In line with public health advice, Kylemore Abbey is currently closed.

Garden Blog September 2019

Welcome back to our September edition of the garden blog for Kylemore Abbey.

There is nearly no way around then to start with the most important topic here in Ireland, the weather! We must have had four (or even five…) different seasons within the last two weeks. Temperatures reached up to 26 degrees Celsius mid September. The scenery here in Connemara with the autumnal display surrounding us, is absolutely stunning these days. It is actually a challenge to dress appropriate for these weather changes. From too cold to too hot, and all this within a span of  two or three hours can be a bit irritating sometimes.

Pic1 Indian summer here in the Walled Garden in mid September


Pic2 View from the Head Gardeners House over the eastern part of the Flowergarden with the mountain range of the Twelfe pins  in the background


We experienced subtropical conditions in our Vinery, one of the two restored glasshouses. Good ventilation and early morning watering  is vital these days. Tree ferns and Bananas thrive in humidity and need to be sprayed off with water daily. The passion flower, growing on the back wall, will get a hard pruning when finished flowering. It even produced a couple of fruits this year.

Pic3 Lush greenery in our Vinery


Our succulents did quite well this year. Propagated from seeds in April, they grew amazingly well for the first season. Succulents like Echeverias or Aeoniums were used to create typical Carpet Bedding schemes in Victorian times. It could be quite tricky to re-create these schemes with our ever changing weather conditions. Most succulents like dry and warm conditions in sandy or gritty free draining soil.

Pic4 Different types of Aeoniums in our propagation glasshouse


Pic5 Aeonium arboreum, a perfect rosette of succulent leaves


Our little artificial rockery, planted up in an old wheelbarrow, also enjoyed the heat wave. You could nearly watch the plants growing and few even produced lovely flower heads.

Pic6 The Mini Rockery in our Vinery


We just harvested the last of the potatoes and also held the last Vegetable sale for this year.

One old potato variety, ‘Black Bog’, grew well this season and produced enough potatoes to sell few in the Vegetable Sale. It is a very old variety, originally grown in the midlands and suppose to be blight resistant. We always keep enough seed potatoes for the coming season.

Pic7 Heritage potato variety ‘Black Bog’


A fresh layer of Seaweed was just put around our spring cabbages. This natural fertilizer will also act as a mulch and will prevent the small plants from uprooting during strong winds or storms. You definitely get the hint of the Atlantic when passing by, it always reminds me of my summer holidays on the Baltic Sea when I was a child in Germany.

Pic8 A fresh layer of seaweed on the plot with the spring cabbages with a lovely view over to the Diamond Hill


The late sun in September is bringing out the autumn colour of many shrubs and trees. They can hold on to the leaves for a long time when planted in sheltered positions. One nice shrub with lovely autumn colour is Euonymus oxyphyllus, the Korean Spindle Tree. It s growing in a very sheltered spot in our shrub border along the south wall of the walled garden. The vibrant red of the leaves works to well with the small round fruits  which are also dark red.

Pic9 Autumn colour of the Korean Spindle Tree


The bees are making the most out of the last of the flowers like the second flush of Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’. There is still quite an activity within the insect world here in the garden. The close up of the bumble bee shows the delicate anatomy of the wings.

Pic10 Bumble Bee on a Clematis ‘Nelly Mopser’ flower


Staying in the animal world, our two wholly pigs are also enjoying the last heat of the sun during their afternoon nap. Gloria, to the front, was a bit smarter then Ken in the background and positioned herself actually in the sun!

Pic10 Gloria and Ken on napping time!


Please find the usual hints and tips for gardening in October. I will be back with more news coming month, until then good gardening to everybody!


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke



Garden jobs you can do in October:


To Sow or Propagate

~ Sow fresh seeds of perennials

~ Take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs

~ Pot on rooted cuttings of Hydrangeas or Fuchsias


To Plant

~ Hedges, Fruit trees and bushes

~ Annual spring bedding and spring bulbs


To Harvest

~ Everything what’s still out there!

(Nuts, Pears, Apples, Carrots, Parsnips, Leeks, Cabbages, Beetroot…)

~ Leave crops like Turnips or Leeks in ground for another while


To Maintain

~ Autumn feed lawns, scarify if necessary

~ Keep on top of fallen leaves, rake or leave-blow regularly

~ Power wash slippery surfaces

~ Clean Gutters, could be a big build up of leaves