Welcome back to the July edition of my garden blog from the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore Abbey.
The temperatures went back to a more ‘normal’ or I would say typical Irish level and our irrigation system could be switched off during the night times. The recent showers were enough to bring the soil back to its usual moist consistency. I know that other places are still struggling with the drought and there will be long term consequences for many farmers and horticulturists. The recent rainfall in combination with very humid conditions let the grass, flowers, vegetables and of course weeds grow like mad. Also our Buxus hedges still look green and you could nearly forget that the dreaded Box blight is in every single plant waiting to strike again. We are taking many cuttings of alternative plants like Ligustrum delavayanum at the moment to try out the most suitable substitutes.
Pic1 Buxus sempervirens (Box) boarding our Vegetable plots
I am just back from our restaurant where I dropped off a selection of Herbs and edible flowers like these of Nasturtiums and Garlic Chives. They will be used in different dishes like Bagels with smoked Salmon and fresh fennel leaves from the garden.
Pic2 A selction of freshly harvested Herbs and edible flowers
Long rows of Cabbages, Leafbeets, Chicories or Beetroots are accompanied by the bright coloured Calendula officinalis. This type of planting is called Companion Planting and acts in favour for the Vegetables in many ways. Calendula for example can repel whiteflies and kill bad nematodes. But is also attracts many other insects and looks beautiful with the crops. A regular dead heading will prolong the flowering season by many weeks.
Pic3 Calendula officinalis in one of the plots along side Chicory
The runner and french beans are happy out this year. The heat wave was a great favour to them and we can expect a good and healthy crop.
The same counts for our Courgettes, Marrows, Squashes and Pumpkins. It must be many summers ago when we had such a good harvest of Courgettes and Marrows. It nearly feels like an endless supply and we try out all variations of Courgette dishes, from baking cakes, making chutneys, mixed salads with raw courgettes or courgette muffins.
Pic4 Our Runner and French bean plot
Pic5 A twin act of Courgette ‘Green Bush’
The first crop of peas and Mangetouts is harvested, the old plants taking out and replaced with new seedlings. We are hoping to get a second crop this year, all depending if the weather plays along.
Pic6 First crop of pea ‘Lincoln’ with a companion planting of Tagetes tenuifolia
Pic7 Our garden students picking Mangetouts and peas for the Vegetable sale
Our pear trees along the south facing north wall on top of the garden are doing quite well , much better then the ones on the west facing wall. A bit of fruit and leaf thinning will encourage the other fruits to develop and ripen even better.
Pic8 Pear ‘Margueritte de Marillant’, a dessert variety first introduced in France 1872
The flower garden is also at its heights at the moment. Replacement seedlings just got potted on and will be planted bit by bit to fill into the gaps created by faded plants. Full displays were one of the main Victorian Garden secrets and we are still trying to achieve this despite a few obstacles like heavy rain, droughts or upside down seasons. Below are a few images of the actual flower display in the formal garden.
Pic9 The Parterre beds with Diamond Hill in the back ground
Pic10 Close up of Parterre bed with raised sharp lawn edge which was very typical for Victorian Gardens; Head Gardener House in the back ground
Pic11 Display on the South Slope with typical dot plants like Agaves, Cordylines or Cannas
The two Kune Kune pigs are enjoying their summer, too and are carefully watched by Jenny, our garden cat. I wonder what went through Jenny’s mind when I saw her spying on Gloria Summer, our pig lady, few days ago.
Pic12 Gloria Summer & Jenny
Pic13 Bee taking off from the herbaceous perennial plant Inula hookeri
I will finish this month garden blog with these animal impressions.
Plenty of work will keep us busy for the coming few month. With more from the Walled Garden of Kylemore in August.
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in July:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Take cuttings of non-flowering shoots of Santolina, Dianthus, Pelargonium, Hydrangea or Fuchsia
~ Sow more Green Manures to cover plots
~ Pot on the last of this year’s summer bedding as backup plants
~ Sow spring cabbages like ‘April’ or Curley Kales for over wintering
~ Plant out potted plants into borders and water well in
~ Replace summer bedding if necessary
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuces and spring onion
~ Soft fruits like Gooseberries or Red Currants
~ Courgettes, Marrows
~ Mangetouts, Peas, Broad beans
~ First Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Herbs for drying or for fresh herbal teas like Sage or Mint
To maintain & prune & feed:
~Feed annuals in pots or planters on a regular base
~ Cut down Comfrey and use as mulch and feed
~ Regularly dead heading of bedding plants like Calendula and herbaceous plants for continues flower display
~ Check vegetables and flowers for pest and diseases e.g. cabbage root fly, caterpillars, green flies, blight
~ Prune shrubs like Weigelia after flowering
~ Feed lawns and Box hedges