Mary; How does the Garden Grow?! 10th July 2014

Hi all,

We hope you enjoyed last weeks first entry of our new garden blog and that it gave you a good overview of what the garden has to offer and also, just a taster for the many topics that can and will be covered over the coming weeks and months.

The weather has been somewhat hit and miss over the past number of days, but Wednesday, the 9th of July when this ‘not so green fingered, but eager to learn’ blog composer headed for the garden on what was a spectacularly nice evening to see just what our gardener, Mary, was up to this week.

Seems the rain and sunshine combined has really brought out the growth in the garden; there’s a lot happening!  But, we thought this week we’d look at the vegetable area and other goods producing plants.  As we mentioned last week, the vegetable beds are closest to the house and in these I was shown the chives; in fact, two examples!  The first was fresh a light green, the other, somewhat more ‘woody’ and had flowers on top that were starting to die off.  I was instructed by Mary that the fresher chive plant had been cut back recently to promote fresh growth and to stop the spread of seeds and the latter had yet to be done.  Of course, a taste was required; delicious!

 

Chive seeds.

Chive seeds.

 

Mary instructing where the chive plant will be cut back to.

Mary instructing where the chive plant will be cut back to.

 

Fresh regrowth after being cut back.

Fresh regrowth after being cut back.

The same bed also contains cabbages which are really starting to fill out now; some more so than others!  On closer inspection its evident that something has been taking a nibble of the young leafs!  A number of small, but ragged holes in the leafs are the tell tale sign of caterpillars which cleverly are an almost identical shade of green as the cabbage itself (probably no wonder with so much our our cabbage in them! They do say you become what you eat?!) and needless to say, very small.  Turning over the leaf reveals them.  In the garden no pesticides or other such treatments or chemicals are used on the plants, thus, removing these critters is an arduous process and taking care of them, well, not for the squeamish!

Caterpillar on the leaf of the cabbage plant.

Caterpillar on the leaf of the cabbage plant.

 

The result of caterpillar activity.

The result of caterpillar activity.

 

Starting to fill out and less prone to hosting hunger caterpillars too.

Starting to fill out and less prone to hosting hunger caterpillars too.

 

Another variety of cabbage known as Kale, or, commonly as 'Ragged Jack'.

Another variety of cabbage known as Kale, or, commonly as ‘Ragged Jack’.

 

Beetroot is also a bed fellow to the cabbage and chives; growing in abundance and ready for plucking.  I was instructed that this beetroot is simply delicious when boiled, salted and sliced; I’ve yet to try this as my only preconception, or, knowledge of beetroot up to this point was that which you purchased, in a jar, chopped and with a tangy taste.  Never had I seen on ‘in the raw’ or literally pulled from the ground!

Beet root plants.

Beet root plants.

 

Plucked from the ground! Couldn't get any fresher than that!

Plucked from the ground! Couldn’t get any fresher than that!

 

 
Speaking of being plucked from the ground, another two that were at the same time pulled were carrots and a bulb of (very strong it must be said!) garlic!  The garlic, planted in December is well rooted, pulling by hand wont work as it only serves to pull the stem and leafs from the bulb; a little digging is required!

 

Freshly pulled carrots.

Freshly pulled carrots.

 

Garlic bulb playing hard to get!

Garlic bulb playing hard to get!

 

If carrots, beetroot and garlic weren’t enough for me it seems I was in for a treat and not only would my dinner, but also my salad sandwiches be sorted as there was a head of, unusual looking, ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ lettuce that could be pulled.  These lettuce plants were accompanied by another unusual variety of lettuce called Garnet Oak Leaf, named after its leafs which resemble the leafs of an oak tree.  The garnet is prone to wilting quite quick after being pulled, so, a head of Marvel of Four Seasons was pulled.

 

Marvel of Four Season lettuce.

Marvel of Four Season lettuce.

 

Garnet Oak Leaf lettuce.

Garnet Oak Leaf lettuce.

 

Up she comes!

Up she comes!

 

 

 

Another task, which is taking place further up the garden is that of picking the gooseberries!  Mary has been working away at this for the past number of days!  The fruit is quite plentiful and it takes patience and time to pick them.  Once picked its a simple case of ‘top and tail’ them and have a taste.  They’re very sweet!   These gooseberries will be stored and used for making jam or perhaps even gooseberry pie; watch this space.   The bright red Morello cherries were hard to miss further up from the gooseberry plants.  They are a little sour, but, could have been more so if I had not been instructed to go for the darker red/scarlet colored cherries as opposed to the bright red ones on offer!!

Gooseberries ready to be picked.

Gooseberries ready to be picked.

 

Mary showing how to 'top and tail' the berries by removing the little stubs.

Mary showing how to ‘top and tail’ the berries by removing the little stubs.

 

Picked berries ready to go!

Picked berries ready to go!

 

Cherries; these are the one you dont want to eat.

Cherries; these are the ones you don’t want to eat.

Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks blog entry and, like me, learned a thing or two!  Theres so much to discover and learn about in the garden and with Mary’s expert advice we’ll cover all, if not most of these!  But, in the meantime if any of you have any questions, queries, or perhaps particular topics you’d like to see covered then please dont hesitate to get in touch!

