Kloe Wood Lyndorff and Adam Carveth set up their garden design and experience business five years ago with the aim of connecting people with nature. As well as a range of garden design services, they offer boutique botanical themed accommodation and a variety of new tasting tours of The Garden of Re-Imagination, their showcase edible garden in Glengarriff.
Passionate about the environment, Kloe and Adam believe that gardens must move beyond just serving the aesthetic whims of us humans. In the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis, gardens are a space in which we can take immediate action and make positive changes to reduce flooding, sequester carbon and create havens for wildlife.
“We design gardens that nourish people and planet,” explains Adam. For example “our planting schemes are based around a backbone of native flora to feed native fauna with layers of edible planting, then woven through it from the ground up the trees tops to feed you!
“We also design in features that re-use as much material as possible that’s already on site from piles of rock to off-cuts of timber or if not is sourced as locally as possible,” says Adam.
West Cork has a variety of soils and sites – in many cases exposed, wet or rocky. Integral to their design process,Two Green Shoots works with the space as, putting in plants that will thrive in existing conditions, thus also reducing time, energy and resources needed.
“For instance, here we are up on the hills with exposure to wind and rocky soils, so we have used our native Arbutus unedo, better known as the Strawberry tree,” explains Adam. “The fruit alone is sweet but not so great, however made into a jam, it becomes something all the better. The birds also love the fruit and the flowers offer pollinators a late season welcomed pollen boost.
“Our go-to windbreak hedge is Elaeagnus x ebbingei, as it takes wind, offers highly-scented flowers in the Autumn-Winter and then edible berries, which are lovely cooked into a fruit compote in the Spring.”
A pond is the number one item for introducing wildlife, big or small, into a garden.
“You don’t have to build a large pond if space is tight,” shares Adam, “you could get a wooden half barrel, line it and make a mini pond.
“Still-water ponds are often best for nature, just remember to add an oxygenating native plant like Greater water moss to help maintain healthy ecosystem in your pond.”
Adam would love to see more edible hedges incorporated into gardens, ones that not only offer shelter from the wind but that feed us and local wildlife from pollen, nectar, berries, fruits, nuts as well as offering cover for nesting birds and small mammals.
“It could include Cornellian cherry, which is like a pear-shaped plum, Autumn olive, which offers tasty small berries in the autumn or some of our native whitethorn, which offers lovely berries for birds and make a lovely syrup for a warm winter-warming drink,” he explains. “Why have an ornamental cherry when you can put in an edible cherry like ‘Stella’ with a delicate scent, lovely blossom and then the fruit; it’s a simple yet effective tasty switch.”
According to Adam, so many people tend to fight with the site they have or rush in and expect everything to just grow. Many ask for low maintenance gardens and yet have huge lawns which are arguably the most high maintenance garden feature possible.
If you happen to have a lawn currently, Adam’s advice is let the grass grow. “Have small areas mown for sitting, or for kids to play and then cut meandering paths through the meadow that will develop over time. An annual cut and rake up of all the material in early autumn will help native wildflowers establish over time. As well as providing access, mown paths or edges, particularly if in your front garden, make it clear the space is being managed, incase your neighbours wonder what’s happened!”
Take time to monitor your garden through the seasons. “Know your soil and work with it,” he says. “Get practical advice, whether from a garden advisor, designer or your local garden centre who tend to be familiar with local growing conditions to suggest plants.
“It’s a thrill to see birds feasting or nesting in your new hedge or the first time you go and pick some berries to sprinkle into your breakfast bowl! Our gardens, big or small, offer such an empowering opportunity to address big issues such from Climate Change to Food Security by crafting green spaces buzzing with life and flavour!”
Two Green Shoots is currently taking bookings for stays in The Botanical B&B and Botanical Bell Tent, opening on June 1, 2022. Both are perfect for immersive escapes away, without having to hop on a train or plane. The Garden of Re-Imagination will be open for garden tours and food experiences, Saturdays weekly from June 4, 2022, for groups of 4-plus.
Finally if you’re interested in re-imagining your own garden, book a complimentary 30-minute Design Discovery Call, with their next slots for design packages filling up already for autumn 2022.
For information and bookings for garden design packages, accommodation and garden tours visit www.twogreenshoots.com.