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20 May 2022

Gardening with Jo: Make first impressions count

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Make first impressions count

Today I was doing some more work on my own garden. We did a lot of work over lockdown on creating a stunning outdoor space, but we hadn’t finished the entrance. I was waiting for my prized magnolia to become dormant before I could move it to its new home, as the position it was in was where the entrance path to the front door was being located.

Finally, last month we moved the magnolia with a very large rootball to protect its roots and ensure the tree thrives. Last week we laid the new path and planted the hedging up the driveway, and over the weekend we put down the honeycomb mat and the gravel was put down. It is looking really smart and we are delighted with it.

In doing all this we dug up the lawns on either side of the driveway. We were getting ready to re-lay the lawns when we had the idea to plant the beds instead of grassing them.

We then had to start thinking about what we were going to plant in this position that is so visible and a first impression of the house. We needed something that will be impactful all year round, so I wanted to share with you what we are going to use.

It needs to be low maintenance as the nursery keeps me so busy most of the time, and also I wanted to keep the colours simple so I decided on just white and green.

I really wanted a layer of white hydrangeas, so I am going to use Annabelle as it is one of the best flowerers and the most reliable. I am going to add agapanthus and alliums for some height; and yew balls to create a mound effect at the front instead of the more usual box hedging. This is also a way of keeping the bark mulch from mixing with the gravel on the driveway.

In pockets I am adding a white/green parrot tulip for early in the season. This way we have the yew balls to keep the structure, the hydrangea Annabelle for late summer and for keeping structure even when the flowers have turned brown; the alliums for early flowers and the agapanthus for the middle season.

The tulips then are for the early spring, so that way we have something for all the season and hopefully it will look well all year round - that’s the idea!

Next week I will give you an idea for a more substantial bed with more colour, and look at how that will bring colour in all four seasons as well as structure for year round too.

In the meantime I promised that I would let you into the details of our new collection in my Finn & Elder furniture range, which we stock here at Caragh Nurseries.

We have three new pieces that are really exciting and are all being added to our online store this week.

We have our Biarritz dining table and chairs, which has a teak top and aluminium base for outdoor use. A special feature of this table design lies in the corrugated edges, to make it unique and modern. It comfortably seats up to 10 for Sunday brunches or afternoon cocktails, and the chairs are made of olefin weaving rope, with a powder-coated aluminum frame for the back seat forming a spacious backrest. It's very chic looking.

Our Rae reclaimed sofa set will turn your terrace or patio into an all-season gathering space. Every piece is all entirely made of certified, solid reclaimed teak wood of high quality, sourced from century-old houses from remote villages in Java. The solid framework and and slim arm support is perfect for enjoying an afternoon or sunset moments out in the garden. The cushion is covered in olefin fabric in a beautiful coffee colour.

Astria is an extendable dining table for outdoor dining. It features a natural teak, fine-sanded frame in a simple design that offers an extending and collapsible butterfly leaf for extra seating. With smooth lines and a slightly rounded edge, it seats up to 10 people when extended with 10 chairs.

I am already experimenting with designs for additions for next year and I am so looking forward to fine-tuning these and then sending them to my factory for a prototype to be made.

It is such a lovely process and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Until next week, happy gardening.

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