We are CLOSED

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

Garden diary for June 2015

Welcome back to our June edition of the garden blog of the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore.
This year must be a bumper year for birds. In all my years here in Kylemore (nearly 13!) I never saw and heard so many birds in our garden. They are very busy looking for worms and other tasty creatures to feed their chicks and every dug over bed is a welcome opportunity to get a handy food supply. I just walked through the garden to take pictures for this blog and a song thrush was sitting on top of the tallest tree in the garden and singing a lovely song to the rest of Kylemore. These little birds also play a big part in keeping down our nearly endless supply of midges and other bugs.
The very unsettled and cold weather is a bit of a challenge for us at the moment. Nearly all beds are planted up with summer bedding by now, what’s missing is a bit of sun and heat which is expected within the next few days (fingers crossed!).

Pic1 Taking out spring bedding
Pic1 Taking out spring bedding

The top dressing with our own rotted compost and an extra feed of chicken manure really helped our herbaceous border to bring on the growth. I try to incorporate new, old varieties into the border each year, for example Verbascum bombyciferum, the Giant Silver Mullein. This biannual plant gives great structure to a border due to its height and the silvery wooly looking leaves are a great contrast to your normal shades of green. I saw children touching the leaves to see if it is alive!

Pic2 Giant Silver Mullein
Pic2 Giant Silver Mullein

Also the blossom of the oriental poppies are fully open now, lets hope the next storm is far away so the petals are not blown away.

Pic3 Oriental Poppy
Pic3 Oriental Poppy

Our climbing plants like Wisteria, Clematis and Jasmin are also starting to cover pillars and walls. The very early flowering Clematis‚ Nelly Moser‘ with its huge light purple flower heads is giving a nice colour splash to the Parterre at the moment.

Pic4 Clematis‚ Nelly Moser‘
Pic4 Clematis‚ Nelly Moser‘
Pic5 Still closed flowers of Wisteria sinensis
Pic5 Still closed flowers of Wisteria sinensis

Our spuds were mounded up twice by now, they are still a bit behind last years growth. As soon as we get the first blight warning we have to spray them. Our heritage varieties would not be resistant like many newer varieties.

Pic6 Potatoes starting to cover ground
Pic6 Potatoes starting to cover ground

The french and runner beans, planted two weeks ago, are starting to get a grip on the bamboo supports. It is very time consuming to put these up every year so we are looking for a more permanent structure which is easy to move around the following year.

Pic7 Runner & French beans
Pic7 Runner & French beans

The best time for our Rockery is early summer; most plants flower around now. A mix of groundcover plants like Erigeron and taller shrubs like Rock roses flower in different shades of purple. Evergreen solitaers like Phormium or Conifers are also providing structure to this natural Rock Garden.

Pic8 The Rockery
Pic8 The Rockery

Each year we are trying to improve areas of the garden, especially from the visitors point of view. Just today we finished putting new signs on the ruins of the original glasshouse bases so the visitors are able to identify and picture the former main focal point of the garden themselves, the  21 glasshouses.

Pic9 New sign for the former Palm Glass House
Pic9 New sign for the former Palm Glass House

Beginning June we started our free guided tours of the garden again. Everybody is welcome to walk the garden with a trained guide to get the main facts of the Walled Garden and it’s unusual history. The meeting point is just outside the Tea house at 12 pm each day.

Pic10 Sign for the free guided tour of the garden
Pic10 Sign for the free guided tour of the garden

Happy Gardening to everybody.

Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

 

Things you can do in your garden in June:
To Sow / Propagate:

~ Continue sowing and planting lettuce for succession planting (every 10 days)
~ Thin out carrots and parsnips, protect against carrot fly
~ Take softwood cuttings of shrubs
To plant:
~ Plant out pumpkins, marrows and French / Runner beans
~ Plant more radishes and Spring onion

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Morning watering of new crops and bedding is essential in dry periods
~ Feed annual bedding plants and baskets
~ Start to deadhead herbaceous plants regularly
~ Summer feed lawns
~ Look out for caterpillars, green or black flyes and signs of blight