Until next time!

Rothe House & Garden seeks Executive Manager

rothe house 17 june 14

Rothe House Trust Ltd. is seeking to appoint an experienced Executive Manager to lead the organisation through an exciting period of change.

Rothe House and Garden, a landmark in Kilkenny city, is the only example of an early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland.  It is situated on the newly-branded ‘Ireland’s Medieval Mile’ in Kilkenny. The Garden has been open since 2008 and is a reconstruction of an early 17th century urban garden.

The House and Garden are owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, and managed by Rothe House Trust.  The House is open to the public as a museum, displaying some of the 2,500 historic artefacts collected by the Society since its founding in 1947. The Trust runs training courses and an educational programme and is the centre for Irish genealogy in Kilkenny city and county.

The Board is currently in the process of implementing ambitious plans to re-present the building and collection to position Rothe House and Garden as a state-of-the-art visitor attraction on ‘Ireland’s Medieval Mile’.

Reporting to the Board, the successful candidate will be responsible for implementing the business plan to re-present the building and collection as well as managing all day-to-day operations for this busy tourist attraction.

Applicants should hold a third level qualification with a good understanding of conservation and heritage management practice, local history and cultural heritage tourism. A third level qualification in Project Management, Human Resource Management, Arts and / or Heritage Management will be a distinct advantage.

For more information and an application pack, please email chair@rothehouse.com

The closing date for applications is 23rd July 2014 at 5:00 by e-mail only. If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Colm Murray at 086 852 6508 between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. daily.

 

We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

New weekly garden blog – Mary, How Does the Garden Grow?

Hi all, we hope if you are in Ireland that you are enjoying the great weather these past few weeks, certainly feels like summer has arrived.  At Rothe House & Garden we thought we might start a weekly blog looking at the garden which deservedly gains a lot of attention and praise from our visitors.  We hope that you might learn more about our garden, but, also gardening and all things flora and fauna in general.

For our first entry we figured it might be a good idea to give the reader a general overview of the garden, its layout and some of the plants and trees contained within its historic walls.

 

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The garden, which is relatively new, was open to the public in 2008, having undergone a major renovation from a car park and waste ground to a fine post medieval garden that it is today, unique in the fact that its the only one of its kind open to the public.   The garden, just like the house, has been faithfully restored to its former glory and is tended by our gardener Mary Pyke; whom shared with us her knowledge on the garden and shall continue to do so for the coming blogs.

 

 

Mary Pyke in the shade under the mulberry tree.

Mary Pyke in the shade under the mulberry tree.

 

 

With the house having been constructed between 1594 and 1610 the garden style is a cross between a late medieval and early renaissance and remains faithful to the period in its design.  The garden not only served a practical function in that it provided the house and its occupants with fresh produce but also acted as an attractive show of wealth and power.  Containing many beautiful and by today’s standard, exotic plants , it would have been a showcase, or, if you like a window display of John Rothes success as well as being a pleasurable area to take walks and enjoy receiving guests.

 

Upon entering the garden the visitor first meets the vegetable beds, in which are currently growing beans, peas, carrots, cabbage, onions etc to name but a few.  The reason for the vegetable beds being the first in the garden is that the third, and last house functioned as the kitchen, thus, for convenience the vegetables were placed closest to this house.   Above this, in an attractive hedged area is the aromatic and herb beds in which is a fine selection of period herbs many of which had a number of functions and purposes outside of the kitchen!  These beds are flanked on the right by a row of Quercus ilex, more commonly known as Holm Oak, these are an evergreen and topiary trained to maintain their shape which is of renaissance influence.

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Vegetable and herb beds flanked by holm oak trees can be seen to the left of the pebble walkway.

 

Beyond the wall which divides the garden in two is the orchard, in which is also a fine selection of period fruit trees and bushes all producing crops.  In total there are 42 apple trees, these include; Blood of the Boyne, Irish Peach, Kerry Pippin, Brown Crofton, Scarlet Crofton and Lady Fingers.  Other fruit trees and plants in this section of the garden include quince, medler, damsen, old queenguage, cooking pear, cherry and mulberry not to mention figs, cobnuts and filberts!

Just a few of the many fruit trees in the orchard.

Just a few of the many fruit trees in the orchard.

The borders around the orchard section of the garden and filled with many variety of plants giving a wide range of colors and aroma, most notably being the 15th century roses which are currently in bloom, but will only be so for the next fortnight at most.  The fragrance from these cant be described and must be smelt in person!   The upper section of the orchard also has a wild flower meadow which not only looks incredibly attractive and adds color, but, also helps sustain wildlife and is also a favourite rummaging spot for the five Rothe House ducks!

15th century rose.

15th century rose.

It goes without saying that there is so much to talk about in the garden and over the coming weeks and months we will look closer at particular areas, plants, topics etc and help make your knowledge and/or visit to our garden all the richer and more enjoyable.  If you would like to see a particular topic covered then please do let us know by leaving a reply and we shall endeavor to help.

