This book aims to share with readers the basic tools, techniques and principles of how to create and maintain a beautiful garden through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Straightforward, no-nonsense language and advice, along with simple photography showing the practicalities of gardening will advise budding gardeners on how to build their garden from a naked skeleton through to a beautifully garbed wonderland. The book will give people a greater understanding of the part that gardening and nature plays in their lives, in their health and in their general wellbeing.
The book is separated into horticultural sections — architectural plants, evergreens, seasonal plants, contrast & textural plants, herbs, fruit & vegetables, and container gardening – so whether the reader is starting their garden from scratch, or merely looking for advice on annuals or the edible garden, they will find what they are looking for easily. Each section is covered from the point of view of choosing the right plant for the right space, the planting itself, and maintaining the plants through the seasons. Each section will also contain boxed-out sections, or sidebars that highlight interesting and useful information for the gardener, e.g. soil science, composting etc. Everything will be laid out in layman's terms and use easy to follow instruction. Each section will be prose – with any step by step detailing separated out into sidebars, boxes or offset paragraphs to give readers an easy to use reference.
At the heart of this book lies a DIY ethic that applies not only to the garden, but also to living. We are intrinsically linked to plants and the natural world and the survival of plants and the natural world is intrinsically linked to us. As a gardener I feel it is very important that I leave the planet in a better condition than when I found it. I think it is important for all humans to think like this. With this in mind I feel that gardens should be working hand in hand and symbiotically with nature as opposed to fighting against it. A ten-year battle with cancer gave me an entirely new view on life and living and the vital link between me and the nature around me. It was nature that helped me to heal; from the tree I could see through my hospital room window that taught me to appreciate each passing season, to the herbs that naturally eased my discomfort.
Peter Dowdall is a gardener who owns the Dunsland Garden Centre in Cork. He has been TV3's gardening expert for the past 4 years and appeared on RTE's Corrigan's City Farm. He has also been involved with two Silver Gilt medal-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.