Regardless of what is going on in the outside world, the gardens continue to demand care and attention and they are providing a much-needed distraction in the current madness. As usual, April has been a real stop start month, and the poor plants have been totally confused by our crazy weather. I think things are finally starting to right themselves now though. A little sunshine helps everything! I am expecting to see a lot of movement in the coming weeks as plants start to really put on growth, but so will the weeds! The rhododendrons and azaleas throughout the gardens are coming into flower and there are vivid splashes of colour around every bend. The azalea beds that run from the Mansion to the Castle will be a sea of colour for the next few weeks. We call this area the Belgian Beds as the original stock plants came from Belgium. This is always a great month for colour and my only regret is that there are no visitors to see it. We will do our best to share images over social media though. Please follow our Friends of Blarney Castle page on Facebook. We finally moved out all our tender tropical plants this week, and it is very satisfying to see the borders filling back up. Our new rock terrace at the base of the Jungle area is going to be a fantastic feature, and we are putting in some really unusual plants. Look out for the giant barrel cactus or as it is sometimes known, the Mother in law’s chair. The fern garden is another area that is currently undergoing a little revamp. We have a new boardwalk area that looks down over the cliff above the waterfall, and we are currently in the process of planting up and tidying. I love to see all the tree ferns coming back into growth as the weather improves. If you have not visited, my best way of describing this area is by comparing it to a Jurassic jungle. My children always look out for the dinosaurs when we are exploring here. Jobs for the next few weeks: Plant indoor tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers if you haven’t already, start to tie in and pinch out growth on the grape vine, thin indoor peaches to ensure a good quality crop, sow herbs in six packs and then plant out when they reach a manageable size, this also works well for lettuce. Watch out for slug damage and check for greenfly both indoors and out. A good tip for dealing with greenfly is mix some washing up liquid and water in a jug to make a lot of foam, then apply this foam directly to the infested areas to completely cover the aphids. It is very effective! Now is the time to start thinking about staking herbaceous plants before they become too established. Dahlias can be planted out in the beds now and we will shortly be planting out our bedding plants. There is still a risk of frost though so be on standby with horticultural fleece.
I look forward to seeing you in the gardens once we reopen. Adam