leonie cornelius

LEONIE CORNELIUS & FRIENDS

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Ferns | Magical shade loving ancients

  There is something truly magical about the thought that the plant for this week’s column was around when the dinosaurs were. In fact, the oldest fern fossil records of ferns date back to around 360 million years ago making the fern plant even older than the dinosaurs. It is no wonder so that ferns have an ancient and mythical feel to them. Unfurling slowly like a pre-historic snail, these

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Pink Valentine | frothy flower inspiration from the garden

  Happy Valentine’s day!  Every year around this time I love to get inspired to create a romantic combination of flowers. This early in the year there are not many plants from our own gardens that can be used for flower arranging. Foliage is a popular go to for vases and trees such as Eucalyptus are beautiful even in their own right.  Beautiful structural dried thistles and seed heads can also

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A touch of the Tropics | The beautiful Orchid

There is no plant I know as beautiful and sensual as an tropical orchid. Perfectly elegant and reminiscent of warmer climes, these flowers are such wonderful additions to the window sill in colder months, with many blooming in the depths of Winter. The most common orchids available here in Ireland would probably be the relatively robust Phalaenopsis- the Moth orchid. These beauties are native to southeast Asia and are very

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The power of Green | Colour of the year 2017

When you think about gardens what is the first colour that comes to mind? You will undoubtedly answer green and this is no surprise considering that green is the colour of most planting and considered the colour most associated with Springtime, nature and growth. Even the word green comes from the middle English and Anglo Saxon word ‘grene’ which, like the German word grün has the same germanic root as the words

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Totally Tropical | How to create that Jungle feel in the Irish garden

  When it comes to garden design there are so many different styles of planting. From romantic cottage gardens, minimalist approaches or self-sustainable havens, we create gardens to suit our lifestyles and our tastes. One style that I find particularly fascinating is the tropical style of garden. Admittedly, tropical is not the first style of garden you would think of when designing gardens in Ireland but with clever planning and

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Shady Gems | inspired planting for shade gardens

Most gardens I know have some areas of dappled or even deep shade in them. Especially with gardens getting smaller as cities grow, there is an increase in shade of trees and houses. This means that more and more people are having to deal with the challenge of creating planting compositions that suit shady areas. November is the time in the garden when most planting is dying down and preparing to

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Gorgeous Geraniums

My love of Geraniums has been a long standing one. I remember as a child that in late Summer and early Autumn the pretty mounds of colourful flowers spilled out over the borders of our garden beds and then later in the season scattered their light petals over pathways and lawns like a celebratory wedding procession. These are not many flowers as versatile as the Geranium. With their masses of

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French Opium Delight | The sleep bringing poppy

The first time I cam across the real Opium poppy was at the Hortus Loci in the UK when I strolled through the heavenly nursery grounds in order to choose plants for my Chelsea in Bloom garden for the Dubarry of Ireland Flagship store on King’s Road. The choice at this nursery is truly incredible with colour exploding at every turn and one of the true stars of the show

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Weekend Projects | Edible Flower Fun

 With so much in blossom this month I thought it would be lovely to have a look at some flowers from an edible point of view. You’d be amazed at how many of the flowers in the garden we see every day are actually edible. As a garden designer I am always learning more about edible plants and am always fascinated by new discoveries. Growing edible plants with children is

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Inspiration from the masters of the Wild

Have you ever come across a garden and sighed with the sheer impact it has on you? As a garden designer and writer this is one effect which I am always searching for, in my own designs but also in gardens I visit and write about. Clever composition in planting is one important aspect of a garden that feels magical. Carefully placed plants, with sympathetic companions make for visual feasts

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