November passed by in a flash and I suddenly find myself heading into the festive season feeling somewhat unprepared. The Christmas madness has descended on my house, and it may take me a while to catch up! The late Autumn sees fabulous colours still hanging on through the arboretum and gardens, but a couple of recent frosty mornings have finally let everyone know that winter is coming.
Work in the gardens has become very typical for the season, with emphasis on tidying, cutting back and mulching. A big job for us this time of the year is leaf collection. We compost a lot of our leaf litter, as it’s a free source of extremely good mulch for plants. Let’s face it the natural ways are usually the best! We do not however collect up the leaves from our main Lime tree avenue. These are pushed back under the trees to provide a protective mulch and feed for the snowdrop and bluebell bulbs that live there.
December is always a month where we aim to finish up projects etc, but I have learnt to be realistic. Life goes on in January! Other work for the month includes wind lopping roses to prevent wind rock, roughly digging over vegetable beds, tidying up and disinfecting glasshouses, planting, or moving bare root trees and shrubs, sorting out compost bins and spreading on the surface of vegetable beds, tree surgery and general housekeeping.
We have just finished bulb planting and I wanted to take time to thank our two volunteer groups who have done sterling work for us, not only planting bulbs, but throughout the gardens all through the year, they have been a huge help. On top of that, they are a wonderful bunch of people, and we really look forward to seeing them every week.
This last year has been tough in many ways, and one of the things that have lifted our spirits has been the number of locals spending time walking on the grounds and gardens. We have had many positive comments of support and encouragement that have really meant a lot to us. We are delighted to be involved in the maintenance and development of this estate and to have the opportunity to bring so many people out into nature and share its beauty is a pleasure.
All of us here in Blarney Castle Estate would like to wish everybody a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We hope to see more of you in the gardens next year. Do make use of the season passes, as they represent excellent value for money. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens in 2022.