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30 DEC

Goodbye to 2020!

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Well, I can’t say I’m unhappy to see the end of 2020. To say it’s been a challenging year would be an understatement. I’m going to focus on the positive though and say the good thing about covid was that it brought a large number of locals into the gardens and gave people a new appreciation of nature and the outdoors in general. For a long time, Blarney Castle was seen as a tourist destination and not somewhere for the locals. This year, however, things were different. It is fantastic to see so many families in the grounds and gardens. We are frequently stopped by people on their first visit, who remark at their amazement to find so much here. They almost seem offended that they hadn’t known about our fantastic gardens and grounds and some ask why we haven’t advertised it more. Others thank us for staying open and giving access to the locals in what is a very difficult time. I’m very happy to see the gardens being appreciated and loved by locals and tourists alike and it’s a pleasure to meet so many happy and positive people.

With the new year comes new arrivals. The snowdrops on the front avenue are starting to emerge and a couple of early varieties are in flower in the new winter borders. It’s always one of the first real signs of spring for me. The daffodil avenue is also starting to flower. There are a few already out and I expect it will be in full flower by February. The variety is Rijnvelds Early Sensation, and it is definitely that, early and a sensation! It’s always nice to get the unexpected sight of more than 40,000 daffodils in full bloom so early in the year.

The new Winter Borders are also looking good now. This is only the start of this project, as we plan to extend the borders, add more varieties of plants, and underplant the shrubs with large drifts of spring bulbs, so next year’s display should be even better.

It’s now time for pruning and tidying the grape vines, fruit trees and bushes as well as ornamentals. Our apple orchard will be getting some formative pruning next week. While doing this we will be firming up the roots of young trees and plants that may have been loosened by the high winds and wet conditions. It is extremely important, and you should check your own gardens for this too.

It has been a very mild winter so far but I’m always aware of the chance of a sudden change. I believe we could still be in for a cold snap at some point and we have the fleece and straw ready to protect the less hardy plants should this happen. Regardless of the weather, the grounds and gardens really look beautiful at this time of year, especially the lake walk. We are very lucky to have such a diverse estate on our doorstep, and the season tickets are a bargain for locals who wish to make it a regular visit. The work never stops here in the gardens. We all love the hustle and bustle, and we are lucky to have a fantastic team working here who want to achieve the very best that they can. I hope to see you in the gardens in 2021. Happy New Year! Adam

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