Behind the Castle Walls with Adam, Head Gardener Blarney Castle

We are definitely well into autumn now and the trees throughout the grounds are providing a wonderful show, with a wealth of colour. Bright gold, vivid reds, buttery yellows and endless shades of orange and brown. There’s a photo opportunity around every corner! We have been busy competing with the red squirrels to collect seeds for our propagation projects. We have collected native acorns, yew berries and hawthorn seeds. All of these will be grown in our nursery before being replanted throughout the estate as part of our initiative to increase native tree cover. We are also starting to propagate more exotic species, so expect to see more new planting in the coming year.

October has been a very productive month here in the gardens. We generally wait until now to start the larger projects as the summer months are simply too busy. Recent projects include the widening and relaying of the main footpath approaching the castle. This has been a great success and I was able to use the opportunity to reposition the path a little to give it a nicer flow. I’m very happy with the finished product. We also installed a new rock sculpture in the lower arboretum which offers a unique view of the castle…..come and see for yourselves.

The other large project we have begun is our new Jungle. This will run along the back of what is now the Tropical Border. We have excavated paths and opened up a new entrance. It will be planted up in the coming months and we hope to have the whole project finished by March. This area was always a lost section of the gardens so I am delighted to finally put it to some use.

All of our bulbs are now planted and should give a great spring show. We have planted a large number of bluebells, anemones and species tulips, which we hope to naturalise along the riverbanks and around the woodland walks. It will be interesting to see how they do.

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 9am every Friday (weather permitting) and finish at 1pm. Contact me at for more information.

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. 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