Behind Castle walls with Adam

I’m going to start by saying, if you haven’t visited Blarney Castle Gardens then you are truly missing out. The grounds and gardens are simply beautiful, and the spring colours are exceptional this year. Come and see for yourselves. March and April are usually very busy months for us in the gardens. The usual maintenance jobs such as grass cutting, edging and weed control are all now ongoing, but there are still many seasonal jobs to complete such as spring pruning shrubs like hydrangeas, buddleja and cornus; mulching beds and paths, resurfacing paths, feeding and scarifying lawns, and getting all the vegetable beds up and running. I find if you get on top of things early, it makes it a lot easier later. Although it’s hectic, I find this time of year hugely satisfying. The new growth and the warmth of a sunny day brings a fresh energy that sets us up nicely for the year ahead. In the kitchen garden we are nervously watching all the fruit trees as they come into flower. Last year we experienced some late frosts which resulted in a very poor crop. Hopefully we will be spared this year as demand for our cider is growing! Jobs for the next few weeks include sowing sweet corn, runner beans and outdoor salad crops, carrots, parsnips and beetroot. Plant out onions, shallots and potatoes if you haven’t already. Plant indoor tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and tie in and pinch out new growth on the grape vines, hand pollinate indoor peaches to ensure a good quality crop, sow herbs, check for greenfly both indoors and out as the weather gets milder. Planting out all our tender plants back into the tropical borders, fern garden and other areas has been delayed a little due to the colder nights. I expect we should have most things back out by Easter. It will be a relief to get some space in the glasshouse and polytunnels. A little job we are currently doing is a review of our bulb planting. We are marking areas that we plan to add new varieties to this Autumn, and also marking individual drifts of bulbs that we are planning to divide or move. It’s easy to do while they are in flower, but I know from past experience, we can never remember what was where once they have died back. Our plant sales area has been a great success and we have added a new range of spring bulbs as well as a larger range of plant species. We have even added a few indoor plants to the café area, which has been well received by staff and customers alike. If you are visiting the gardens look out for our Cherry trees, Magnolias, Camellias and Rhododendrons. Our main entrance Cherry is magnificent, and our huge Rhododendron arboreum ‘Cornish Red’ on the Himalayan Walk is an amazing site. It’s been a great year for spring flowers and there is a riot of colour around every corner. Let’s hope the rest of the year is as good. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam