Behind the Castle Walls with Adam, Head Gardener Blarney Castle

June has flown by and I have found myself wondering where the year is going. Growth rates increased significantly over the last few weeks and we have been literally run off our feet trying to keep up. The dry weather at the start of the month added to our work load. We have a lot of new areas that required watering regularly to help them establish. Our students and volunteers are a vital part of the team in keeping things looking good at this time of year.

The Herbaceous Borders are spectacular at the moment. The roses on the pergola overhead are filling the entire space with scent and colour. We recently added an extra extension at one end of the border with a new bench as a focal point. Keep your eyes open for it!

Another new addition is our decking area in the Fern Garden that links up the existing path to a new woodland walk. It creates a new viewpoint for the visitor and offers a different route that links to the Himalayan Walk. We will be gradually planting this area with woodland plants from the Far East to create a Forest Garden.

In the glasshouses our peaches have ripened and the nectarines, apricots and grapes are all coming along nicely. Pretty good crops all round. Jobs for July will include pinching out tomatoes and cucumbers side shoots, thinning growth on our grape vines and also thinning the fruit to improve the overall crop. Ongoing watering and feeding is very important. We feed every second week with phostrogen for the ornamentals and seaweed for the vegetables. In this dry weather you should make sure the plant has been watered prior to feeding it so that it does not take up too much too quick. Hedge clipping will be a big job here over the next few weeks. It’s always nice to get the fluff back off and tidy things up a bit.

Now is a good time for taking cuttings in the garden. Many shrubs will root readily and it’s a good way of increasing your plants without the expense. I always encourage plant swapping and if you have a few spares then it gives you something to bargain with. We will be taking cuttings from a lot of our rarer trees and shrubs over the summer and autumn. Not only will it give us material for swapping with other gardens, but it will also act as a back-up stock should one of the mother plants die.

Blarney in Bloom was on Sunday 10th July and was a great success this year. There was a huge amount going on around the estate including specialist plant nurseries, garden equipment and a farmers market, garden talks, arts and crafts demonstrations, children’s entertainment and a dog show. This year we had a new show garden sponsored by Bloom and the Irish Garden Plant Society, which proved to be a visitor favourite. The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind are the beneficiary charity for the event and we will be announcing the total amount raised in the next few weeks. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam