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

Garden Diary September 2017

The main season is coming to its end and today we held the last Vegetable sale for this year. The carrots had a good crop and the fleece cover prevented the dreaded carrot fly from doing its damage, so far! Also the last of the potatoes were dug yesterday. ‘Pink Fir Apple’, ‘Black Bog’, ‘Ratte’ and ‘White Champion’ were among the heritage varieties we took out. Potato ‘Pink Fir Apple’ performed as the best main crop for this season. It is a lovely waxy salad potato with a slight nutty taste, dating back to 1850. This particular variety is still easy to buy as seed potatoes, even though it is an old heritage variety.

Pic1 Carrot ‘Chantenay’


Pic2 Potato ‘Pink Fir Apple’


Pic3 Ulick cleaning ridges after digging spuds


Pic4 French Bean ‘Cosse Violett’ ready for harvesting


Our oldest apple tree ‘Golden Spire’, at least sixty year old,  is heavily laden with fruits this year. This tree was planted by the Benedictine Nuns during the time the garden started to grew wild in the 1950s. The Formal Flower Garden lost its former glory back then and apple trees were planted into the big lawn areas instead. The Vegetable Garden was continued as a productive garden in most parts to provide vegetables and fruits for the community.

Pic5 Apple ‘Golden Spire’


Each year I try to source new varieties of heritage vegetables, dating back to the 19th century. Tomato ‘Pineapple’ would be one of these varieties, originally introduced around 1894 in France. The huge fruits can weigh up to 1kg and have a lovely rich, sweet and fruity flavour with a hint of pineapple in it.

Pic6 Tomato ‘Pineapple’


Our peach tree ‘Amsden June’, which is in its second growing season  in our Vinery put on a massive growth this year. The tree is trained fan shaped along the back wall where it has enough space to grow. The summer pruning and training along bamboo canes is essential to keep the shape of the tree as desired. Hopefully we will be able to harvest our first crop next year.

Pic7 Peach tree ‘Amsden June’


Our indoor grapes also did quite well this year and we were able to harvest a good few bunches of  the dark ‘Black Hamburgh’ and the green ‘Buckland Sweetwater’ varieties.

Pic8 Indoor grape vines


Our annual student scheme is coming slowly to its end for this year. We had a great bunch of mainly French students but also German, Polish and Irish and they had and still have an important impact on our daily garden routine. Noelie and Lucie, both Agricultural students from France, were doing an experiment in our propagation glasshouse recently. They propagated cuttings of different shrubs and perennials like Fuchsia, Hydrangea or Persicaria under different growing conditions. The outcome will be also very interesting for us and if viable will be adopted.

Pic9  Noelie and Lucie during their propagation experiment


There is still a good show of colour in our Formal Flower Garden, even so, last nights storm tested it.  The spring bedding seedlings are getting potted on at the moment and will replace the summer bedding in roughly a months time. We also started to cut down herbaceous perennials which flowered earlier in the season.

Pic10 A colourful array in the Parterre


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke



Garden tips for your own garden for September:

To sow/propagate:

~ Last chance to sow green manure

~ Continue potting on spring bedding plants like Wallflowers

~ Propagate shrubs from semi ripe cuttings

~ Collect ripe seeds of various annuals and perennials, dry them properly before bagging


To plant:

~ Lettuces, Spring Onions or Spring Cabbages can still be planted out

~ Sow lawns after scarifying


To harvest:

~ Apples, Pears, Nuts, Blackberries

~ Carrots, Cabbages, Kales, Lettuces, Beetroots, Spring Onions

~ Runner Beans, French Beans, Dwarf Beans

~ Herbs; also for drying



To maintain & prune & feed:

~ Blow leaves of lawns regularly

~ Pick up fallen fruits, they will only attract rodents

~ Moss treat and scarify lawns

~ Prune summer fruiting Raspberries, Gooseberries and Currants