Behind the Castle Walls with Adam, Head Gardener Blarney Castle

It’s all go in October October has been a very productive month here in the gardens. We are definitely well into autumn now and the trees throughout the grounds are providing a wonderful show, with bright gold, vivid reds, buttery yellows and endless shades of orange and brown. There’s a photo opportunity around every corner. This has to be one of my favourite months! We have been very busy over the last few weeks with our bulb planting. This year we planted a lot of woodland bulbs in our wilder areas including bluebells and anemones. I look forward to seeing them all in the spring. We have also just finished putting out our winter bedding and baskets which provide a welcome splash of colour in the duller months. Our volunteers are doing great work throughout the estate and have recently been helping us with the bulb planting. We would welcome any ‘new recruits’, and we meet at 9.00am every Friday (weather permitting) and finish at 1.00pm. Contact me at for more information. I have been reviewing the new grass beds in the Seven Sisters garden and am very happy with how they performed in their first season. I plan to add a few more varieties and make a couple of the beds a little bigger but I think they will achieve the desired result. Our Irish Heritage plant project received a huge boost this month when we visited the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. We collected around 40 different Irish cultivars, many of which are not available elsewhere. These will be planted in our gardens to ensure they are still available in the future. Our fruit and vegetable areas are currently undergoing their autumn tidy. We are organising our beds for next year and planning where to plant what. We have a crop rotation system in place, which helps prevent pests and disease and keeps the nutrients in the soil more balanced. We will shortly be planting out garlic and shallots and sowing sweet pea indoors for next year’s crops. We are currently keeping glasshouse vents open overnight to encourage leaf fall on our indoor fruit such as peaches and grapes. The grape vine needs to be fully dormant before we start to prune it. Other jobs we will be doing over the next month include: lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials, wind lopping roses, spreading compost and digging over vegetable beds, leaf collection to form next year’s leaf mold, lifting dahlias, begonias to overwinter inside, fleecing tree ferns to protect from frost, planting of new bare root hedging and trees. I will be spending the first half in November in Northern Vietnam on a botany trip with a small group of like minded individuals. I am hugely excited as the areas we will be visiting offer an extremely diverse range of plant species, some of which are new to science. It should provide inspiration for future projects in the gardens. It’s a very busy time of the year for us here in the gardens and usually, in my experience, the time when you achieve the most. Come and see us in November! Adam