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In the Garden with Jo: Valentine gifts that stand the test of time!

In the Garden with Jo: Valentine gifts that stand the test of time!

Why not give a more permanent gift for Valentine's Day, a more permanent reminder of your love

Love is in the air and it’s that time of year when we start thinking of a little something for that special someone.

Whether you want to make a bold statement or just something small and thoughtful to show you care, we’re always searching for new and unusual gift ideas.

While we’ll never say no to a bunch of beautiful flowers, the idea of something so short-lived is bitter sweet.

The gift that keeps on giving is something that will last year on year and serve as a delightful reminder of this special time. We’ve put together a list of a few of our most romantic options below.

Hydrangea Macrophylla (above), or the big leaf hydrangea, has beautiful mopheads of colour. It is best grown in rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in slight shade.

This plant tolerates full sun only if grown in consistently moist soils. The soil pH affects the flower colour of most cultivars except white (blue in highly acidic soils and lilac to pink in slightly acidic to alkaline soils). These are currently available in a nice handy sized 5L pot.

Tracheleospermum Jasminoides, or Evergreen Jasmine is a stalwart plant for summer scent and striking winter colour. This is a climber with rich, dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. From mid- to late summer, pure white, fragrant flowers are produced. It can be grown against a wall or with support but needs are protected position away from cold, drying winds. 

Sweet smelling Lavender Angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, or English Lavender, will send you to sleep dreaming of your love. Hidcote is a very reliable compact selection great for an unusual low hedge or formal border of the bed, instead of box hedging. It's one of the most popular lavenders with its dense silver-grey foliage, covered in fragrant, blue flower spikes in mid-summer.

Crateagus Paul's Scarlet, or Red Hawthorn, is a small rounded deciduous tree with green, glossy leaves and pink/red double flowers. Being of the Hawthorn family, this does have thorns, but its late spring show is truly magnificent. This will grow to an eventual height of under 5 metres.

Beautiful blooming Cherry Blossom Trees, or Flowering Cherries as some people call them, are as romantic as it gets, a symbolic flower of spring and a time of renewal. Cherry blossoms and leaves are actually edible, and used in many traditional Japanese sweets and tea. They are usually pickled, but when preserved can even be used to make cocktails! We have some truly beautiful cherries currently available at the nursery, that can still be planted in time for your own stunning show this spring.

Prunus Kanzan, a popular, hardy, double flowering cherry tree with an abundance of bright pink double flowers. With an eventual height of around 6 metres, the leaves uncurl in a deep bronze colour turning green to orange in the Autumn. We have a couple of mid sized trees and a couple of very large impressive specimen to choose from.

Prunus Shirotae; this Japanese Flowering Cherry is grown for it’s wide spreading, slightly arching branches covered in white, fragrant flowers in mid-Spring. Vibrant, green leaves in summer turn orange to red in autumn. This is a small but wide tree, a favourite of ours here on the nursery.

Prunus ‘Oku-Miyako’, also known as the ‘Blushing Bride’ Flowering Cherry, is a smaller growing cherry which grows in a table-top shape, blossoms carmen pink in the spring and has wonderful autumn foliage. It requires staking and tying when young and will benefit from a light annual feed of a general garden fertilizer in spring. Apart from that, it requires little maintenance.

This spreading cherry tree, which is wider than it is tall, flowers later than most. It’s light pink buds, which open to white flowers, are sometimes likened to little ballerinas. Full height is approximately 5 metres tall but can grow up to 8 metres wide. The height of these plants isn’t as important as the girth as they are table top trees.

Check out my weekly column in the Kildare Post or see www.caraghnurseries.ie

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