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26 OCT

Pumpkins and Autumn Walks

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October is one of my favourite months as it generally brings dramatic changes throughout the grounds and gardens. It’s still fairly mild though, and we are still waiting for our first frosts that would fully transform the trees into their autumn coats which come in so many wonderful colours and shades. The arboretums are simply stunning though, and I recommend a morning visit to take in the special atmosphere. A stroll through the trees or around the lake is magical at this time of the year.

Our pumpkin display in the Stable Yard has attracted a lot of attention and we had such great feedback that we are planning on making it an annual feature. We may even grow a pumpkin patch next year where people can ‘pick their own’. Watch this space!

We are around halfway through planting out our bulb order. We had over ten thousand this year, as well as recycled bulbs from last year’s bedding displays that we re-use elsewhere when possible.   We are also selling a small range of bulbs in the plant sales area for the first time. Numbers are limited so be quick. The plant sales area has been a great success and we are planning on expanding it further in 2022 to include a larger range of plants and other horticultural products.

As we prepare for the coming Winter, we are busy cutting back, mulching, digging out, dividing, and protecting where necessary. If you look after your garden now, it will reward you in years to come. Our fruit and vegetable areas are currently undergoing their autumn tidy. We are organising our beds for next year and planning where to plant what. We have a crop rotation system in place, which helps prevent pests and disease and keeps the nutrients in the soil more balanced. We will shortly be planting out garlic and shallots and sowing sweet pea indoors for next year’s crops. We are currently keeping glasshouse vents open overnight to encourage leaf fall on our indoor fruit such as peaches and grapes. The grape vine needs to be fully dormant before we start to prune it.

Other jobs we will be doing over the next month include: lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials, wind lopping roses, spreading compost and digging over vegetable beds, leaf collection to form next year’s leaf mold, lifting dahlias, begonias to overwinter inside, fleecing tree ferns and tender plants to protect from frost, and the planting of new bare root hedging and trees.

Our teams of garden volunteers have been a huge help this year and I can honestly say we would have struggled without them.  We would welcome any new recruits. We meet at 9.00am every Wednesday and Friday (weather permitting) and finish at 1.00pm. Contact me at  blarneygardens@blarneycastle.ie for more information.

It’s a very busy time of the year for us here in the gardens and usually, in my experience, the time when you achieve the most. Come and see us in November! Adam