There’s no need for blarney when describing the gardens at Blarney Castle. During a visit yesterday it was a hive of activity with gardeners busy in all corners. A large tree, a storm victim I imagine, was being cut up and removed; the herbaceous beds around the Seven Sisters (now, there’s bit of blarney alright!) were being renovated – plants being removed, divided and replanted. The herbaceous borders running under the pergola were having a beautiful new cobble edge added with rejuvenation work on the planting at the same time. The rockery seems to be in the process of a complete refurbishment – access was blocked off as there was machinery operating there so I couldn’t get too close. All around the usual maintenance work was continuing with grass cutting, leaf collecting etc in full flow – the garden was a hive of activity and all around shows the results of diligence and enthusiasm.
The garden is, in essence, a parkland surrounding the castle and house with a collection of exceptionally beautiful and interesting trees. It really is only in the last number of years that what the home gardener would call “gardening” has developed. By this I mean flower gardening, beds of a scale to which the home gardener can relate more easily than to the parkland and, as this aspect develops, the gardens are becoming more and more attractive to the gardening visitor. The area around the Seven Sisters has developed exceptionally well and links back perfectly to the castle; the pergola borders with roses above and herbaceous planting below has reached maturity and, indeed, is already being rejuvenated. The hosta collection in the woodland comes as a surprise – it was all golden yesterday as the foliage had begun to fade but must be wonderful when in flower.
The Exotic Borders were still looking exuberantly exotic and continue to be a very attractive area judging by the number of visitors who were stopping to admire the plants there – and puzzle over identification. I was delighted to see the Himalayan area has developed so very well since I last saw it with those young plants of only a few years ago now putting on size and making an impact in the overall layout and design of the gardens.
The orchard in the walled garden continues to develop though the garden is closed a viewing area, intended to allow visitors watch the beehives, gives good views to the garden also. I expect it is an area which will develop further in coming years. The Fern area is closeby, an excellent example of a planting suited to its situation, a magical effect.
Blarney is a good news story, a garden doing well – big numbers visiting yesterday, many Americans to kiss the Blarney stone! The management and gardeners there are obviously committed to not only excellent maintenance but continual development and improvement. Indeed, the garden may shortly be the major attraction rather than the castle – and I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone before saying that!