A Belated Introduction to the new Ty Glyn Gardener


Those of you who visit our walled garden regularly.  You may have noticed someone new pottering around.   My name is Tony Vallance and I started gardening for the Ty Glyn Davis trust at the beginning of spring earlier this year.

portrait (2)
Tony Vallance (Gardener at Ty Glyn Davis Trust)

It’s been an exciting spring and Summer watching the garden change week-by-week.  From the greeting of colour and fragrance in early Spring, to  the blankets of crisp frost welcoming me in the early morning.

The sun beginning to thaw the frost on the bank leading to the terrace garden.


There has been a few additions to the garden over the last few months.  We have received 6 new handmade benches by local craftsman Reuben Hayward. They are made from chard locally sourced Douglas Fir.  We Have also enjoyed the resent installation of a basket swing.  We Have really enjoyed seeing both young and old playing on the new apparatus.

Charring timber is a centuries old Japanese technique for colouring and preserving wood.

And for those of you that remember ‘Nessie’, who used to live in our orchard.  Well Nessie’  more fierce cousin has moved in to keep an eye out for scrumpers!!!

Carved dragon by Simon Hedger.
Carved dragon by Simon Hedger.
Orach on a frosty morning.
Orach on a frosty morning.

One of my favourite in the vegetable garden this time of year is  Orach.  It’s purple leaves look great in the summer.   And it’s tall elegant structure and transparent seed heads look stunning with the Winters morning sun shining through.

 

Tony Vallance.


Last Post from Janine the Gardener

Well somehow this my last post about the garden, I have left the garden and will be busying myself with my own garden for a while! We had plenty planned for the winter and we managed some more planting and clearing, along with mountains of cutting back of perennials and shrubs. The pear arch has had a good old haircut before I left too, hope we will have more blossom from this.

Photo0036The pear arch, half way through pruning, short at the front and bushy at the back.

The snowdrop drifts, of various quick growing named varieties I had planted last year are starting to bulk up and I hope they will provide a lot of pleasure to winter visitors in years to come in the Walled Garden. They should also be looking good for my final day at the garden Sunday 12th Feb is the NGS winter opening 1-3pm, £3.50 for adults, children free. Refreshments served in the holiday centre.

Photo0020

There are many things I will miss about the garden, the wildlife being one, having just tamed the cottage robin to eat from my hand. Spare him a few crumbs when you are next in.

Photo0034The Cottage Robin

I will also miss working with the amazing volunteers in the garden, who work their socks off for the pleasure of keeping the place beautiful. A big thankyou to all of them for everything over the last few years.

Photo0059Cilla left, me centre, Ros right.

I would like to think I leave the garden a better place, we have certainly made some changes and raised some money for the garden. An application for funding to restore the Dragon was pending, we are Sainsbury’s Lampeter Store’s Charity Partner and Ciliau Aeron WI just raised several hundred pounds for the Trust Carol singing. A big thankyou to all the visitors, businesses and organisations who have supported us, big and small over the past few years. Don’t stop now I’ve left!

Best wishes and happy gardening to you all!

Janine

 

A Colourful Autumn

Well it has been a while since my last post partly due to increasing work in the garden and partly due to the wonders of modern technology which does not co-operate at times!

We have been fortunate to have a very mild and warm autumn which has given the Dahlias in the vegetable gardens and the tender Salvias on the Terrace beds a field day. The Nasturtiums have had their most rampant year we can remember and we were still having to cut them back well into November.

photo0016

Sadly it all came to an end with a couple of frosts Bonfire night weekend, when the volunteers and I returned to a sea of Nasturtiums looking like a mass of dead green spiders.

photo0082

After a chilly morning of clearing up the mess and opening up a new compost heap for the mountain of frosted plants we needed a nice log fire to warm up with (once the crows nest was removed from the chimney!).

photo0083

The grasses we planted for sensory planting have performed well and in particular Molinia ‘Transparent’ has turned a gorgeous shade of gold on it’s airy seedheads. The fluffly and ever tactile seedheads of Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ are looking good and lasting well too.

photo0006

The mild weather has also made the leaves cling to the trees and we have had some beautiful russet and lemon shades in the woodland. I always think that on the greyer dull days we have now returned to they seem to almost glow in the dark. Well worth a look at and a scrunch through the leaves which have dropped.

photo0011Bright yellow beech tree leaves seem to hover in the air unsupported.

There are all manner of different mushrooms coming up all over the gardens (please don’t eat them). The most interesting one that caught my eye was this small, pure white mushroom covered in tiny little balls making it look spiky from a distance.

photo0006

We had a mammoth apple crop this year and picked over 16 crates, which I took to Clynfyw Care Farm to be juiced, pasteurised and bottled. So far we have had 100 bottles returned to us, with more to come.  All the monies raised from the juice go back into the garden. You can purchase the juice at the garden from the gardener Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when I am there. I can’t leave it out for sale as it is in glass bottles.

