Friday, July 31, 2015

A tad damp.

Sea holly, Eryngium maritimum
July has been damp, (this is an euphemism for wet.) We have had over double the rainfall of last July and the wettest July for five years, it's not been too warm either, down by 2.5c on last year and the coolest July for five years. Still we have had some good days and we have managed to time our day outs on these days, more luck than judgment I should add.
Our last trip was to the wilds of Connemara in Co. Galway. This is a stunningly beautiful part of Ireland , rugged, mountainous, with loughs,
Lough Corrib, the 2nd largest in Ireland with 365 islands.
Killary Fjord
Fjords, rivers and moorland  making up a scenic topography.
Beautiful setting.
Our destination was Kylemore Abbey , in particular to see the walled garden which is the largest one in Ireland covering six acres.
The house was built in 1867 to 1871 by Mitchell Henry for his wife, who sadly died three years later from dysentery in Egypt, she would never have seen the wonderful gardens that her husband created from what was essentially bog land. Mitchell Henry eventually sold the 15.000 acre estate in 1903, much of what he created was lost including 23 heated glass houses, heated by a lime kiln and an under ground network of  hot water pipes. He also generated his own electricity , developing a hydro electricity plant, cutting his running costs from £400 a year to just £10 a year, he had this plant up and running in just four months.
wish our veg garden was so ordered.
The house was taken over by nuns in 1920 where they ran it as a boarding school until 2010.
 The gardens were rediscovered and reinstated, they reopened in 2000, and the hydro power plant is currently undergoing renovations and again the estate will be run by 'Green Power'.
We did not visit the Abbey, we were there to see the gardens, there are so few large gardens open to the public in this part of Ireland and the gardens are magnificent,
even the formal gardens are superb and lovingly tended by a team of gardeners,
Six under gardeners would have shared this bothy, the head gardeners house was far grander, with eight rooms.
The fernery with a mountain stream meandering through it.
The herbaceous beds were glorious.

Angels fishing rod, Dierama.
plus some of the nuns who remain in residence, but we will visit again to see the Abbey, the setting is so beautiful and a great place to spend on a day out.
At last I have finished processing the black currants, around sixty pounds of them, converted into jam or bottled, I don't want to see another black currant for a long time, the black birds are welcome to them, in fact the blackbirds are probably feeling the same way about them as I am, they have gorged their selves so much that they have found it hard to fly away when disturbed.
This weeks flowers.
We have so far had six pounds of Redcurrants, these I have made into Redcurrant jelly, unlike Blackcurrants they don't require destalking, just a quick wash, much easier.
Once again the tunnel resembles a jungle so we are trying to install some order into it.
The taste made up for lack of production.
I had planted a couple of spare Ratte seed potatoes in there, the haulm's were smothering the French beans, the potatoes gave us just three pounds of spuds, but the flavour is well worth the lack of production, we are hopeful the  ones planted outside will give a better return.
Cocks comb. Amaranth.
This Amaryllis has been flowering for six months. 
The Oleander has lots of flowers this year, it seems to have acclimatized.


  1. I was up in Galway a fortnight a go for the day and we were going to visit the walled gardens of Kylemore Abbey. But it was blowing a gale so we went to Salthill instead. I love walled kitchen gardens. Heligan is my favourite. There is a gardeners both in Heligan with the gardeners names scribbled on the walls. Poignantly they went to fight in the great war and never returned. Great post.

    1. Kylemore is definitely worth a visit Dave for the gardens they are lovely, but I'm not too sure if the Abbey is worth going into according to the reviews on trip adviser.

  2. The gardens are lovely. I do love it all around Lough Corrib. We're hoping to move up that way in the next couple of years. :-)

  3. It is a lovely part of Ireland Deb and property is still cheap.