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

Garden Diary June 2016

Welcome back to our June edition of the garden blog of the Victorian Walled Garden in Kylemore.

What  fantastic weather we have had here in the west of Ireland in the last three weeks. The heat and overnight irrigation let all plants including the vegetables jump and double in size. The heat also encouraged the first blossoms of our summer bedding to open up. It feels like we are right in the middle of the summer season already. I  have to admit that the rain during the last two days was quite welcome….something only gardeners and farmers will understand !

Pic1 Shamrock beds

Pic1 Shamrock beds with a mixture of summer and late spring flowering plants


Pic2 Snake beds

Pic2 Snake beds with early summer colour of Tropaeolum ‘Empress of India’


Pic3 South Slope

Pic3 View from south slope over to the former glasshouse complex

There are also nice early summer flowering shrubs in bloom at the moment. Weigelia, Philadelphus, Deutzia or Cotoneaster are a few of the  shrubs you could consider if you are looking for colour in your border at this time of year.

Pic4 Philadelphus coronarius

Pic4 Philadelphus coronaries


Pic5 Weigela coraeensis korean weigela

Pic5 Weigelia coaeensis


Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’, positioned on the polls at the parterre, has huge flower heads this year but the blossom is not as intense as in other years and seems more white then pink. It might be due to the hot spell during the last weeks. I find it very interesting to see how the plants behaviour is adapting to different climates.

Pic6Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

Pic6 Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’

This behaviour is also very noticeable in the Vegetable garden this season. As mentioned in the May edition already the Brassica plot is just exploding and for once our newly planted Courgettes and Marrows don’t look too battered from heavy rain falls and cold conditions. The Mangetouts, Peas and Broad beans have plenty of flowers and will soon produce the first crop. Also our first early potatoes like ‘Champion’ are well on the way and promise a good yield. The first harvest of different Lettuce varieties was used in our restaurant for salads.

Pic7 Mangetouts and Marrows

Pic7 Mangetouts & Peas


Pic8 'Monster' Cabbages

Pic8 ‘Monster’ Cabbages


Pic9 Potato 'Champion'

Pic9 Potato ‘Champion’

There are not many empty spaces left in our Herbaceous Border; a few annuals like Tropaeolum or biennials like Verbascum, Digitalis or Althea still need to be planted. The climbing roses in the border are flowering quite early this season so early deadheading will be important.

Pic10 HB Dianthus and Geranium

Pic10 HB Dianthus and Geranium


Pic11 Rose 'Blue Magenta'

Pic11 Rose ‘Bleu Magenta’


Pic12 Iris before opening up

Pic12 Iris flower before opening up

It is one of our busiest times of the year; so much is happening in every corner of the garden and I have to admit that it is a challenge to stay on top of it. There is no long term planning possible at the moment since the weather and priorities change daily, even hourly! High visitor numbers are greatly welcomed but also create few challenges in itself. Noisy machinery work like hedge trimming needs to be done in the mornings which restricts us a bit in finishing jobs on the same day.

Let’s hope the recent summer conditions return soon and we are able to keep working on our gardeners ‘tan’.

Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke


Things you can do in your garden in June:

To Sow / Propagate:

~ Thin out carrots and parsnips, put net up against carrot fly

~ Sow more lettuce, radishes, spinach, green manure

~ Take softwood cuttings of shrubs like Fuchsia


To plant:

~ Plant out pumpkins, marrows and courgettes

~ Plant more lettuces, spring onion

~Plant last of Herbaceous annuals and biannuals


To maintain & prune & feed:

~ Summer feed lawns

~ Thin out vines / grapes and feed

~ Morning watering of new crops and bedding is essential in dry periods

~ Feed annual bedding plants and baskets

~ Start to deadhead herbaceous plants regularly

~ Look out for caterpillars, green or black flyes and signs of blight