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April’s showers seem so long ago as we work in August’s dusty garden where we’re busy watering sweet peas, summer lettuce, courgettes and pumpkins. Months have flown by and the countdown has begun in earnest to the Ballymaloe Garden Festival. The new commemorative herbaceous border is in full bloom and it’s hard to believe that it is only in place since February of this year. The garden is in sympathy with Ballymaloe’s ethos of sustainably sourcing the best home-grown and local ingredients. Located within the walled garden, the commemorative garden consists of two borders designed to enhance the walled garden and equally to support Ballymaloe House in continuing to serve the needs of its guests.

Early this month, the garden team and volunteers took a trip to Ballyfin, Co. Laois to view the spectacular house and gardens. From there we visited the beautiful nursery of Arthur Shakleton and onwards to a biodynamic garden. A great day trip with lots of learning and even more purchases!

Peaches have been the star of this year’s top fruit – the peach leaf-curl frame erected in December last year allowed fruit buds to develop and leaves to remain dry. The warm sunshine we experienced in July allowed the peaches to ripen against the warm south-facing wall. With an eye to the winter ahead, we planted over 7,000 leeks at the start of June and already baby leeks have appeared on the Ballymaloe menu. The leeks will stay in the ground into March of next year if not all used before then. And now the weeks are speeding by to the 30th and 31st August and the Ballymaloe Garden Festival. We’re looking forward to a packed programme – http://www.ballymaloe.ie/events-news/ballymaloe-garden-festival-2014 and another weekend of interesting talks, demos and workshops. We hope to see you there! Follow the Ballymaloe Walled Garden on Twitter @BallymaloeGdn