Welcome back to our April garden blog, even though it’s the first of May already.
A very busy April went by in the blink of an eye, it seems and we are in the famous ‘transition period’ between spring and summer displays.
The late Easter this year meant that the spring flowers were all in bloom which created a lovely spring feeling. Also the different Rhododendron cultivars like Rhododendron falconeri subsp. eximium, an early flowering variety, had a fantastic flower display this year.
Pic1 Early morning in the formal flower garden with view to the Diamond Hill
Pic2 Rhododendron falconeri subsp.eximium in full bloom; named after H. Falconer (1808-1865) who was Supervisor at Saharanpur Gardens in India in 1832; introduction 1850
Pic3 Tulip ‘Colour Cardinal’ and white Bellis in our Parterre with Head Gardener House and Tool Shed in the background
Pic4 Tulip ‘Peach Blossom’ in the ‘snake beds’ in front of the restored Vinery
Pic5 Fritillaria pallidiflora, an unusual very attractive small Fritillaria from 1844
A rather dull day, weather wise, did not stop lots of children with their families wandering around the garden and experiencing yet another Kylemore Easter event. The children had to find three (adult size) bunnies within the garden, could decorate and create a birthday card for the pigs, get their face painted in bunny style or look at the new fairy items in our fairy wood. The day was finished off with a birthday party for our two Kune kune pigs, which are with us for one whole year. A very funny and unusual ceremony was enjoyed by all!. Our garden students created a special cake for the pigs, whereas the visitors were able to try out a lovely home backed sponge cake.
Pic5 The dining table in the Bothy decorated for the big Easter Breakfast
Pic6 One of the rabbits had to take a rest in the bedroom in the Bothy from all the hopping around
Pic7 The Vegetarian birthday cake for our two pigs Gloria and Ken, loveingly decorated by our garden students
Pic8 The ‘proper’ cake for the guests
There are jobs happening in every corner of the garden at the moment. The first hedges like Fuchsia macrantha are getting trimmed, a job which needs to be repeated at least one more time throughout the season. Also in the Vegetable Garden the seasonal planting of different crops like leeks, celery, peas, lettuces, potatoes, parsley and many more is happening all at once it seems. Before they are planted out the seedlings are getting hardened off in our cold frames where they get a bit of protection from the brick walls and glass frames, especially in stormy weather like last weekend.
Pic9 Vegetable seedlings in the coldframes
We finally got around to start fixing up our broken sundial in the Parterre. One piece of the granite top where the dial would sit on broke off few years ago. We are not sure when the actual sundial disappeared. It happened many decades ago as far as we know. The new one will hopefully be similar to the original sundial, not easy to judge since there is no original picture existing. I will upload a picture when the new one is fully installed.
Pic10 Steve is fixing the original base of the sundial
I am very exited that our two peach trees, both Amsden June varieties, will be fruiting this year. The hand pollinating must have helped I think. We will see which of the two is performing better and which fruits are nicer since one of the trees is growing outside along the south facing wall and the other one inside the Vinery, also along the south facing wall. The size of the fruits is only about 2 cm at the moment.
Pic11 Peach ‘Amsden June’ with baby peaches!
The last picture for this month is from our lovely garden students Miriam, Julia and Alicia. They are doing a great job here and had fun when helping out at the Easter event two weeks ago. The pink ears are normally not part of their uniform!
Pic12 Our Easter Bunny helpers Miriam, Julia and Alicia
Enjoy your own garden as much as we are enjoying to work here in the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore Abbey!
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in May:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Take softwood and non-flowering cuttings of Fuchsia and Pelargonium
~ Take softwood cuttings of shrubs
~ Sow Carrots and Parsnips (end May to avoid Carrot fly)
~ Succession sowing of radishes and lettuces
~ Plant Tagetes and Calendula as companion plants between your crops to attract beneficial insects
~ Start to plant out summer bedding in final position and protect against slugs (try coffee ground)
~ Plant out potted plants to prevent pot bounding
~ Plant runner beans and french beans on climbing supports
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Trim formal hedges of Buxus, Fuchsia or Escallonia and feed them
~ Put up supports on taller perennials, broad beans and sweet peas
~ Water plants and lawns well in dry spells, mainly in mornings or evenings
~ Prune spring flowering shrubs like Weigelia or Forsythia after finishing flowering