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

Garden Diary November 2017

Welcome back to a quite blustery November Garden Blog. September and October went by and our hopes for lovely autumn weather this year were unfortunately not fulfilled. Just looking out the window in my garden office this minute I can see and hear scrolls of wind and rain passing by; some of them can be quite frightening, especially when working in the glasshouse. We were very lucky that the recent Hurricane did not affect us as much as many other areas in Ireland. Saying this, we had and could have similar conditions any time from now on.

Our annual Halloween event went very well again this year. Despite  misty rain the event was well attended and everybody assembled at the end of the day for the procession to the Bon fire outside the garden walls. A bit of traditional Sea Nós dancing and few tunes on the Feadóg by local musicians Shona and Katie and a nice cup of hot chocolate made it very cosy around the blazing fire.


Pic1 Katie and Shona, our local Musicians and Sea Nós dancers


Pic2 The carved Turnip guarding the Bonfire


We also opened up a new natural wild play area just beside the Tea house outside the garden walls on this day. Nestled within the woodland this play area offers everything for  children’s fantasy play. They can build they own little stick shelters, find the many fairy doors placed around in this secret place or cook a lovely mud pie. Imaginary play is want we wanted to achieve and so far the visiting children have great fun.

Pic3 The entrance to our new Wild Play Zone in the woodland

Part of our very traditional and natural Halloween event would be teaching children methods like building shelters for insects or how to place and hang up bat boxes which we did this year. Four bat boxes went up in our woodland area inside the garden. All boxes were named by the children on the day so ‘Boxy Box’ or ‘Flappy Box’ are waiting for their new inhabitants at the moment. Saying this it can take up to three years before the bats will find these new homes. The boxes are attached to trees up four meters high.

Pic4 The first of four bat boxes  going up in the misty rain

Similar to last years event we had our Wise Woman back in the Bothy,  handing out charms, herbs and boiled potatoes as part of the ceremony to our small and big visitors.

Pic5 The wise woman during the ceremony


The garden work is still going strong these days. The last trimming of a few hedges like our Fuchsia magelanica which is framing the natural stream just took place. Tender hedges should not be cut back much later then the end of October.

Pic6 The natural stream  with the framing Fuchsia hedge

We are in the middle of the bulb planting in the Formal Flower Garden and sorting and counting each day the bulbs we need for the following days of planting. We are talking about a couple of thousand bulbs each year. It feels a bit like a treasure hunt and a few bulbs miraculously always disappear, either to mice or to the Bothy ghost. I would say the first possibility is more likely though! The bulbs are stored in the former garden Bothy until planting time in late autumn.


Pic7 Bulb storage in the former Bothy

When we get lovely weather around here it must be one of the nicest landscapes in Ireland and we are reminded once again why Connemara is so special. The walk along Maladrolaun lake which  leads to the Walled Garden is spectacular with the Diamond Hill in the background.

Pic8 Maladrolaun lake with view to the Diamond hill

The mushroom foraging time is slowly coming to its end. The edible ones are lovely but not as plentiful as the poison ones around here. Saying this they can look very attractive on dead tree stumps like below.

Pic9 Fungi on an old tree stump


This winter we are holding several winter work shops here in Kylemore. I am doing a Gardening Masterclass on four dates, the first one starting this Saturday. There are still spaces left and more information like dates and the online booking are on our webpage. The classes will go on for 2.5 hours and will cover winter pruning techniques, taking cuttings, general winter gardening jobs and spring preparations. The costs of €30.00 will include the entrance fee and a coffee break with fresh homemade scones in our tea house.


Now, that’s all for this month. It would be nice to meet and speak to few of my blog readers at the garden work shop.

If you come bring the sun!


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke


Things you can do in your garden in November:

To Sow / Propagate:

~Try to sow more spring onion, will succeed in mild weather

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

To plant:

~ Plant out herbaceous plants left sitting in pots

~ 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 idealy
~ 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