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11 Aug 2022

Gardening with Jo: Garden chores in the hot weather

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Garden chores in the hot weather

Derek's staff pick here at Caragh Nurseries — Nandina

That’s been some weather, hasn’t it! It really has been fantastic to get to spend some time outside, in the sun, and appreciate the garden that I’ve been working on. It's looking at its best, even if I say so myself!

We have eaten outside, barbecued and used the pizza oven, and had friends over, which has been fabulous. I’ve been experimenting with some new colours for our Finn & Elder range of sofas for next year and I’ve used two of the colours for my own sofas. They’ve been re-covered and its like having new furniture. My Dunmore sofa has been covered in a new colour we’ve called crystal blue. It's a really vivid shade of mid to dark blue that I am just in love with. It kind of glistens in the sun, and seems to give the sofa an even more elevated look.

The other new colour we’ve been experimenting with is cointreau, which is a hot orange colour, and we’ve recovered cushions in it for my Portofino L-shaped sofa. It's such a beautifully vivid colour that it pops in the garden, especially with my hedge of blue hydrangeas giving it the most stunning backdrop.

I know I’m really lucky to have the two sets in the garden, but it really has been the best place to develop the brand and see how the colours and shapes look, and more importantly how they wear before we bring them to the market for next year. I am happy that they are fabulous so they will form part of the collection for 2023 alongside our base of white and two shades of pink - a lovely pale pastel pink and then a much stronger raspberry that sit together beautifully. I am hoping to bring out some tropically printed throw cushions too, with parrots and peacocks alongside tropical foliage, but I am just seeing how they work in the sun and weather before we make the final decision on those.

I have been able to bring the cointreau and crystal colours to some one-off pieces that we have made available on the nursery too, so if you fancy checking them out you will find them on the website.

One of the things I haven’t done recently is any work in the garden. The hot weather is not conducive to digging and weeding but I will have to do some.

The most important job in the garden in weather like this is watering. My garden is looking really lush, but that doesn’t happen by accident. Most evenings I am out with the hose pipe ensuring that they all get enough water.

I’ve fed everything too and it really is showing. My olive trees are looking amazing and the heads are really full and so healthy looking. My vines in pots are also looking fabulous and those aforementioned hydrangeas are so thirsty that they need to be watered every evening in this weather. Evening is the best time to water as they get to take in the water while it is cooler and the ground stays moist during the night before the heat of the day dries it up.

Keeping those slugs and snails off some of my most favoured plants is also key but I don’t use slug pellets, its not something I’m keen to do so I deter them rather than killing.

I’ve been lucky to get my hands on huge bags of coffee grounds which not only keep those little suckers away but they are also feeding the soil, thanks to Starbucks in Naas for those.

The last thing we’ve been doing more recently is promoting staff picks of plants - finding out about which plants, trees and other items are the favourites of all the team on the nursery.

This week was our sales team member Derek chose his favourites. Any of you that have been out to visit us at Caragh Nurseries will know Derek. He’s super helpful and so knowledgeable on plant choices.

Derek's favourite shrub is the Nandina range of plants in so many different colours, including lots of really striking ones like lemon and lime. It's a great evergreen shrub for the front to middle of the bed, and a great functional shrub.

His favourite tree is the Photinia Red Robin standard tree and this is always one he recommends to customers as being great for screening and structure whilst offering a blast of colour, especially throughout the early part of the year. It is also one of the most cost-effective options for standard trees.

His favourite pot is the corten steel, especially the troughs which are very functional and add texture, colour and a tactile quality to your garden whilst dividing a space or along a wall to add height.

We use these pots a lot for commercial purposes, as they age fantastically and by their very nature protect themselves from the elements. Thanks Derek for all those tips!

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