We have begun the process of applying for a lottery bid to re-surface the paths in the garden amongst other improvements. Thankyou to all the visitors who filled out surveys on survey monkey and in the garden.  We are also applying for a grant from the Ashley Family Foundation to restore the much missed dragon to the garden, add some more play equipment and also some seating in the Woodland Walk. Our charity partner Sainsbury’s Lampeter Store also helped out with the preparation for our Grand Plant Sale an event which raised just over £280 for the garden including apple juice sales.

Our next garden event is this Thursday 17th November at the holiday centre for Dementia Awareness. Staff will be on hand to talk about techniques to help you manage people with memory loss and there will be a guided tour of the gardens and bulb planting. Refreshments will be served in the holiday centre. 1-3pm.

We are also beginning our ever – increasing list of winter maintenance works, so please check facebook before you visit as if we have had to close we will list it on there. We have begun with the refurbishment of the round stone pond replacing the capstones and repairing the damaged section of wall. We hope to have this job finished weather permitting over the next week. A huge thankyou to those visitors who attended our fundraising bubbles and berries evening and to Inspirational Lifestyle Services whose match funding has made the restoration of this popular feature possible.

photo0087Measuring to cut the final curved piece of reclaimed stone.

Also on the agenda for winter works are replacement of fencing (particularly since we have had vandalism on the fencing over the past few weeks). Repairing the stone donations cairn, we have removed the top courses of stones as they had become unstable due to repeated attmepts to break in. Mortaring and re-pointing capstones on walls within the garden and fencing off the den which parents are not able to see into in accordance with health and safety advice. The two small bridges in the garden need worker to stop the decking boards moving too. We have had the chains in the playground adjusted using the adjusters which were built in, but this has not taken enough of the slack of them and we will have to look at finding a contractor to come out and spot weld them after adjustment.  The gardens will be shut for a day in order to have a big clear up in the woodland area and subsequent bonfire, which we can only have right in the middle of one particular part of the path or we would scorch the trees. I am waiting on the leaves dropping to see if we need any tree works this year, fingers crossed!

I will leave you with an autumnal picture of the garden to encourage you to come out even in the welsh mizzle for a walk here.

photo0008

 

Summer flies by

Well it’s been a hectic summer in the garden. The strange combination of heat and then heavy rain has given us a recurring cycle of rapid soft growth which then flops when it is rained upon. We have already gone through over 400m of string and we are still running out of canes. Despite a winter of lifting plants which were too close to the paths and seriously hacking back growth we are still in the situation of spending far too much time in path clearing every week. Another winter of being ruthless in the garden looms!

It’s still been relatively cool many nights too, which has led to a marked difference in the growth we would expect in plants, for example the Nasturtiums in the Potager have almost completely out-competed the English Marigolds and yet the Cosmos have literally just started to open, this the third week in August.

However, we were blessed with good weather for the NGS Day and the evening ‘Berries and Bubbles’ event which followed it. Thankyou to everyone who worked hard to make these events happen.  In August we also held a Mad Hatters Tea Party and Herb Propagation Workshop both as a closed event for a DASH Special Needs Group and as a late afternoon open to all event. If there is an event / workshop you would like to see us hold in the garden please get in touch.

Photo0014Harvey the Rabbit visited from the Pooka Shope and Gallery in Cardigan

Photo0100NGS day visitors enjoying lovely refreshments provided by fellow childrens charity Ty Hafan

A yearly difficulty in our Walled Garden is that the flowering period of plants can be shortened by the heat and conditions it creates, what I like to call the ‘Walled Garden Effect.’ As our garden is also a frost pocket we have a growing pattern of late growth which sometimes goes on later than you would expect, eg; Runner Beans, or it means that flowers don’t last as long as you would like them to. So we are constantly trialling new plants which we hope will either flower for longer and can tolerate these condition or which simply begin flowering later and will extend the season’s interest. We planted some Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ a tall yellow daisy under the Walnut tree amongst the grasses which have only just started flowering, so I am hopeful that these will prove an asset to the garden and we also planted several different Asters last year which look like they will do as we had hoped and will follow on from the many different Phloxes we planted the year before.   Persicarias also thrive in our garden and the large drift of white Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Alba’ is looking great round the pond now.  A trial of a favourite plant of mine Tricyrtis aka Toad Lilies ( which are also late flowering) has found them one border which they seem to be happy in, so we hope to add to the small clump in here we now have. Look out for their delicate spotted mauve-purple flowers and equally spotted leaves. I would also love to add more hardy geraniums for their ability to flower over a long period of time and sprawl into the gaps between other perennials really tying a border together.

