The summer is landed; landed with the full force here in the Victorian Walled Garden of Kylemore Abbey. The temperatures are creeping up to 30 degrees in the shade and it is close to 40 degrees in the glasshouses. The essential watering is done on a automatic system from 4 am onward. By the time the garden opens to the public at 9 am nearly every corner got enough water to last the day. Saying this, all plants in trays, pots and the glasshouses need hourly watering and regular damping down! We are quite lucky here since we get out water from a deep lake on top of the mountain behind the garden.
Pic1 It is hot!
The heat in combination with the regular watering lets the plants thrive. The plots in the Vegetable Garden are covered nicely and the first Mangetouts, Courgettes and lovely sweet Strawberries are ready for harvesting.
The potatoes had a slow start this season and the first early spuds are still two to three weeks away from harvesting.
Pic2 Brassica Plot with Cabbage ‘Red Drumhead’ in the front
Pic3 The first early potato plot with ‘Sharps Express’, Diamond Hill in the background
Our broad beans are very late this year, too. We normally harvest them before the Mangetouts. That will show you once again how unpredictable seasons can be.
Pic4 Broadbeans and Lettuce ‘Continuety’, Tagetes as companion planting
The heat in the Vinery is nearly unbearable without sufficient ventilation and moisture. But the effect on the plants is immense in these tropical conditions. It looks like a mini jungle at the moment and the grapes are well on their way.
Pic5 A lush jungle in the Vinery
Pic6 Passiflora caerulea, Passion flower in the Vinery
The herbaceous border is lovely at the moment. Shades of yellows, whites, blues and reds are the main colours. The flowers of Hosta sieboldiana is particularly nice and a show stop. The whitish blossom goes well with the blue-grey foliage. The dry spell keeps luckily the slugs away, too. The leaves of Hostas would be one of their favorites.
Pic7 Hosta sieboldiana
Pic8 Digitalis ambigua – the Yellow Foxglove
It must be one of the best years for roses. Talking to other gardeners confirmed our experience. The size of the rose blossoms and the abundance seems to be twice as big as in a ‘normal’ year. Few of our old garden roses from Victorian times struggled in previous years but have a healthy growth this season.
Pic9 Rose ‘Irene Watts’, a double China rose dating back to 1896
Pic10 Rose ‘Boule de Neige’, a strongly scented Bourbon rose from 1867
The Rockery shows a splash of colour, too at the moment. Low growing perennials, bulbs and shrubs fill the graveled areas between the natural rocks.
Pic11 The Rockery in June
Strong colours of purples, oranges and blues together with different grey tones are dominating in the Parterre. Dot plants like Trachycarpus and Phoenix palms grow in the center of the beds. Our big Monkey Puzzle tree in the center of the parterre is nearly too big as a dot plant and will be transplanted into a new position coming autumn where it can grow into a proper tree.
Pic12 Parterre beds with Monkey Puzzle tree as centre piece
Lets hope this fantastic weather will last for another while, maybe with a bit of rain during the night times!
Enjoy your own garden or the gardens around you!
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in June:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Continues sowing of spring onions, lettuces, spinach, leaf beets
~ Re-sowing of summer bedding as replacement plants like Nasturtiums, Calendulas or Tagetes
~ Take softwood cuttings of shrubs like Fuchsia
~ Plant pumpkins, marrows and courgettes; put straw around plants
~ Plant potted plants into final positions, feed and water well
~ Plant out more lettuces, spring onion, spinach
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Early morning watering of new crops and bedding is essential in dry periods
~ Prune shrubs after finishing flowering (Deutzia, Weigelia…)
~ Summer feeding of lawns but only when watered in afterwards
~ Start to deadhead herbaceous plants and annuals regularly
~ Look out for caterpillars, green or black flyes and signs of blight