July 15, 2024
Garden design business takes root

Phil Gilbride in one of his plant nurseries at his Killeshandra Garden Centre.

Killeshandra Garden Design is the new business venture by horticultural expert Phil Gilbride.

While only in its infancy the design and landscaping enterprise based at Killeshandra Garden Centre is already blossoming through word of mouth from satisfied clients.

Phil brings a wealth of horticultural experience and knowledge to the art of garden design. With his own plant nursery and garden centre he has a cost-effective supply of trees, shrubs, bulbs and materials. He has also just completed a post grad diploma in garden design at UCD.

Phil has a team of dedicated full time and part time staff to ensure the garden project is completed to his exacting standards, whilst remaining affordable.

A good listener, Phil is eager to first learn what clients desire from their garden and tease out any preferences they have.

“We have a number of meetings where we go through a couple of stages of planning until we settle on a final working plan. Then we go in and do the job,” says Phil.

Project manager Phil employs a construction expert to undertake structural works, such as patios or building retaining walls. He’s eager for homeowners to maximise the use of their garden and outdoors spaces, by having them both as attractive and practical as possible.

“My style is contemporary with lots of cottage style planting. So I like neat contemporary clean finishes with masses of planting – I think that works. I’m always pushing to get in trees. Trees are always in vogue. Obviously I’ll adapt to whatever the clients style and wishes are. At the end of the day it is the client’s garden, not mine!

His approach ensures customer satisfaction with the finished garden is long lasting.

“The idea in planning a garden is you plan for five years and 15 years. What’s it going to look like in five years’ time? What’s it going to look like in 15 years’ time?”

* www.killeshandragardencentre.ie


Why bother dead heading petunias?

“Petunias are the best-selling summer plant because they flower profusely,” says Phil Gilbride of Killeshandra Garden Centre. He has thousands upon thousands of petunias, sitting alongside lobelias and calibrachoa, enjoying the boost provided by his polytunnels.

“The idea with an annual is, they don’t come back year after year, so it puts all of its energy into flowers for one year – it has very little rootstock.

“Petunias will last for a few months, but if you dead head petunias they will last you till October. You have to clip them under the cup at the base of the flower. This means you are removing the seed. If you let the plant produce too much seed, it thinks its job is done and will stop producing flowers. Whereas if you deprive it of seed, it will keep producing flowers. So by dead heading, while you are removing the dead flowers, the main aim is to remove the seeds underneath so that it keeps producing flowers.”

If you are a hands-off kind of gardener, maybe consider planting up diascia.

“It has only just started flowering and it will flower for months,” says Phil of this frothy beauty.

“The great thing about it is there’s no dead heading, and nothing attacks it either.”