Photo0051The old redcurrant bed on the terrace is looking lovely in the morning light in it’s first summer after re-planting

There are still plenty of borders in the garden which are either a work in progress, such as the damp, north facing border running down the left hand side that are starting to improve and areas which still need re-development such as the big patches of Phlomis ruselliana or Jerusalem Sage up on the terrace.  My usual summer holiday tour of gardens has given me some ideas of changes we could make to these areas, however time and money are our limiting factors as they are with many gardeners!

Photo0015This combination of Eryngium and Crocosmiia proved popular with visitors on the Terrace beds with many families being photographed with it as a backdrop.

At this time of year 3 main things are occupying us in the garden – harvesting the vegetables, removing self-set perennials to clear space for other plants to bloom and also to prevent them seeding too much eg; Evening Primrose and lastly summer pruning of our fruit trees. Many of the fruit trees have not benefitted from enough formative pruning or have perhaps been on a less dwarfing rootstock than we thought.  So I am trying to prune some of the ones which are closer to the paths around the potager very hard and imagine they are very overgrown stepovers! Otherwise we may have to look at replacement in the future.

Photo0005Santolina chamaecyparissus ‘Lemon Queen’ on the terrace.

It is easy to forget the intricate detail nature creates as it gets lost in the bigger picture of the borders, take the time to look at each plant and how each flowering display is created the next time you visit us.

 

Cool June

Well June has been a relatively cool month here in the garden. A late frost damaged the young  growth on the apple trees, fortunately after the blossom has finished so it shouldn’t affect the crop, but it doesn’t look nice.

Cooler temperatures have hampered growth in the vegetable gardens with runner beans and peas being particularly slow, not helped by the periods of dry weather we had too. Conversely the self set Nasturtiums which provide a lot of the summer colour in there have grown insanely. We have already cut them back three times and they are still 3 feet tall in places and have even out-competed the self sowing English Marigolds in most places.

Photo0002The vegetable gardens with Sweet Williams in the foreground.

The rain, which we wished for, came in buckets and did damage the rose display, but they are recovering and the scent in the garden is divine.  We have also spent huge amounts of time staking and cutting back in the Walled Garden as the downpours collapsed shrubs and perennials alike.  The rush of growth we had once the rains came was soft and even the perennials we didn’t stake last year are now tied up.

To give an example the rose arch by the cottage after rain induced growth and after pruning so you could get through the arch.

Photo0017Photo0039

The Meconopsis sheldonii or Himalayan Blue Poppy have finally found a place in the garden which they may decide to be happy in, either way we had our first flowers this year and they were stunning.

Photo0030

We have made a significant amount of progress with the hard landscaping in the garden repairing the cracks in the walls (you can’t have a Walled Garden without them!). The Gardener’s Cottage now has a full complement of drainpipes and guttering for the first time in living memory and the cement which reduces the moisture coming through the walls has been repaired. Hopefully we will not be sweeping water out through the cottage door on wet days anymore!

Photo0018Photo0020

Also a big thankyou to Rentokil for a big discount on treating the well established woodworm within the Gardener’s cottage, it is much appreciated.

Photo0043The Rentokil team with Nick Foot (far right) The Ty Glyn Davis Trust’s Treasurer.

We are trying to get the garden in the shape we want it to be in for the upcoming National Gardens Scheme open day, Sunday July 17th 1-5pm.  If you would like to come and help us in the gardens please get in touch by emailing me at tyglyngardener@yahoo.co.uk We are holding our NGS day earlier for a change in the plants that you will see in the garden. As previously there will be an admission charge to the garden for this day (for charity), refreshments will be served in the garden and plants will be for sale too.  Come and join us and bring the sunshine with you!

Photo0082Cilla, our longest serving volunteer trimming back and removing finished Forget-me-nots in the terrace beds.

 

Photo0036Weigela and Veronica ‘Crater Lake Blue’ on the terrace

We are still looking to recruit more ‘Friends of the Ty Glyn Davis Trust’ too to help with events, fundraising and maintenance. To help us understand what our visitors like and dislike about the garden we are also asking people to complete a questionnaire, available by email from the above address.

Photo0004A disgruntled fledging after the brambles on the outside of the walls had to be cleared to let the builders in.

The garden is always full of wildlife, I dug up this newt in a border last week.

Photo0007

Photo0021Rosa mundi and giant heads of Allium christophii under the Colonel’s memorial Walnut Tree in the garden.

Hope the weather improves in time for our NGS day, look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

 

Mayday! Friends of the Garden needed!

Every year May astounds us in the gardens here. The difference that can be seen after only a days absence is beyond belief. A plant you left a few inches high can be in full leaf when you return, particularly after a good rain shower.

