We are always happy to answer any questions that visitors have for us regarding the gardens. We have selected here the questions we are asked most often, along with the answers. We are also asked many questions about the names of plants and where they come from, and about the care of certain plants, which we are always happy to offer advice on.
Q. How many gardeners are there?
A. We have 4 full-time staff in the gardens all year round, and this is augmented with part-time gardeners in the summer and the help of students and volunteers.
Q. What do you do in the winter?
A. There is always work for us to do in the gardens. In the winter all of the pruning and heavy work are done in preparation for the spring. From October to December we concentrate on preparing the walled garden for the following year. All heavy pruning of trees and shrubs happens after Christmas and drainage work where weather permits.
Q. What happens to all the plants we grow in the walled garden?
A. Everything in the walled garden is for conservation and display purposes.
Q. Is this an organic garden?
A. We do as much as we can to work with nature, after all this is a National Park. Our approach is organic, however Glenveagh does not hold an ‘Organic’ symbol.
Q. How do you control pests such as snails and slugs?
A. We don’t have a serious problem with them, and because we have so much growing in the garden, the damage caused by slugs and snails is minimal. Small birds and frogs do a lot to help control these pests.
Q. What sort of mulch do you use?
A We use fine chipped bark to suppress weeds under shrubs, and in recent years we have had great success controlling weeds with a layer of newspaper covered with Strulch, which is a mulch material made from straw that is approved as organic.
Q. Do you sell plants here?
A. Not at present, unfortunately there is no time for propagating and selling plants, with very limited resources available all our efforts go into conserving the gardens.
Q. Who lives in the cottage in the Walled Garden?
A. The Gardener’s Cottage is in the process of being adapted to house the archives associated with the history of the gardens and in the future there will be supervised access to it to learn more about the story of the Castle Gardens.
Q. What do you do with the money collected in the wishing well?
A. Every year we clean the well and donate the money to a deserving local charity.
Q. How do you cope with the midges? Do you become immune to them?
A. We don’t become immune to them. When they are bad, we use midge-hoods and a limited amount of insect repellent. We also operate midge collecting machines from April to September, these help to keep their numbers to a minimum.