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Gardening with Jo: Finishing touches for the great outdoors

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Finishing touches for the great outdoors

A stunning outdoor place setting

This week has been all about the finishing touches for Kildare garden shoppers.

We have been selling pots and planters quicker than we can get them made so you’ve all been thinking about the same things too.

We’ve all had plenty of time to consider our gardens, how we are going to use them and how to get the most of them.

Our homes and our gardens have become our castles much more than ever before, and we are all finding ways to make them as comfortable and unique to us as possible.

As you probably all know by now, my own garden has been a work in progress - but I am at the final stages. As well as planting the garden, which is always my favourite stage, obviously, the dressing of the garden is where it all comes together and makes it really special.

This week it was about the garden sofa and dining area. My table is one that I have had for a couple of years. I love it, it's simple with a concrete fibre top and acacia legs and works for our family.

We’ve altered it along the way, substituting one of the benches for three chairs to make it more comfortable for some of us more mature users while still having room for eight people around it comfortably.

The sofa, though, is more unique than that. Over the last two to three years I have been hatching a plan to design, and have commissioned a range of outdoor dining and seating that would fit into some of our clients’ gardens. This plan is finally reaching its latter stages. The sofas and dining tables are ready in Caragh and the plan is almost complete.

I have chosen the materials for each of the products with such a careful eye as this is what is going to mark out this collection of outdoor furniture from anything else available.

It is made mainly of teak, which has the finest beauty and reputation, is valued for its durability and natural weather resistant qualities.

Each piece is carefully and precisely assembled by skilled craftsmen. I have just loved being involved and ensuring the attention to detail of each piece, and so the first piece is going into my own garden and it is looking fantastic. Just in case any of you are wondering, the new pieces will be available on June 30 and I am very proud and excited for that day - it's been a long time coming.


Now, what about lighting? I just love fairy lights and I have sourced these amazing, almost firework, lights to hang from the trees. I will also have lights on the path and where we park the car, but around the dining and seating areas I prefer to have softer lights so I will use lanterns to create a more romantic setting.

Lastly, it’s all about the finish. I love to lay a table with an array of small vases of flowers, using beautiful plates and creating a stunning tablescape for my family and friends.

As I’m writing this, I am planning to pick some of the delphiniums that are looking magnificent in the gardens and then add small bunches of sweet peas too, with the lime green of alchemilla mollis to set it all off.

I love working outdoors, so I always have some gardening books and magazines on the coffee table for those days when I am outside. A travel rug and cushions add texture to the sofa but is also lovely to wrap up in when the sun goes down, while we chat and finish the last of the bottle of wine.

The last piece of the whole garden jigsaw is a heat source. If we are going to get the, most from our gardens, as we are in Ireland and not on the continent, it is important to have heat and either a firebowl or a stove is ideal. I've plumped for the stove and I just love being able to light it and sit around to enjoy the garden well into the night.

If this last 15 months has taught us anything, it is to not sweat the little things, to enjoy the life we have and most importantly the people around us.

Taking precious time with them is what makes me happy anyway, and the idea of sitting around a television doesn’t fill me with joy - my garden does and long may that continue.

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