06 Oct 2022

Gardening: Bring some touches of the Med to your garden

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening: Bring some touches of the Med to your garden

We are all looking forward to some sun at this stage. Yet as the chance of overseas holidays again this year is probably minimal, so I thought I’d bring you some Mediterranean inspiration for your garden. If we can’t get to Spain, Italy or Greece then we can bring touches of the Med to you.

The first thing we think of here at Caragh Nurseries when we think Mediterranean is the olive tree, and do we have some beauties to bring you. Try some mini olive trees that are perfect for smaller terraces and balconies.

You could put them by the door or bring them inside your home, as they are happy in a light and airy spot.

We have lots of mid-sized trees around the 6ft mark, which are great for around the terrace or planting through the flower beds. Try underplanting with lavender or nepeta to create a carpet of lilac-blue under your olive tree.

Olives grow very well in Ireland. The foliage grows full and well through our spring and summer. During a colder winter, the tree can lose some of its leaves, but it soon recovers and the new growth is fuller and fresher. Our more mature olive trees are a very firm favourite, with probably the most popular being the wide, chunky-stemmed trees with short trunks and full heads of foliage. These offer great displays of silvery foliage, giving that real Mediterranean feel, again in a bed or as a feature within a terrace or if you can find a pot large and low enough.

Italian cypress trees bring me back to Tuscany each time I see them. The, tall slender trees are fantastic planted in a row or as a grouping of slightly differing heights. They are great for adding height and structure to a garden without overpowering a smaller space and blocking light.

Fig trees remind me of Greece. They enjoy a sunnier spot in the garden, preferably against a south-facing wall. You will get fruit from this tree and its fabulous shape and wonderful large leaves will make it a great addition to the garden.

Adding palm trees to your garden can add a lovely, semi-tropical feel. I am working on a garden plan currently, with our designers, that includes a beautifully simple beech bench with a backdrop of palms and bamboos layered to create a real tropical feel for a compact outdoor space.

Adding a couple of evergreen magnolias to this south-facing corner will add amazing flowers in the summer with a wonderful lemony scent.

I’m still adding scent everywhere around the home and office, using eucalyptus and scented foliage and flowers. Accacia/mimosa is in season and its smells divine in a well-placed vase. Candles are my go-to mood booster and I love a strong lemony scent. I had one last year that smelled of a Greek or Italian evening, lemony and wood - I must find that one again, it always gave me a lift.

Summer evenings to me mean sitting outside with a glass of wine. A pizza oven is invaluable - we use the Delivita pizza oven and we only sell this one on the nursery.

We cook so much in it – it's definitely not just for pizza although we do tend to have garlic ciabatta with most meals.

We cook a lot of meat and fish in it. We love cooking outdoors as a family and this is the prefect way to do it for us.

Sitting around the fire bowl afterwards makes the most of the evenings as they get slightly cooler.

We are going to be so dependent on our gardens this summer to lift our spirits, so lets hope for some amazing weather to do the same.

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