July Flies By!
July has been extremely busy, and I am delighted to see so many visitors exploring the full extent of the grounds and gardens. There is so much to see, and many of our first-time visitors are shocked by the size and diversity of the estate. There are over 5km of walks that include woodlands, lake, riversides, arboretums and of course the gardens. It has really become a destination for a day out, and you can easily find a secluded corner of wilderness just for yourself and the wildlife. We have left more areas to nature around the lake and field verges as well as creating specific wildflower meadows and I feel the whole estate is benefitting from being just that tiny bit wilder.
There are certain areas of the gardens that deserve a special mention this time of year. If you are visiting in the next few weeks make sure to see our Tropical Border, Jungle and Fern Garden that have all exploded into growth over the past few weeks. The Herbaceous borders, Poison Garden and the Seven Sisters are also well worth seeing. There is good colour throughout the grounds and gardens though, and a little exploring often pays dividends.
We are running a visitor survey at present, have your say – and enter free draw for hotel voucher prize worth 500 euro.
Blarney Castle and Gardens are developing a future masterplan to continue to provide a world class attraction for visitors over the next ten years and beyond. It is important to make sure any improvements respond to the needs of visitors. Blarney Castle Estate is keen to hear your views on possible future initiatives to improve and build on the visitor experience. This is your opportunity to support us with our proposals to improve the visitor experience and address particular issues (e.g. queuing) and to help shape the future. Please complete this short survey which will take you a maximum of 10 minutes. You need to have visited Blarney Castle and Gardens to complete this survey. You can find the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Blarney-Castle
We are in the process of summer pruning our fruit trees. Apples and pears can be pruned now to encourage fruit buds to form next year and to maintain shape or train the tree into a shape. There are two periods for pruning, December/January, and July/August. As a rule, winter pruning encourages growth of new shoots and summer pruning discourages growth. We also prune stone fruits now, tipping back and tying in new growth on our wall trained plums, peaches, and nectarines. Stone fruits should only be pruned in early spring or midsummer as this reduces the chance of silver leaf disease. Fruit pruning is not very complicated if you follow a few basic rules, and there are many helpful sites on the internet with step-by-step guides.
A good tip for this time of year is to plan your Autumn bulb order early. You can probably remember what you have in your garden, and what’s done well. Make a few notes as to where you would like some extra colour, then select bulbs that suit. Too often bulbs end up as an impulse buy that get stuck in a corner and forgotten about. This can lead to some nice surprises but often leads to disappointment. Bulbs, like any other plant, have certain preferences and it pays to do a little research first. A little planning now saves disappointment later.
I feel like the grounds and gardens are improving every year, and regular visitors are able to observe the changes we make and the growth and development of the plants as they mature. It’s very satisfying to see small saplings maturing into specimen trees and to witness a plant flowering for the first time. I hope some of you will visit soon and see for yourselves. Adam