Behind the Castle Walls with Adam, Head Gardener Blarney Castle

A Full on February Busy, busy, busy! This is the time of year when everything starts to move. Spring finally seems to be here and the increasing numbers of flowers throughout the gardens are testimony to that. It’s really a great to be out and about as there is something new to see every day. The daffodil avenue is a sea of yellow at the moment. We have lots of projects to finish and a long list of jobs to do before the new tourist season is upon us.   I am however, thankful for the more settled weather that we have had this winter. This time last year we were cleaning up after the succession of storms that had battered the country. We will be doing a lot of planting in the next few weeks including trees and shrub beds in our new car park extension, a new beech hedge and grass beds in the lower rock close. We are also building a new willow tunnel opposite our existing one. This will lead onto the new boardwalk area. Willow tunnels and other structures are great fun and easy projects. You only need some fresh willow rods and a damp site and a bit of patience! They will readily root and grow and you just keep weaving in the new growth to create your structure. We are continuing with our tidying and mulching jobs around the borders and getting everything ship shape for the coming season. A couple of trees came down in the woods and have provided a lot of fresh chippings for the paths in the fern garden and woodland areas. All of the azalea and rhododendron beds are a priority at the moment as they will be the focus for visitors in the coming months. Jobs for the next few weeks include, pruning your bush roses and feeding, general tidying up and re-edging of beds, moving and dividing herbaceous plants, plant potatoes as the soil dries out, sow seeds of bedding plants, tomatoes and peppers and plant out onions, garlic and shallots if not already done. Pollinate peach, nectarine and apricot trees with a small paint brush. Ours are just coming into flower now.  Pruning of apples and pears should be finished now. We are starting off our begonia tubers in the poly tunnel. They provide a mass of summer colour to our tubs and baskets around the entrance, and are remarked on every year. There are many seedlings in the glass house now and at this time of year it’s one of my favourite areas. I always get huge satisfaction from watching the seedlings emerging, especially if it’s something rare or unusual. I’m quickly becoming a bit of an obsessive collector of rare trees, and there’s nothing more satisfying than having grown it yourself from seed. The problem is finding space in the gardens for them all! Operation Transformation came to Blarney Castle during February, and over 3000 people converged on the estate. It was a great success and we received many positive comments about the gardens which is always great to hear. Hopefully some of these people will return for a proper look around. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam