Welcome to our last garden blog for 2015.
We celebrated a very special occasion in the garden on the last day of November; the 15th anniversary since reopening the garden to the public. The planting of a Cornus controversa commonly known as the Wedding Cake tree opened the event and marked this special day. The very decorative shrub was planted by Frank, one of our long term gardeners who also finished his career within Kylemore garden the same day. Frank was for nearly twenty years an important member of staff in the gardens and will be missed a lot. We wish him all the best.
We also unveiled a new sign at our glasshouse complex to give more information about the original layout of the twenty-one glasshouses. More will hopefully follow within the next year. It is always a bit of a challenge for our visitors to picture the former arrangement of all these glasshouses so the signs will hopefully add to the visitor experience.
Following a brief guided tour through the garden , we enjoyed a reception in our Teahouse were Sr. Magdalena and Sr. Benedict were presented a special commemoration plat, made by our potter Mary in our pottery on site with the famous Fuchsia design. Sr. Magdalena and Sr. Benedict were the main driving forces behind the restoration of the Walled Garden twenty years ago, when restoration started. The garden staff were also given a framed black and white picture of the garden, taken from an angle which looked very similar to one of the original pictures from around 1880. UTV Ireland did some filming on the day and broadcast the same night.
I have to thank Eithne again for organising the event so well. We are all proud that the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore Abbey counts now as one of the top Gardens in Ireland.
I shave seen many changes within the last ten years. The changes of weather meant looking for new Heritage varieties dating back to pre-1901 times. Also many original trees fell in recent years and replacements are planted every winter as part of the National Tree planting week. The Vegetable Garden has also seen a few changes. Since we are not getting any government funding, grants or employment schemes like FAS anymore, we had to scale down the size of the vegetable plots to keep on top of the garden and make it more manageable for us. We are still growing all Heritage varieties of crops on a four year rotation system but not on a grand scale like in Victorian times. I was just in contact with a garden group in County Offaly which contacted me about Heritage varieties of Potatoes. So we were happy to exchange two very old ones, ‘Shamrock’ and ‘May Queen’.