Information, Resources & Advice

Plants, Gardens & Nature

My Site
Where is north?: It is important to consider where the sun rises and sets, as sun and shade greatly affect temperature and light levels reaching plants, and many plants prefer certain conditions to grow well.
Wind: Also direction is important for wind. As maybe where you live there are certain directions that the worst winds come from, tender plants will have to be protected from them. IN Northern Ireland, General rule: N wind: cold and wet, E wind: cold and dry, W wind: warm and wet, S wind: warm and dry. NOTE: non solid barriers provide better wind protection i.e. hedges of species like privet and beech, as opposed to more solid Leylandii, and fences, as the hedges diffuse the wind, but fences force the wind up and over, and then the wind drops down again producing potentially destructive eddies.
Slope, this will affect drainage, and the effects of wind and sun. More slope means more drainage and water run off, good for plants which don't want to get their feet too wet. This is dependent upon how heavy your soil is. Slopes also help with frost protection as the flow of cold air down the slope can alleviate the formation of frost, which is good if you want to grow more tender and half hardy species.
Sea: many of people in Ireland live near the coast, check if the plants you want can tolerate the sea spray i.e. salt tolerant. This spray can have an effect some distance from the shore. Look at what your neighbours grow.
Work with your site, maximize it's attributes. We believe that a garden can be made anywhere, but it may not look like what you imagined. If the garden you want conflicts with the site you have, don't worry, it is still possible, but remember, that the more removed your idea is from what the site can provide, the more expensive and labour intensive it will be. Instead of removing a boggy area, make a bog garden; dry areas, use mediterrean species; dark areas, think of understorey woodland plants etc...

If this seems daunting, just give it a try. Choose a small area, like a corner which you use, as it is beside the door, or is a small sun trap, and work on it. Leave the rest of the garden to later, and work on small manageable areas as time and money allow. Get gardening, be bold and feel free to experiment...