We are CLOSED

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

Garden Diary July 2015

A very wet welcome back to our high season July edition from the Walled Garden in Kylemore Abbey.
Giving a talk about the resurrection of the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore last weekend at the Galway Garden Festival I realised that we are in our 15th year since reopening in 2000 after restoration work was finished. Time just seems to fly and you nearly forget to count the years; being constantly busy with seasonal work. I had to go through pictures from restoration times to prepare for this talk and the changes still amaze me since I was not there myself to witness it.
To give a better picture of the changes I have inserted two images below, one from the herbaceous border before completion and one from the formal flower garden just after restoration started in 1995. To compare the changes I have also added two recent pictures of the same areas.

Pic1 Herbaceous Border 1997
Pic1 Herbaceous Border 1997
Pic2 Formal Flower Garden 1996 with ruin of Vinery in the back
Pic2 Formal Flower Garden 1996 with ruin of Vinery in the back
Pic3 Herbaceous Border now
Pic3 Herbaceous Border now
Pic4 Formal Flower Garden last yer September with restored Vinery
Pic4 Formal Flower Garden last yer September with restored Vinery

We must be one of the wettest regions here in Ireland this year. Daily rainfalls of 15 to 30ml are common enough at the moment, today it will be around 40 ml I guess. Every bit of sunshine is welcomed with a big relieved smile, like something from the good old times!
So at the moment we need plan A’s and plan B’s for the gardeners. Dry spells are used to mow, edge and weed as fast as possible, the B’s are reserved for indoor jobs like potting, sowing backup summer bedding, repairing tools or cleaning and maintaining glasshouses.
The interior of the vinery iswiped down with an anti-fungal solution, which is very important especially in these damp conditions.

Pic5 The vinery
Pic5 The vinery

Despite the heavy rainfalls most summer bedding plants have started to flower by now. It will be a very late season which might come in handy in around September/October.

Pic6 The formal Flower Garden
Pic6 The formal Flower Garden
Pic7 The Parterre
Pic7 The Parterre

The side effects of this wet season are more visible on the vegetables. Our potatoes are very slow and not as good as in recent years. Also the cabbages are lacking the usual strong growth. We are just in the process of preparing our own liquid comfrey fertilizer which will help especially the greedy Brassicas to perform better. The peas are still small, first the Mangetouts and then the Broad beans are harvested.

Pic8 The Brassica plot
Pic8 The Brassica plot

The herbaceous border is also a bit behind but looks lovely at the moment. Strong shades of purple, yellow and pinks dominate the colour scheme.

Pic9 Herbaceous Border beginning July
Pic9 Herbaceous Border beginning July

But what’s the point to complain and mourn every day, there is nothing we can do about it, just trying to adapt. The question I ask myself recently is whether I would prefer the heat waves of 40 degrees and severe droughts like in England or on the continent. I know what I would choose!

Happy Gardening to everyone.

Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

 

Things you can do in your garden in July:

To Sow / Propagate:
~ Take cuttings of non-flowering shoots of Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Hydrangea
~ Pot on the last of this year’s summer bedding as backup plants
~ Start to sow spring bedding like Wallflowers and Bellis for next year’s spring display end of this month and beginning August
~ Sow spring cabbages like ‘April’ or Curley Kales for over wintering

To plant:
~ Replace summer bedding if necessary
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuces and spring onion
~ Sow Green manures into empty plots, for example in recently harvested potato plots
~ Plant squashes, pumpkins, marrows and courgettes & feed regularly

To harvest:
~ Soft fruits like Raspberries
~ Mangetouts, Peas, Broad beans
~ First Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Herbs for drying or for fresh herbal teas like Sage or Mint

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Cut down Comfrey and use as mulch and feed
~ Regularly dead heading of bedding plants like Calendula and herbaceous plants for continues flower display
~ Check vegetables and flowers for pest and diseases e.g. cabbage root fly, caterpillars, green flies, blight
~ Prune shrubs like Weigelia after flowering
~ Feed lawns and Buxus hedges