Posts tagged ‘Kilmovee’

December 2, 2012

Deck the halls with boughs of Holly – Christmas Wreath Workshop

by Ciaran Burke


Not just holly! Laurel, redwood, ferns, hawthorn, spruce, cotton lavender, ivy, heather, artichokes, alder, willow, spruce and many, many more.

Getting it just right....

Getting it just right….

Take a sprig of laurel, no ordinary laurel, Otto Luyken’s low growing one. Add a spray of a bronze  leaved conifer wearing its winter clothes, darkened from summer green, Microbiota decussata from Vladivostok. A spruce shoot or two from the felled trees from behind the house and a plump bunch of creamy green flower buds from the fragrant spring flowering Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’. Tied with tender care and lovingly crafted into a Christmas wreath. Take a break, sip some hot glögi, a Finnish Christmas punch, have a nibble on a mince pie or Tunisian orange cake and back to work. Creativity filled the air, mingling with the warm chatter and yummy smell of home baked cakes. Just the way a Christmas Wreath workshop should be.

A finished wreath

A finished wreath

This was the first workshop to take place in our newly built classroom. Over the last two weeks my Dad and myself have been busy hammering and sawing. The wooden building had been installed, it was our job to insulate the structure, wire it for electricity and finish off the inside with tounged and grooved wood panelling. We had a deadline to meet. 1st of December and Hanna’s Christmas wreath workshop.  We finished on time, ahead of time, last Thursday we had our first class, the RHS Level 2 course took place there, and on Friday a Christmas tree was added, decorated with lights and Hanna’s advent wreath was placed on the table. We were ready.

Sequoia sempervirens 'Adpressa'

Sequoia sempervirens ‘Adpressa’

The workshop was about making Christmas wreaths, using plant material from the garden and hedgerow, there were also cakes and Christmas punch, glögi a Finnish spiced grape drink. Homemade mince pies started the day with tea and coffee, later there was cranberry and orange tart, Tunisian orange cake and Finnish style Christmas pastries filled with delicious prune jam. Our classroom was filled with happiness, a vibrant buzz and by the end of the day everybody had created a beautiful Christmas wreath to bring home with them. Thank you to all the wreath makers for making this a memorable 1st of December and bringing good cheer to our classroom.

Links to recipes for cakes and glögi

Cakes for the workshop

Cakes for the workshop


In the gallery below are photos from our christmas wreath workshop and also some photos of some of the plants that were used in the making of the wreaths.







October 4, 2012

Autumn Fire – early autumnal morning in our garden

by Ciaran Burke


A cool start, a foggy dawn. The mellow light tinted the milky haze of fog rising from the earth, too beautiful for even the wind to disturb. The usual west of Ireland wind stayed respectfully still and silent. As the sun sleepily woke and rose over the horizon the fog dispersed to the air, leaving a residue of pearl droplets over the grass and foliage. In the most sheltered corners the grass crunched, a frost beneath my feet. A perfect morning to enjoy the autumnal splendour, late flowering Helianthus, H. ‘Miss Mellish and H’ Lemon Queen’, sun flower relatives facing to the east, awaiting the sun, helios worshippers waiting for the apparition of a sunny morning.

Helianthus ‘Miss Mellish’

Tilia henryana in the morning light

White berries of Sorbus koeheniana, dripping  wet pearls, precious beauties. Cercidiphyllum japonicum, its leaves scenting the air with burnt sugar aromas and Aronia shrubs burning with beauty.  Then arriving through the kitchen door, fresh scones steaming, straight from the oven… you cant start a day much better than that!

Sorbus koeheneana berries

Aronia arbutifolia

Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Home made scones

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 13, 2012

The New Growth Project – First week Video

by Ciaran Burke
New Growths Potting

New Growths busy potting

Last tuesday we had the first class of The New Growth project. Click on the link below to see how our students got on on the first days.

February 18, 2012

The New Growth Project

by Ciaran Burke

The New Growth Project is a charity project that we have started with The Garden School to provide free horticultural training to unemployed people. The first course shall take place in our garden in Co. Mayo. There are no course fees and the course does not receive any goverment funding. We are going to grow this project to provide training to more people and offer more courses.

Any profits made from The Garden School will go to The New Growth Project. If you want to support our project you can do so by enrolling on a course, book a one day course in our garden, we can come to your garden to deliver a course, you can buy a T-Shirt

Anyone over the age of 18 and not currently in employment, not taking part in a training programme or in education is entitled to apply. No experience in horticulture is required and no knowledge of gardening is expected.
Successful applicants must show an interest in gardening/nature and be willing to work in an outdoor environment including enduring a little rain. Participants will need to have their own transport.

Course Contents

Through the practical work, instruction and homework participants on the course will learn a number of skills and gain horticultural knowledge over a number of subjects. There will be an opportunity to prepare for and sit one unit of Royal Horticultural Society examinations. Participants will gain a basic understanding of the following:
•Propagate and grow new plants from seeds and cuttings
•Name a range of plants
•Understand how plants grow and their requirements for healthy growth
•Grow vegetables and fruit for home use.
•Select, places and plant ornamental plants in borders and in the garden
•Weed control
•Garden layout
•Environmental impacts of horticulture and sustainability issues
•Use of tools
•Organic methods of treating plant problems

For more information and application forms:

%d bloggers like this: