thanks to all who supported the garden:

Bord Bia

Calor - Sponsor -

Linda McKeown who helped plant.

Fired Earth, Belfast and Dun Laoghaire branches. - http://www.firedearth.com/

Inver Garden Centre, Larne/plants and pots. Gazania Apache, Large Box balls, Salvia Caradonna, Euonymus alatus compactus, Salvia Hot Lips, Lavender stoechas Tiara, Alchillea red, Dahlia Gallery Rivera, Helichrysum, alpine strawberries.- http://www.invergardens.co.uk/

Sap Maynooth/ Betula utlis 'Jacquemontii' multi stemmed - http://sapgroup.com/index.php/landscape-centres/branches/ballygoran/

Woodstock Trees & Shrubs/Laburnum vossii - http://woodstocktreesandshrubs.ie/

Mount Venus Nursery, Dublin/ Acer Trompenberg, Cornus kousa, bamboos, herbs including strawberry mint, aromatic & woodland herbaceous plants - http://mountvenusnursery.com/MVN/MVHome2.html

Campbell Plants/ Lavenders, Rosemary, Callistemon laevis - http://www.campbellplants.ie/

Kildare Growers, Kieran Dunne/ Redcurrants

CW Graphics, Belfast - Art panels.

Unopiu red chair/  Anne Hamilton 0353(0)863157114