Gardening, dogs and friends

Me with the girls in Nicola's front garden
Do you enjoy gardening? Discovering new plants?

I have just returned from a few days with my great friend Nicola Brown who lives in Carlow, on the other side of Ireland to me. It's bit of a car journey, but always worth it. Nicola grows the plants for her natural eco print and dye practice. Nicola doesn't use any chemicals when she dyes, so the process is totally natural.

The dye border was planted 3 years ago - and it is HUGE!!! I can't help feeling jealous of plants that are 8ft tall. There is no way I could grow such tall plants in the windy area that I live on the coast. Nicola's garden is quite sheltered, so in the warm weather, with a just a slight breeze, You can watch and listen to all the insects buzzing amongst the flowers. It is quite wonderful.
The very long eco print and natural dye border  

A lot of the plants in the border are really tall - quite architectural. This Ligularia must be at least 8ft tall.

My 2 dogs coped well with the journey to Carlow. They had met Pip before when Nicola stayed with us earlier in the year so we were pretty confident they would all get on well together. It was good to watch them all play and run about together.

My 2 dogs Pops and Fizz (cream), and Nicola's beautiful collie Pip.

Pops walking in the garden as if she owns the place!

It is always good to have friends with gardens as you can swap plants. I took some borage, achilliea and carraway plants to Nicola and I came home with some verbascum, scabious and epimedium. I won't be dyeing with them, they will just look fabulous in my border. I am still learning which plants will grow well here and will cope with the salt and the wind.

This is my border, a much smaller scale . . .

The huge day lily is the centre piece of my border.

Geraniums, daisies, hollyhocks, achillea and a fantastic blue hydrangea just coming into flower.  

I will find a place for the plants that Nicola gave me . . . 


While I was staying with Nicola we filmed an interview that you might find interesting. You can find it here on YouTube - it will go live at 6pm BST on July 16th.


If you would like to know more about Nicola and her textile practice - have a look here.   her Intsagram account is -



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