Until next time……

Exciting new book available in our gift shop!

book 3
We are very pleased to announce that we have an exciting new book available for purchase in our gift shop at Rothe House & Garden.  The book comprises a number of drawings by artist Roger O’Reilly, which up to now have only been available as illustrations to view in the house.

The book, lavish in its detail and information, takes the form of a journal composed by a fictitious James Long Esq whom is an apprentice for John Rothe himself during the early 17th century.  James gives us a snapshot of his life and that of the city in a very interesting period of history, through his drawings and handwritten observations and descriptions.

The book is suitable for all ages and all levels of interest and is a definite must have for the visitor to Rothe House & Garden or those simply interested in this period of time.  It is available from the gift shop, priced €6.99

book 2

Rothe House & Garden plant sale a great success!

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The annual plant sale held on Saturday, June 7th this year, was a great success!   Thankfully the weather, for the most part, held up and allowed many happy buyers take their time to browse through the extensive lots of plants that were on offer.

If you’ve missed the plant sale then don’t worry, we still have lots of plants available to purchase.  Please enquire at reception for details.

Finally we’d like to thank all those who attended the sale, purchased plants and helped with our fundraising!  Happy planting.

New role for outgoing CEO of Rothe House & Garden.

The CEO of Rothe House & Garden, Kilkenny – Ms Roisin McQuillan – has resigned her post to take up the position of Fundraiser for the organisation.

This resignation takes effect from Friday 13th June, and a new Executive Manager will be advertised shortly with an appointment to be made within the coming weeks.

Colm Murray, Chair of Rothe House Trust Ltd., said ‘Roisin’s experience over the past seven years has been invaluable to the work of the Trust, and Rothe House & Garden has gone from strength to strength in that period.  She will be missed in her role as CEO, but her new task as Fundraiser for the organisation is of central importance to the completion of the Renaissance project.’

Roisin McQuillan said ‘The Renaissance Project at Rothe House is the culmination of many years of hard work by volunteers and staff on the Conservation Plan, and one final push is required to complete it, so that the house & garden continue to be one of the ‘must sees’ on the Medieval Mile.  Almost 80% of the funding is secured through Fáilte Ireland, and my role in the coming year will be to secure the balance of that funding – required to get the project over the line. I plan to work with the community in Kilkenny (and further afield) who recognise the importance of its heritage that Rothe House represents. ’

 

For further details, please contact

Colm Murray, Chair, Rothe House Trust Ltd

086 8526508

Rothe House & Garden is awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

tripadvisot cert

 

We had some great news recently here in Rothe House & Garden when we were awarded a coveted TripAdvisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’!

The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.  Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.

 

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings.  Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, volume and recency of reviews. Additional criteria include a business’ tenure and popularity ranking on the site.

 

Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Rothe House & Garden and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor.  There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.

 

 

We are hiring!

Weekend receptionist required – Saturday/Sunday and Bank Holiday – from end of June until the end of September 2014.

 

Experience required in cash handling, customer service. An interest in history would be an advantage. High level of responsibility involved.

 

Contact roisin@rothehouse.com before Wednesday 11th June.

Annual Plant Sale – Saturday 7th June

plant sale

 

 

The annual plant sale at Rothe House & Garden will take place this Saturday, June 7th from 10.30am until 4pm.

This is a great opportunity to choose from and purchase a large selection of plants, many of which originated in the beautifully reconstructed 17th century walled garden and have been lovingly cared for and tended by head gardener Mary Pyke over the past number of months.  Mrs Pyke herself will be on hand with expert advice on all things flora and fauna related.

Entrance to the garden will be free for the sale and access is through Evans Lane from 10.30am onward.  It’ll be the perfect chance not only to purchase plants, but also enjoy the garden, which, at this time of year is bursting with color and life.  While visiting, why not say hello to the Rothe House ducks!

All are most welcome to the plant sale this coming Saturday at Rothe House & Garden.

Kilkenny Horticultural Society silver shines at Rothe House & Garden

 

 

 

Left to right; Clare Bourke, Pat Nolan, David Hughes, Ann Coady, Judy Byrne and Rosemary Barnes.

Left to right; Clare Bourke, Pat Nolan, David Hughes, Ann Coady, Judy Byrne and Rosemary Barnes.

The Kilkenny Horticultural Society was certainly in full bloom on Thursday the 24th of April when a fine exhibition of silverware belonging to the society was unveiled.The temporary exhibition, in Rothe House & Garden, showcases a number of awards presented and won by the society over the years of its existence and is a stunning example not only of the history of its members, but also of many years of hard work and dedication.

The exhibition marks the official handover of the Horticultural Society’s Silverware and archives to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. It was curated by Ms Rosemary Barnes of the KAS and was greeted by a large and jubilant gathering of past and present members of both societies.

The MC for the event was Mr David Hughes, Vice President of the KAS and the gathering was addressed by Mrs Clare Bourke and Mrs Ann Coady, Secretary and Chairperson of the Horticultural Society respectively.Both Mr Pat Nolan, Chairman of the KAS, and Rosemary Barnes also spoke.

Further images of this launch can be viewed on our Facebook page; the exhibition itself can be viewed in Rothe House & Garden throughout the summer months.