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

Garden Diary for November 2016

Welcome back to our second last edition of the garden blog for the Victorian Walled Garden of Kylemore Abbey for this year.

Our recent Halloween event within the garden walls went very well; the amazing weather on this day played a huge role. The theme for this year was a Traditional Village Halloween like many hundred years ago. We had some outside activities like carving Turnip lanterns with Old Jack, a sing song and brush dancing in front of the old tool shed or fortune telling using saucers with wise Ann outside the Vinery . The traditional ‘Colcannon’ dish, made with spuds and Curley kale and homemade Brack were served by Molly in our Head Gardeners House.

20161030_122943Pic1 ‘Old Jack’ is carving lanterns out of Turnips


20161030_133910Pic2 The ‘Old Cailleach’ or wise woman is protecting brave Erin from evil spirits like traditionally done many hundred years ago.


I also built an insect hotel in our woodland with the visiting children and all names of the participants are written on a board on top of the hotel . It was great fun to see so many kids of all ages eager to play their little part in designing a cosy winter home for bugs and co. .

20161030_142634Pic3 The Insect Hotel is finished!


A Bonfire outside the garden walls finished this special event and the fairy tree with all charms, tied on earlier by the children, was burned to let all wishes come true. This Bonfire was originally a symbol to welcome the new Celtic Year!

20161030_160613Pic4 The Bonfire is finishing the Halloween event


The dry autumn weather made it possible to plant all spring bedding and bulbs in record time; it made this annual process very enjoyable and an easy task this year. I remember well that we had to plant in full rain gear during hurricane like weather conditions last autumn!

20161018_095528Pic5 Tilling the beds after topdressing with our own compost


20161018_121031Pic6 Planting out Myosotis (Forget-me-nots)


There are still plenty of crops in the vegetable garden. Empty plots will be covered soon either with Seaweed or plastic to prevent washing out of the soil during the winter months. We are still amazed at the size of our Cabbages this year and will leave them in as long as possible. Also our Carrots are still lovely and are getting harvested bit by bit.

20161026_144509Pic7 The Head Gardener beside our huge Cabbages ( I am 172cm tall!)

  A few flowers are still hanging on and refusing to accept the end of the season for example this lovely Althea nigra which we tried for the first time this year.

20161026_144147Pic8 Althea nigra still in full bloom


Finally there is no end of the leaves falling in sight giving lots of special work to our gardeners and maintenance crew! Saying so they really gave a special autumn feeling this year. We blow them off paths and lawns but leave them in our woodland and the fernery to root down.


Pic9 Leaves on a seat in our fernery


Now, that’s all for this month and I hope we will experience another few nice  weeks heading up to Christmas. Below are a few gardening tips for this month as usual.


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke


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

~ Take cuttings of soft fruits like Currants or  Raspberries
~ Propagate rhubarb by division and replant immediately

To plant:

~ Plant bare-rooted roses immediately after receiving order, water in well
~ Order and plant bare-rooted trees, shrubs and hedges; until the end of February
To harvest:
~ Any vegetables left in ground like spinach, leaf beet, carrots, parsnips, cabbages
~ Curley Kale after first frost
~ Last of apples and pears, check storage for rotten ones on a regular base

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Tidy lawns of leaves to avoid rotting
~ Power wash surfaces to prevent slippery surfaces
~ Feed spring cabbages with own liquid comfrey