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29 AUG

Back on track in August

me next to Scheffler macrophylla.JPG

August finally saw a much needed break in the weather with cooler temperatures and some much needed rain. It’s given both us and the plants a bit of relief and I think things are a little more normal for the time of the year. We’ve still plenty of colour in the gardens, particularly on the herbaceous borders and seven sisters where the late summer flowers are providing sustenance for a huge range of butterflies and bees. They seem to have really enjoyed the long hot weather.

We have finally finished our paths through the new Vietnamese woodland and begun planting out a lot of our wild sourced collection. This new ex-situ conservation area, which links up the fern garden and the Himalayan walk, is going to be extremely interesting as it develops, and I can’t wait to see how everything performs in the Irish climate. The pic of me adjacent was taken in Vietnam, but we now have very similar Schefflera growing in our woods.

It’s the time of year for pruning hedges, mulching beds and general tidying up in the garden. We have been cutting back our old raspberry and loganberry canes and tying in the new ones for next year’s crop. We have dug up the last of the potatoes, lifted shallots, garlic and onions and planted out brassicas and leeks. Now is the time to sow spinach, winter lettuce and rocket to take you through to the autumn.

Our Irish orchard is cropping well this year. We had a struggle to keep up with watering a lot of the newer trees, but a new well in the kitchen garden was dug just in time. All of the trees are heritage varieties and form part of our collection of old Irish cultivars. It is very interesting to compare the differences between them. We will be using most of the apples to make our own juice which is sold in our cafe. A little bit usually finds its way into a cider batch too.

Bulb planting can be started in the next few weeks. The fresher they are when you plant them, the better they perform. Make a few notes as to where you would like some extra colour in the garden, then select bulbs that suit. Think about successional planting, so that as one variety is fading there is something else coming out. Too often bulbs end up as an impulse buy that get stuck in a corner and forgotten about, so don’t forget to label them.

I hope the summer is not over yet and we still get a few days of sunshine through September. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam

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