leonie cornelius

BOTANICAL LIFESTYLE by LEONIE CORNELIUS

Category Irish Mail on Sunday

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Growing your own plum trees

Is there anything better than picking fruit fresh from the tree? I think that every garden should have at least one fruit tree and one of the most delicious and fairly easy to grow ones is the Prunus domestica, or plum tree. I am a big fan of these lovely trees that not only look lovely in stature and leaf but also have a great yield of delicious fruit for

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Lavender Love

There are a few plants for the garden that are instantly recognisable and firm favourites year after year. Lavender is one such plant and I think no garden can do without at least a few of these Mediterranean beauties. There are so many great things about these evergreen shrubs native to the old world- from across Europe, particularly the Mediterranean and across the Cape Verde and Canary Islands to Northern

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Butterfly Beauty | The brazen urbanite that butterflies can’t resist

The summer garden always brings to mind one shrub that is instantly recognizable to most people; the Buddleja or Butterfly bush, as is is commonly known. The name immediately gives away what this shrub is all about and the softly scented flowers are often covered in butterflies which feed on its honey-scented nectar. This mostly perennial shrub has exotic origins in the far East and was brought to Europe in Victorian

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Carlow Garden Festival

The author Alfred Mercier had a quote which said “What we learn with pleasure we never forget”. There is so much truth in this idea. I certainly know that the information I remember in most detail has been given to me in friendly conversation with an expert or in lectures which the talker has made fun and accessible. In this context there is truly no better way to learn about

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Tea Therapy

  There is nothing more satisfying than that first cup of tea in the morning. The process of sleepily brewing, steeping the bags and slowly watching the colour deepen. To many of us tea drinking is a form of ritual, a moment of calm before the days starts. In essence tea is therapy. In many countries tea culture has become a form or ritual where not only the drinking of

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Alpine Renaissance |achieving a modern look

Considering modern trends what do we think of? Garden rooms, sustainability, green walls, urban greening. The idea of an ‘alpine rockery’ is not one that brings contemporary design to mind. For many of us, the design style of rockeries feels firmly lodged in the style of 1960’s to 1980’s when they featured heavily in show garden circuit and played a strong role in setting garden trends. Often used as a

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Tulip theatre | Creating drama with tulip jewels

What plant is more perfect for creating drama than the tulip? This wonderfully elegant plant rises up out of beds and containers in a most theatrical fashion-standing proud and tall above most other bulbs and perennials. I love tulips. They remind me of weekend visits to Holland when I was a child, the saturated fields of colour stretching endlessly to the horizon as we drove through the landscape. They also

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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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