Monday, June 02, 2008

Kylemore Gardens

Anyone who ever planted a little "victory" garden of their own would be envious of the plantings and design of the kitchen garden at Kylemore Abbey. Well organized and properly kept up, this garden was very impressive. On the day we visited, there were three gardeners on the grounds of the kitchen garden.

The gooseberries provide a nice windbreak for the lettuce, once they are growning along the wire fence, made to provide support for the long canes of this fruit. As the canes (branches) are tied horizontally to the fence wire, they fill out, thereby becoming a living windbreak. If you look at these photos you will also notice that the hedges help to organize the garden into sections where the more delicate plants are provided shelter inside the planting areas.

Here you see views of the lovely borders that run the length of the path that separates the public formal garden from the private kitchen garden.

Middle class comforts were provided to the grounds manager of the estate. Bay windows and plastered walls added a refinement suitable for comfortable furniture and bric-a-brack. I didn't see it, but I presume there was a separate kitchen, since the fireplace in the dining room was not meant for cooking.

The grounds manager was shown more courtesy, as must have befit his station in life, with his comfortable cottage; the exterior view on the left. In contrast his crew of gardeners lived a much less frivolous lifestyle, just across a small courtyard. No need for gingerbread trim on this stone out building. I wondered if the stables had been much different.

Thin matresses must have given little comfort to the gardeners of Kylemore. Small quarters may have served to keep heating at a nominal cost, but a large table easily identifies the heart of this modest, bare bones abode, where all cooking was done in the fireplace.

If the rickety, rustic furniture were not enough to reinforce to the gardeners their place in the world, this shed attached to their quarters made the statement loud and clear. The tools were given almost as much space as the gardeners themselves.

These are photos taken from posters showing the green houses as they once were. They are now torn down to the foundations. These were essential elements for this self sustaining manor house during winter months, when the weather made growing vegetables impossible.

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