Louise McDaid

About Louise McDaid

I’m a landscape designer and enjoy working with most anything botanical in nature. Based in Sydney Australia, I am also editor of Landscape Outlook, journal of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM) and write on gardens and their design. I have been guest editor of GardenDrum while Catherine escaped for an overdue and well-earned holiday.

Book Review: Dreamscapes

Dreamscapes is a stunning collection of 69 of the world’s most beautiful gardens photographed by Claire Takacs. It is a book filled with imagery and about gardens. If it achieves no more than inspire you to immerse yourself in open spaces at sunrise or sunset, with or without your camera, then it is well worth having, and a big part of its objective! Continue reading

Exotic Garden at Le Jardin Secret in Marrakech

‘Le Jardin Secret Open Air Museum’ in Marrakech’s massive medina is the restored riad of the last sultan of Morocco. It has two courtyards; the larger is the Islamic Garden, a paradise garden in reinstated cruciform layout and replanted in keeping with the tradition of Islamic gardens. The other is the Exotic Garden – more intimate with complex planting. This smaller one fired my imagination, so I’ll write about it here. Continue reading

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech

This garden has been analysed, hyperbolised and dissected in every imaginable way. A library has been written about every aspect of it, not to mention millions of photographs! What more can one possibly add? Maybe only my own ‘humble’ perspective for what it’s worth. Continue reading

Designing a garden to inspire dreams

There are a lot of formal gardens in France, especially at chateaux, and in the last three months I’ve seen a lot of them! So the prospect of visiting a contemporary garden in an historic town in Perigord Noir captured my imagination. Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire, in the very pretty if ‘business-like’ town of Terrasson, Continue reading

Morocco – land of kasbahs and palm oases

The land of the Berbers is a dramatic interplay of gorges, mountains, desert plains and valleys dotted with date palm oases. Amongst these, where there is water, rise ancient kasbahs* in various states of ruin or rejuvenation. Some kasbahs have been bought by foreigners, often French, who have renovated and re-designed them often as guest accommodation, usually with gardens attached – either surrounding the building or as an internal courtyard. Continue reading

Berber home and garden, Morocco

East of Marrakech, over Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, a desert landscape riddled with spectacular gorges and valleys presides. At the time of my visit in November, snow-capped peaks rendered this ancient land of Berbers even more panoramic. In their pink and red-hued villages, built so clearly from the earth right there, dwell a truly hospitable people. I had the good fortune to visit the home and garden of one Berber family. Continue reading

Two Madrid garden masterpieces

In Spain’s capital, two impressive garden works caught my eye and considerably enhanced my ‘art experience’. In a city justifiably renowned for three great art museums, these outdoor living works offer their own distinctive appeal and artistry. Continue reading

Review: ‘Gardens of the Italian Lakes’

Most garden lovers have heard about the lake gardens of northern Italy – maybe read about one or two – enough to know they are significant places. I, for one, almost negligently, haven’t visited any of them. So when I had the opportunity to review ‘Gardens of the Italian Lakes’ I took it! I hoped it would give me an inside view of these famous villa gardens and a good notion of their visiting worthiness. It did that! ★★★★½ Continue reading

The world’s must see garden shows

Happily, there are plenty of great garden shows to choose from around the globe – to bathe in dazzling designer displays and floral flare. The most famous of all is in full swing right now in London. With this in mind, I’ve put together my list of ‘the’ shows for true garden lovers. Continue reading

Mango tree of Fort Cochin

Checking in to our Fort Cochin Hotel, the friendly staff invited us to relax in the garden while waiting for our room. We didn’t need an invitation – I was already out there craning my neck to see what caused the dappling in the courtyard. It was an enormous mango tree, and as I looked up something caught my eye. There was someone sitting on a branch, a very long way up. Continue reading