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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

June Garden Blog 2021

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Welcome back our early summer Garden Blog from the Victorian Walled Garden here in Kylemore Abbey & Garden.

After eight long months of Kylemore Abbey & Gardens being closed to the public we re-opened our doors on the 4th of June once again.


Things in the garden are busy as usual and keep our team of gardeners busy in every corner.


Pic1 Formal Flower Garden June 2021; Allium karatavienseand Gladiolus byzantinus in full bloom

The late spring and ups and downs in recent temperatures resulted to a delayed summer display. The first of the summer bedding like Calendulas, Tagetes and Lobelias are only starting to open up their flower buds. The positive side effect is that the display should last longer, well into the later season, all depending on how our weather is performing.

Pic2 View to the former Head Gardeners House which is now a museum; Aquilegias and Mimulus in full bloom


Early summer flowering perennials and bulbs like Gladiolus, Nectaroscordum, Aquilegias and Mimulus are great to bridge the gap between spring and summer displays. 

Pic3 Nectaroscordum siculum, the Sicilian honey garlic, has very attractive flower heads and are a show stopper

Our Rhododendren are nearly finished with their annual display. They had a very good show this year. These varieties are all old Heritage Rhododendren, dating back to the 19th century. Most importantly, they are not invasive like the Common Rhododendron, Rhododendron ponticum.


Both varieties which are shown below are crossbreeds between Rhododendron catawbiense and Rhododendron ponticum.

I am planning to pick ripe seed heads of the Heritage varieties and propagate more plants from these seeds.

Pic4 The heritage Rhododendron ‘Fastuosum FlorePlena', first bred in Belgium in 1846


Pic5 Rhododendron 'Madame Masson', dating back to 1849


I was delighted to see that our outside peach tree, which is trained against the south facing brick wall, has finally set few fruits. Our climate here in the west of Ireland, near the Atlantic Ocean is not in favour of growing peaches outside. Back in its hay days here in the Victorian Walled Garden, they would have grown huge numbers of peaches in a special glasshouse, where the heat and water requirements were exactly monitored. We found an original note from 1913, the time the Duke of Manchester owned Kylemore, saying that peaches from our garden were exported to a Dublin market. The peaches were wrapped in cotton wool in special crates to make sure they are not getting damaged during the journey.

That is quite fascinating if you think about the remoteness of Kylemore over 100 years ago.


Pic6 Peach ‘Amsden June’, another Heritage variety


The Herbaceous Border is getting closer to its peak season, too. Shades of blues, greys, pinks and yellows are dominating the border at the moment.

We are still planting few more annuals, biennials and filler plants. The border, which is one of the longest double borders in Ireland, is not stagnant. Plant positions and varieties change to a small extent every year. Invasive varieties like the Yellow Loosestrife for example, need an annual chopping job done, or otherwise the whole border would be over run by these persistent plants.

A copy of the plant selection from one side of the border is available for downloading on our Webpage.

Pic7 Stachys and Centaurea line the 80m long border close to the path.


The Vegetable Garden is getting ready for first crop harvests like spring onions, lettuces and radishes.

We must have around 20 different heritage lettuce varieties in the beds at the moment.


Radicchios, Endives and Scorzoneras will be next for planting out. We just tied the shoots of the peas and beans onto the frames, strong winds can break them easily.

Pic8 The Root Plot with Onions, Shallots, Garlic and freshly sown Carrots in between


We are delighted to offer new walks on the Kylemore estate from this season. The newly developed ‘Flora, Fauna & Folklore Trail’ leads around the Walled Garden in a one kilometer long loop. It is re-tracing the original Currywongan road, which was formerly the main road and led right through the estate. When the garden was built in 1867, it was decided to re-position this road further south to where it is now and to create the Victorian Walled Garden on top of it in order to use the many advantages this site had to offer. The Currywongan road led all the way to the former Kylemore Castle which was later used as a boarding school by the Benedictine nuns. We have references how local schoolgirls walked along this road, either right through the garden or along the mountain site through the sick forest, everyday back in the 1930th to get to the school which was also a day school for local girls. Many local families are deeply connected to Kylemore and generations of men and women were and still are employed here.


Pic9 One of our new trails and information panels

I will be back with more news form the Victorian Walled Garden here in Kylemore Abbey in July, until then Happy Gardening everybody.


Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke