I have high hopes that weather warnings are on hold ‘til winter and there will be enough sunshine to ripen and sweeten the garden’s bounty.
This time of year the main job in the garden is staying ahead of the weeds that are growing with the same vigor as the crops. Amongst the produce in season are courgettes, peas and mangetout beans, blackcurrants, raspberries and peaches. Yes! Peaches – growing in the warmest, most protected (and admired!) corner of the garden.
Apple, pear, hawthorn blossoms are all signaling the warming air and soil. The potential for a sting of frost in the air should be gone completely once May is out. In the garden, we’re busy hardening off annual flowers and planting out vegetables we started in modules in the glasshouse.
Much of the work being done now in the garden is in preparation for things to come! Most of the garden is empty now except for perennial vegetables like sea kale, asparagus and rhubarb. But in the wings…or the glasshouse….seedlings are beginning to show promise. In modules and pots is sown lettuce, Japanese greens, oriental mustards, brussel sprouts, red and green cabbages. In gutters, the tender tips of mangetout and peas are popping up.
Ballycotton is a famous fishing village situated approximately 40km (25 miles) east of Cork City. The village is set on a rocky-ledge overlooking Ballycotton Bay. There is a busy fishing pier, working lighthouse and a world-famous lifeboat. As well as a shop & post office, pubs, restaurants, B&Bs and a hotel.
Emerging from the hibernation of January and the potential of the growing year ahead begins to germinate! The first demand is to feed the soil that gave us so much last year – the ‘heavy’ machinery was rolled in and made light work of spreading well-rotted manure over the entire garden and ploughed.
It was almost a case of … last person in Ballymaloe, turn of the lights as many staff, family & friends headed off to the sunny destination of South Africa. Well, Sun city & Capetown to be more precise! Off to celebrate the wedding of my wonderful friend and colleague and well known receptionist, Lyndsay Greer to her sweetheart, Michael Cashman.
And from the moment we arrived, Lyndsay’s uniqueness and impeccable attention to detail shone.
This winter we got off to an early start. Christmas baking is usually in full swing by the first week of December. However this year the smell of candied peel, dried fruit and local whiskey filled the kitchen during early November too. It was all hands on deck to make the hundreds of puddings, cakes and mince pies that help make Christmas at Ballymaloe extra special. Anne, Stephan, Breda and Rebecca have been working very hard to ensure all of the Christmas baking goes to plan.
After a wonderfully busy summer at Ballymaloe House some of the front of house staff was treated to a day out! The weather was on our side so we headed off to experience East Cork's newest attraction- a guided tour of the Ballycotton Lighthouse Island.
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.