Gardening with Jo: garden chores in hot weather

It was beautiful, wasn’t it! It was really fantastic to be able to spend time outside in the sun and enjoy the garden that I worked on. It presents itself in its best light, even if I say so myself!

We ate out, bbq’d and used the pizza oven, and had friends over which was fabulous. I have been experimenting with new colors for our Finn & Elder range of sofas for next year and have used two of the colors for my own sofas. They have been covered and it is like having new furniture. My Dunmore sofa has been reupholstered in a new color which we have called Crystal Blue. It’s a very vivid shade of medium to dark blue that I’m just in love with. It glistens in the sun and seems to make the sofa look even higher.

The other new color we experimented with is cointreau, which is a warm orange color, and we picked up cushions in it for my Portofino L-shaped sofa. It’s such a beautifully vivid color 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 both sets in the garden, but it’s really been the best place to develop the brand and see what the colors and shapes look like and especially how they wear before to put them on the market for next year. I’m glad they’re fabulous, so they’ll be part of the 2023 collection alongside our base of white and two shades of pink – a lovely pale pastel pink and then a much stronger raspberry which go together beautifully. I’m also hoping to bring out throw pillows in tropical prints, with parrots and peacocks alongside the tropical foliage, but I’m just seeing how they perform in the sun and weather before making the final decision on these.

I was able to bring the cointreau and crystal colors to some unique pieces that we have also made available on the nursery, so if you fancy checking them out you can find them on the website.

One of the things I haven’t done lately is work in the garden. 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 looks really lush, but that doesn’t happen by accident. Most nights I go out with the garden hose to make sure they all get enough water.

I fed everything too and it really shows. My olive trees look amazing and the buds are really full and looking so healthy. My potted vines are also fabulous and the aforementioned hydrangeas are so thirsty they need to be watered every night in this weather. Evening is the best time to water because they can absorb water while it is cooler and the soil stays moist overnight before the daytime heat dries it out.

Keeping those slugs and snails out of some of my favorite plants is also key, but I don’t use slug pellets, that’s not something I wish to do, so I deter them rather than kill them.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some huge bags of coffee grounds that not only keep those little suckers away, but also nourish the soil, thanks to Starbucks at Naas for those.

The last thing we’ve been doing more recently is promoting staff plant picks – finding out which plants, trees and other items are favorites of the whole nursery team.

This week, our sales team member, Derek, picked his favorites. All of you who have visited us at Caragh Nurseries will know Derek. He is super helpful and very knowledgeable about plant choices.

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

His favorite tree is the standard Photinia Red Robin tree and it is always the one he recommends to clients as being ideal for screening and structure while providing a burst of color, especially at the start of the year. It is also one of the most cost effective options for standard shafts.

Her favorite pot is corten steel, especially the tubs which are very functional and add texture, color and tactile quality to your garden while dividing a space or along a wall to add height .

We use these pots a lot commercially as they age fantastically and by their very nature protect themselves from the elements. Thank you Derek for all these tips!

Terri S. Tomasini