05 Dec 2021

Gardening with Jo: Renewing our commitment to the environment

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Renewing our commitment to the environment

A country hedgerow

The Chinese proverb says 'The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is now'. The Greeks said 'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in'. Both sayings are equally as relevant with COP26 currently being at the forefront of people's thinking.

Our carbon footprint here at Caragh Nurseries isn’t high but we are always aware of the things that we can do to keep reducing our carbon output and we have a sense of duty to those around us, our families and especially our children. So we have been considering what else we can do. It's something we always think about but this has brought it to the top of our agenda.

We have started changing our vehicles; with two fully electric cars ordered as the nursery company vehicles. Although we’d love to do something about the trucks, at this stage, its not an option so we have decided that we will be organising to plant a tree to offset each and every delivery - not trees to sell but trees to grow to reach maturity; not all one variety but a good range of trees planted in abundance to reach their full size.

New tree plantings

We have also started to plant more hedges in our fields and sowing grass with native wildflowers in our headlands and through our tree lines - all helping to increasing biodiversity in our fields.

If, like me, you always have the best of intentions towards your environment, always wanting to do the right thing for our future generations, but sometimes fall short or into older habits, then maybe you, like me, could make some real changes.

Just because I grow and sell trees for a living, does that mean I can slack on the recycling or not turn lights and switches off where I can? No, it doesn’t.

Our biggest pledge for the year to come is to look at recycling more on the nursery. We currently use all green waste that comes back to the nursery to make soil richer. It takes time but it means we have a constant supply of soil enrichers for the gardens we create.

The one thing we would love to do this coming year, and we have set as a target for ourselves, is to find an option to recycle our plastic pots. We will be offering a service that we can take back any of the plastic pots from plants and trees that you have planted, in one piece. So if anyone has plastic pots from us hanging around, do feel free to bring them back to us. We are happy to recycle them on your behalf. We have seen a company in Denmark that are recycling the plastic pots and giving them a second life as a bistro tables and chairs for the garden and this would be our aim - wouldn’t that be fantastic?

So what will you be doing following the COP26 conference in Scotland. Will you be making changes? I’d love to hear what you are aiming to do and if anyone knows more about recycling of our plastic pots I’d be really delighted to hear from you.

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