We are CLOSED

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

Garden Diary for May 2015

A few days ago I gave a talk to the Clifden Garden Club about our Walled Garden in Kylemore. It was very satisfying to see a good turn out and to get a very positive feedback from the club which I am not a member of myself at the moment. I would say nearly all members visited Kylemore Gardens at this stage and it’s interesting to see that people always find new undiscovered details within the walls of the six acre garden. It is also good to talk to other gardeners about horticultural problems like the threatening box blight.

Pic1 Birds eye view of the Walled Garden of Kylemore
Pic1 Birds eye view of the Walled Garden of Kylemore

The spring display is slowly coming to an end and we started to deadhead  the Tulips, Bellis and Daffodils. That will prevent the development of seed heads which will only take the energy away from the plant or bulb itself. It will also encourage bedding plants like Bellis or Wallflowers to prolong their flowering time.

Pic2 Deadheading Bellis
Pic2 Deadheading Bellis
Pic3 The last of the spring display in our Parterre
Pic3 The last of the spring display in our Parterre

Most of our summer bedding is ready for planting into the formal flower beds; therefore we started to take out  the spring flowers and to plant Calendulas or annual Chrysanthemums in individual planting schemes. When left too long in trays they can get a set back or the flowers can peak too early which means the total flower display will be shortened for the summer. It is always a bit of a challenge to time this right. We depend a great deal on the weather.

Pic4 Taking out spring bedding to make room for summer bedding
Pic4 Taking out spring bedding to make room for summer bedding

Our tree surgeon on site is tackling the deadwood in the old trees at the moment, a lot of timber has to be taken out. This will reduce the risk of fallen branches and also distress to the tree itself by reducing its crown.

Pic5 Taking out dead wood on old Cypressus Macrocarpa trees
Pic5 Taking out dead wood on old Cypressus Macrocarpa trees

The work in our herbaceous border is nearly finished; dividing, replanting, top dressing and feeding are the main jobs which need to be done annually. The updating of the herbaceous border leaflet is always the final thing for me to do.

Pic6 New willow support in our herbaceous border
Pic6 New willow support in our herbaceous border

The crops in the vegetable garden are slowly starting to cover a bit more ground. The growth is very slow this year due to the cold weather. Occasional hail showers  did not help either.

Pic7 Broad beans
Pic7 Broad beans

The blossom on the fruit trees is just amazing this year. Cherries, Pears, Apples and Plums were and still are covered in pink and white flowers, much to the delight of butterflies and friends. Let’s hope that it is a good sign for the coming fruit development. Late frosts and storms can go against it, as we all know.

Pic8 Old apple tree ‘Golden Spire’ covered in blossom
Pic8 Old apple tree ‘Golden Spire’ covered in blossom
Pic9 A pair of Peacock Butterflies on pear tree flowers
Pic9 A pair of Peacock Butterflies on pear tree flowers
Pic 10 Crab apples in full swing
Pic 10 Crab apples in full swing

The season is getting busy so let’s hope that the west of Ireland is getting its good share of sunshine.
Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

Things you can do in your garden in May:

To Sow / Propagate:
~ Harden off later vegetable seedlings like pumkins, marrows and beetroot
~ Sow French and Runner beans
~ Sow Carrots and Parsnips
~ Take softwood and non-flowering cuttings of Fuchsia and Pelargonium
~ Take softwood cuttings of shrubs

To plant:
~ Start to plant out summer bedding in final position and protect against slugs
~ Transfer leeks outside into final position
~ Plant Tagetes and Calendula as companion plants between your crops to attract beneficial insects

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Trim formal hedges of Buxus, Fuchsia or Escallonia and feed them
~ Dead head flowers of spring bulbs like Tulips for strong flower displays next year
~ Watering of new crops and bedding is essential in dry periods
~ Put up supports on taller perennials, broad beans and sweet peas
~ Prune spring flowering shrubs like Weigelia or Forsythia after finishing flowering
~ Aerate and sand lawns if not done earlier