Cosmopolitan is not a word that might be readily associated with the village of Lahardane but local resident, Patrick Higgins, has achieved exactly that effect in his heavenly garden with some inspired design and clever planting.
Time and again visitors have remarked that the product
of Patrick’s green fingers is worthy of media coverage and when he finally invited the Western People out to visit last Tuesday, the experience did not disappoint.
A native of Rathduff, Cloghans, Patrick spent most of his adult life in England where he worked with some of the top names in fashion design.
His career took him all over the world and now, having retired to Lahardane some four years ago, he has combined his design flair and the influence of his international travels to cultivate a garden that is nothing short of breathtaking.
But what is even more remarkable about Patrick’s achievement is the simplicity of his approach: “I try to keep it very simple. It’s mostly pots of the same size and colour that I plant with varying themes each year.”
The use of pots and clever camouflage means Patrick can easily vary the look of his garden on a daily basis if he wishes by moving things around.
“I use over 100 pots and I plant over 1,000 bedding plants every year,” he reveals. “I actually start thinking about my garden design in November. I talk to the people in the garden centres. I place my order in January. The plants are delivered around the third week of May and I start planting them straight away.”
Patrick says that colour schemes form a huge element of his garden design.
He might use as little as three varieties of bedding plant but incorporates six plants in each pot to create a colourful bouquet effect.
This year Patrick worked mostly with begonias, busy lizzies and lobelias ranging in shades of pink, red, purple and white to augment existing shrubs, heathers, trees and roses in his garden.
And inside his home, he has continued the theme of the garden with floral features subtly carried throughout the interior design while double doors from the kitchen into the back garden allow him to “bring the outdoors in”.
“People think I spend hours in the garden but I get it all done in one to two weeks. First I prepare the soil, using fresh compost and a slow-release food and then I spend about three days (not full days) planting,” he remarks.
Patrick incorporates tea bags and a bowl-shaped layer of plastic into the pots to help retain moisture and keep watering requirements to a minimum.
Livingstone Tomato Food is another secret weapon but Patrick maintains that a flair for design is the real key to successful planting.
“I am dreaming all the time because I come from a design background.
“You have to have good structure, character, texture, colour, excitement and interest.
“I am building on that all the time. Next year a lot of this will remain the same but with a new look or theme,” Patrick concludes.