Gardening Tips from Killashee's Estate Manager
Killashee is set on acres of Magnificent Gardens, Woodland Areas and Parkland Trails. It is our Estate Manager of 33 years, Tony Hanlon’s Pride and Joy.
“The previous gardener left it in trust to me, and I now serve my time, until I leave it to the next gardener, hopefully in as good a state or better than I found it. My hope is that he, or she, will carry on what I continued here.”
Tony started working here in the 1987 when the Killashee was a Private Boarding School. He had been growing since he was seven with his Father whom was a Market Gardener. During the Boarding School days, it was Tony’s responsibility to grow the food to get them through the Autumn and Winter. They fed 160 people every day from two acres of Cabbages, Carrots, Turnips, Runner Beans, Celery and Potatoes. He has seen a lot of changes throughout the years here at Killashee and he is certainly your man if you’re looking for a good Killashee Story!
Tony’s work at Killashee now is more focused on ensuring there are colourful blooms from Summer to Winter months and all in between. Killashee is a very popular Wedding Venue now, so Tony loves creating the perfect Backdrop for their Photographs.
We sat down with Tony to learn all his Tips & Tricks he has picked up over the years and we are here to share them with you!
The bright yellow blossoms of the Daffodil is a definite and happy sign that spring is here. Tony says some varieties of daffodils can start to show from late November, and depending on the weather will last until early April. Daffodils should be divided every 2 or 3 years and then replant the bulbs in September, to achieve a variety of colour within your Daffodil display.
Did you know we have 10 varieties of snowdrops on the grounds here at Killashee? Snowdrops are one of the first flowers to bloom each year, bringing spring life to a start in our gardens, even through the frosty conditions. They begin to show in the middle of February and will usually last around 6 weeks, beginning to lose their colour at the end of March. Tony advises that when your snowdrops start to lose their colour yet still have their green leaves, to then divide them and replant them in the late spring. Try to find a shaded space that has moist soil to plant your snowdrops, they will not thrive in dry, uncovered areas.
Primroses are a popular flower to bring colour into any garden. They begin to flower in early spring and sometimes even late winter, much like our snowdrops, and should last until late April, if maintained correctly. Tony suggests deadheading your primroses constantly, and that it is essential to keep the colour in the flowers. Once they have stopped flowering, dig them up and divide them, take them out of their pot or basket and move them to a dark, sheltered spot under a hedge to ensure they will thrive again next season
What a fabulous time of the year - Blooms everywhere, all different colours, all different shapes and sizes! Tony’s favourite flower, Delphiniums, bloom throughout the Summer months and into December. They come in many different colours like purple, blue, white and pink and should be planted in April. They don’t require a whole lot of attention and is best to feed them Pot Ash. In December you should divide them out and replant them as they grow very tall, this will also help keep their colour.
A Household Favourite- The Hanging Baskets! Make your neighbours jealous- Tony says the best plants for hanging baskets are the Cyclamen & Polyanthus. You should plant the Cyclamen in the middle and the Polyanthus around it, this is because the Cyclamen grows taller. They are a great Duo and bloom straight through Spring and Summer with very little care. Tony also says you can add some Petunias and Geraniums to the Hanging Baskets or Window Pots and have them full as life! Petunias are a great way to bulk up your baskets and add colour as they have 50-60 different colours in their sort. You should water once or twice a week dependent on the weather and feed them Master Feed or Tomato Feed once a week for your hanging baskets to last until the first frost.
The Dahlia Flower come in Tall or Dwarf size and bloom in April and will last strongly throughout the summer, they will last a mild winter but not frosty conditions. To save yourself some work, Tony says, instead of digging them up to replant them, if you cover them with 6 inch of Moss Peat, this will protect them from the frost. For all the Rose Lovers- Tony says these are ‘Greedy Feeders’ and the best thing for them is Farmland Manure to help them last as long as possible.
There is something so special about the Red & Orange vibes of Autumn! The Red Robin is a shrub but can be grown into a hedge. The red robin is a tough plant that will last the Autumn and Winter months. They require very little care and attention but don’t trim it back too early as you will ruin the colour in it, let it overgrow for the winter and trim in the summer time.
The Crocus flower should be planted in early Spring, it will bloom in Autumn and is a strong Winter flower that will last you until the following Spring Season, Tony says, its best to plant these in big batches for best effects. Crocus is available in a variety of colours, so get creative and have some fun with your colour themes.
You always want your garden to look good and in the winter this can be a difficult task. Tony gave us some tips on all year round blooms and plants to get you by the dull season. A popular one, the Winter Viola, blooms throughout the winter right through until April. They don’t need much watering as there is enough moisture in the air to keep them in bloom, so be careful not to over water them.
The Crocus and Red Robin discussed above are also hardy flowers that will last through the winter months.
To finish up we asked Tony – what his favourite time of the year was? So confidently he replied; Spring, it’s every gardener’s favourite time of the year, everything comes to life in Spring. The colours bloom, it’s a sign of growth and the success of your planting.
“A gardener will never see the lifespan of a garden”
We hope you took some good advice from us today & Happy Gardening!