25 Sept 2022

Gardening with Jo: Finishing touches for my garden project

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Finishing touches for my garden project

Well, that was a great bit of weather, wasn’t it? Hopefully it won’t be the last of it this summer, and it coincided with my garden project reaching completion – well, almost.

All the aspects came together and the final stages of planting pots and adding bark mulch to all the beds were reached last weekend. I am just so delighted with it and we were absolutely reluctant to do anything other than spend time admiring our handiwork.

We enjoyed it all, from the stone walls to the porcelain terrace, to the olive walkway and dining area and a covered seating area, which came in really useful to get in the shade this last week but which was actually intended for evening use and showers.

I'm loving the different areas within the garden that we have created, even in a reasonably small space.

The planting happened over the last few weeks and it got me thinking about some classic planting combinations and planting plans that just work together.

The beds

We created blocks of box hedging two metres square, three of them very clean lines interspersed with flamboyant herbaceous planting of lupins, delphiniums, geraniums, and peonies with ceanothus, and the Japanese forest grass and Alchmilla mollis to add lots of lime greenness to the whole thing, I just love these beds.

Another bed has lots of green foliage planting, pines, hostas, ferns, banana plants and cannas with a couple of gunnera and a couple of oak leafed hydrangeas. This bed has the water bowls interspaced within it and I am really happy with it.

Another shade/foliage bed has bamboo and tree ferns mixed with low level hostas and a few batches of salvia amistead which adds pops of purple throughout the foliage.

The last bed has lots of herbaceous again, but this bed also has evergreen structure in the form of pine balls. I decided on these instead of the usual box balls as these are a really dark green and have more movement and texture to them. Yet I used them in exactly in the same way that you would plant box balls.

They create real structure all year round but I added white planting around them to contrast with the dark green.

I found it harder than I thought to pick my favourites without making it all too busy. I added white alliums and white agapanthus, white lupins, white astilbe and three lovely white peonies, as well as five hydrangea polar bears.

The last addition was white hellebores and in that I have enough going on for all year round, keeping white going through the bed every season.

Beautiful urns and outdoor furniture

In my three urn shaped pots, which separate the lawn from the terrace, I have planted three grape vines which currently have grapes - but I won’t be expecting those every year. My olive tree walk is underplanted with lavender.

The last element, and the area I was most excited about was the outdoor furniture. With my own new furniture collection recently launched, this is the perfect way to show it off.

Where better than my own garden? I added a sofa set and also a beautiful dining table. I am just in love with the tactile nature of the teak furniture and, even if I say so myself, the beautiful fabrics that I picked, along with the lovely silvery nature of the teak, is just stunning.

To showcase the furniture we have added a couple of colours of throws and cushions, made in beautiful outdoor fabric, and create different looks for photographs.

In case you want to have a look at my new collection then I’m going to blatantly plug it at

More recently, I have been shown lots of different gardens from proud gardeners who have carried out projects in their gardens, from creating reading nooks to garden cocktail bars. There is also lots and lots of beautiful garden planting.

I would like to create a collage of some of those images, so if you could send me through any of your lockdown garden projects, please, to for a lovely project that I ‘m working on, I would appreciate it!

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