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

Garden Diary January & February 2020

A very ‘wintery’ welcome back to our monthly garden diary from the Victorian Walled Garden here in Kylemore Abbey.

I thought I could start the first diary for 2020 with a spring theme but the current cold spell and stormy weather leads to a different one.

The first heads of Crocuses, Daffodil’s, Muscaris (Grape Hyacinths) and Bellis are peeping out and are well tested at the moment.

The drop in temperature will result in a slower start of the spring flowers but should not damage them, hopefully!

Saying this, winter garden images can be very attractive and have its own charm.  Morning frost put a white fairy-like coating over plants and lawns.


Pic1 It is cold!



Pic2 Snow is not often seen here in Kylemore Garden


Pic3 A frosty morning in our double Herbaceous Border



Pic4 Frosted Calabrese


The Snowdrops and Hellebores are flowering and standing strong in our Fernery; I think the creams and whites are working very well with the dark greens of ferns and brighten up areas, especially in dull winter months.

Pic5 Snowdrops


Pic6 Hellebore and ferns in our Fernery


Even an unusual leaf taxonomy, like the one of the Ivy leaved Cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium, will give great interest at this time of year.

Pic7 Ivy leaved Cyclamen


There are still few crops in the Vegetable plots from last year and are used up bit by bit. The new season is starting very soon and the first heritage varieties of Vegetables are already sown in trays in our glasshouse.

Pic7 A selction of winter crops – Turnip, Curley Kale, Cerlery and Parsley


Winter time is always a time for us to improve areas of special interest within the garden walls.

This year marks an extra special year here in Kylemore Abbey & Garden. We are celebrating the centenary of the arrival of the Benedictine Nuns to Kylemore Abbey in 1920 and also the 20th anniversary of the garden restauration and re-opening in 2000.

One of the projects is the updating of our existing exhibition tool shed with information about the garden restoration. We also started to give one of the rooms in the Head Gardeners House a make over. Sr. Benedict, who used to run the farm in Kylemore and was greatly involved in  the running of the garden before the restoration began, sadly passed away in 2018. One of the rooms is now showing her  original kitchen dresser and many small artifacts of her daily life.

Pic8 Sr. Benedicts kitchen dresser with a picture of her


We are currently also checking and re-labeling all the fruit trees, including the wall fruits within the garden. This is a very time consuming but important work in a garden like this.

Pic9 New labels for the fruit trees


These are all the news for now. We are very exited that Nation Wide is coming to us. I will write a bit more about it in the next garden blog.

Until then, good gardening and a little smile from Gloria, our Kune Kune Lady.

Pic10 Gloria!


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke


Things you can do in your garden end February & March

To Sow / Propagate:

~ First sowing of green manures into prepared  plots in the kitchen garden when soil warm enough beginning March
~ Sow first early potatoes like ‘Epicure’ or ‘Duke of York’ as soon as soil is warming up in mid March
~ Harden off Vegetable seedlings like Radishes and Lettuces
~ Start sowing summer bedding plants and prick out when big enough
~ Grafting apple trees

To plant:
~ Plant Broad beans and stake well
~ Plant onions, shallots, garlic
~ Plant bare- rooted trees until mid April (Much cheaper than potted trees!)
~ Divide and transplant perennials in borders
~ Divide & replant chives (also great in borders and good for black flies on roses)

To maintain & prune & feed:

~ Finish pruning apple and pear trees
~ Service all garden machinery before first use
~ Last chance to prune Gooseberries, could be trained like cordons or fans along wires
~ Feed all fruit trees and bushes with potash
~ Feed herbaceous borders with soil improver like chicken pellets and own rotted compost
~ Feed Spring Cabbages with Seaweed powder

~ Look after your compost; turn, feed, water