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

Garden Diary July 2017

Welcome back to this month’s Garden Diary from behind the walls of the Victorian Walled Garden of Kylemore Abbey.

Our annual student scheme, consisting of five French and German students has once again proven very successful . A weekly plant identification is part of the placement and Rob, our Supervisors enjoys the interaction when teaching the students.

Pic1 Plant ID in the formal flower garden


We had the Midland Heritage Potato Group in our garden yesterday and it was a pleasure to show them the entire garden but more importantly the heritage varieties of potatoes we grow. We had a potato seed exchange at the end of last year and the group was very interested to see how their seeds, for example ‘May Queen’ had grown out here in Connemara.  Swapping  information such as growing conditions, building up ridges or dealing with pests and diseases was another very positive outcome of this tour.

Pic2 The ‘Midland Heritage Potato Group’, July 2017


This year seems to be a very good Berry year. We grow all different types of soft fruits; one of them is Red Currant ‘Laxtons Nb.1’, an old Heritage variety dating back before 1900. The Red- and White Currants are easy growing plants and do well in our climate. We are lucky that birds don’t go for them around here; a misfortune a lot of gardeners have to deal with.

Pic3 Red Currants en mass


Pic4 Heavy crop of Gooseberries ‘Careless’

We started our ever so popular Vegetable Sale again and the most asked for crop was, as usual,  the potato. The first varieties we took out were ‘Duke of York’ and ‘Epicure’. The demand was so high that we had to pre-pack and ration the amount we had, one bag per person. We were sold out after ten minutes!

Pic5 Declan and Ulick are digging first early potatoes


Pic6 Ready for sale


Pic7 Weekly vegetable sale for our Kylemore Staff


The Flower Garden is nearly at it’s height and regular dead heading is essential at the moment to prolong the flowering season. We experienced a bit of a heat wave over the last two days. Even though we are ventilating and damping down as much as possible we still reached a temperature of 41° C. All glasshouse work was done early morning to prevent heat strokes and the shaded Fernery was on the top of the work wish list for a change!

Pic8 Formal bedding scheme with Tagetes tenuifolia and Tropaeolum ‘Empress of India’ in front of our Vinery


Pic9 The colourful Parterre at the former glasshouse complex with the Head Gardener House in background


I love the early hours during the summer month. The hazy sunshine is dipping the mountain range in a blurry light and makes the whole scene even more mystical. The picture below is actually highlighting how many trees were planted  by Mitchel Henry on the whole estate over 130 years ago, about 300 000 trees within 10 years.

Pic10 View over the Herb Garden and Vegetable Garden


That’s all the news and updates from the Walled Garden in Kylemore Abbey for the moment. Enjoy the fruits of your hard labour, it’s worth it!

Please find below the usual monthly gardening tips.

Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke


Things you can do in your garden in July:

To Sow / Propagate:

~ Sow more Green Manures to cover plots
~ 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  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
~ Plant squashes, pumpkins, marrows and courgettes & feed regularly

To harvest:
~ Soft fruits like Gooseberries or Red Currants
~ 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 Box hedges