Garden Blog September 2022
Autumn is in full swing, and it's showing unfortunately not its best side today.
Heavy rain made gardening a bit more challenging in the last few days. Leaves, water puddles, and bits and pieces of our summer display are scattering the paths and lawns and a daily clean-up is necessary at the moment. Leaves are going straight onto one of our compost bays and will turn into a rich substrate within the coming few months. The borders and flower beds will then be top-dressed before the new growing season begins.
September was very pleasant on the other hand and prolonged the summer just a bit longer. Late flower displays like the ones in our Parterre for example gave a lot of colour in the later season. Blue Lobelias, white Lavateras, and the reds of Antirrhinums and Cannas created a very typical Victorian bedding layout.
Pic1 The Parterre beds infull bloom in September
Pic2 The Herbaceous Border with flowering Asters and Sedums at the moment
The last of the grapes, growing in our restored Vinery, got harvested last week. The yield was not as abundant as last year but still plentiful. ‘Black Hamburg’, Buckland Sweetwater’ and Grizzly Fontaine’ are the three heritage varieties we are growing here.
Pic3 Dark 'Black Hamburg' and Rose 'Grizzly Fontaine' Grapes
Pic4 Grapes 'Buckland Sweetwater' before picking end September
It’s this time of year when we put a lot of time and effort into seed saving. Keeping the old heritage varieties alive means picking ripe seeds, especially of annual bedding plants like Calendulas, Snapdragons, or Vegetables like Kales or even Tomatoes. This work is quite painstaking, and it is important to pick the right time for it. If the seeds are not ripe yet they will not germinate next year. So, every few days we are checking the plants for ripe seeds, a bit like birds do.
That’s only the first step. We still have to dry them, take them out of the husks, weigh and bag them and finally put them into our record cards.
Pic5 Harvested Seeds
Pic6 The seed heads of Petunia axillaris, a very old variety which was nearly extinct in the wild.
These seeds are tiny, visible as black dots.
Pic7 Tomato 'Pineapple', one of the heritage Tomato varieties we would save seeds from, also growing in our restored Vinery.
The sun is warming up the Vinery during the day and brings it up to around 23 degrees Celsius at the moment. Underground heating pipes will be turned on later when it's getting colder.
The fresh green of the Banana plant to the front right always gives a tropical feeling to the place. Bananas were grown in our Walled Garden in the 1870th and had their own glasshouse with its special heat requirement. Two sets of heating pipes warmed the air and the soil to imitate the natural growing requirements.
Pic8 The warm environment in the restored glasshouse allows tropical plants, such as Bananas to grow well.
Below is an extract of the Book of Sale from Kylemore from 1903 with a very detailed description of the original glasshouse range which consisted of 21 in total.
Last week, we held the last Vegetable sale for this year for our staff with products from the Walled Garden. Thanks again to everyone who contributed, the raised money will go to the Galway Hospice similar to recent years.
There are still a good few crop in the ground and even getting planted over winter. Special hardy varieties of Spinach, Lettuce, and Beetroot got planted last week. The marrows are also bringing a bit of colour to the plot, especially in combination with the edible Nasturtiums.
Pic9 Marrows and Nasturtiums
Pic10 A glimpse into the Vegetable Garden through one of the four entrance points
The next generation of Spring bedding plants are nearly ready for planting. Bellis and Wallflowers will be the first ones to be planted after clearing out the summer bedding in about two weeks' time.
Pic11 Bellis plants hardening off along the sheltered south-facing garden wall
That’s all the news from our restored Victorian Walled Garden for the moment. The coming few months will be busy for us, even though it’s the off-season. A gardener's work is never done!
Pic12 Jenny thought she would be invisible, snuggled into the potting bench in the warm glasshouse!
Your Head Gardener