The Bluebell show this year has been exceptional all through the woodland walk, following as it does the snowdrops, daffodils and wood anemones.

Photo0092Bluebell slope, wafting scent down onto the path.

We have also seen improvements in the flowering of the fruit trees, spurring me onto to further pruning efforts in the winter to come.

Photo0018Apple blossom by the wooden shelter.

The borders are looking better thanks to a winter of replanting using donated plants and plants purchased using the donations to the garden.

Photo0038A border just how we like it at the Ty Glyn Davis Trust.  A jumble of wild-looking Geum rivale and Dicentra eximia with self -set Tellima grandiflora (Fringecups) and budding Sweet Rocket.

We are now well advanced in the planting of the vegetable gardens, peas, beans, leaf vegetables, herbs and flowers all joining the sprouting potatoes. Dahlias will be going in this week and the last few veg and flower plants to follow. Here’s hoping the rabbits don’t find us anytime soon and the slugs and snails are eaten by the friendlier wildlife.

Along with the plants growing the stickyweed and it’s friends are back, hopefully the plants we deliberately added to the border will catch up and crowd the worst of them out soon.

Here at the Ty Glyn Davis Trust Walled Garden and Woodland Walk there have been many changes over the past 6 months. Two Trustees have retired, making way for new blood. In addition to this the strange set -up of the legal position of the garden in terms of the Trust has now been altered and the gardens are now formally part of the charity. These changes are leading to the development of a new culture at the Trust with more emphasis on the importance of the grounds to it’s work and also to the local community. It is for this reason, in this the 20th anniversary of it’s donation to the Trust, that we would like to better reach out to and connect with the communities, organisations and tourists which form our visitors.  We would like to form a new Friends of the Garden Group, where you can find out what we are doing in the garden and the equally important question of why we are doing it. In the past the Friends groups have formed work parties on the garden, fundraised for the garden and also organised events to which they receive free entry. If you are interested in becoming more closely involved in our gardens please get in touch and our closest Trustees to the garden, Ann and Sian, will be happy to have a chat with you. Please email tyglyngardener@yahoo.co.uk or call and leave a message for them.

If you are or know of a group who may be interested in visiting the gardens, please get in touch at the above email address too.

We will also (weather permitting) be at the Aberaeron Garden Festival on Bank Holiday Monday if you would like a face to face chat with me once you have bought your plants.

The garden is teeming with wildlife again, from the fish in the pond, the orange tip butterflies, the bird life which may now include a cuckoo to the gorgeous metallic Damselflies again.

Photo0109

The blackcurrants are looking like they will produce a really good crop this year again.

Photo0040

I was trying to take a picture of our large Paeonia lutea or yellow tree paeonies, when I realised they were being photo bombed by one of our cheeky robins.

Photo0037

I will leave you with a photo of a glimpse of the Gardeners cottage, under the Walnut tree, through Aquilegias (Granny’s Bonnets) and good old yellow Welsh Poppies. You can see in the background that again this year Oak is leafing up before Ash so as the old proverb goes, ‘Oak before Ash, nary a splash, Ash before Oak you’re in for a soak.’ Looking forward to a good summer then!

Photo0056

April (Snow) Showers!

Well a mixed bag of weather in April with rain, wind, lots of hail and even some snow! Sadly not the sort of snow where we could make snowmen though.

As our Walled Garden is perhaps best described as a gigantic frost pocket crossed with a bog it has been an interesting month trying to decide when to begin the vegetable planting, which we usually leave as late as possible. Given the fact we have had snow showers we have left it even later but,  I think we are going to have to bite the bullet and get some plants in this week.  We have now spread around a layer of our compost in the beds that need it the most. We never seem to have enough compost so we have to just keep adding it to the beds in the summer as it becomes available.

Photo0017

April is a big month for weeding in the garden, particularly as we wage a war against both hairy bittercress and creeping buttercups. I find if you can get the bittercress out before the first wave of seeding begins it saves a lot of trouble later on. Now is the time to find the buttercups as they are no longer hidden by the perennials which are just sprouting.

It always amazes us that the garden can change so much in the space of a week as a plant you may have left  as a stump in the soil is three inches high a week later. An example being the ferns by the big pond, I spent some time thinning out the plants in the pond (including a new pond plant which must have washed down the river during one of the floods and into our pond) to restore clear water visitors can look down into.

Photo0064The largest pond in the Walled garden with young fronds of Onoclea sensibilis in the foreground.

The weather has not put off the garden’s stalwarts from flowering and the Pear blossom is on show and the Apple blossom display just beginning now.

Photo0063

Planting on the terrace including dwarf tulips, alpine Phlox and various Euphorbias is looking good. I have thinned out the plantings of Euphorbia characias as they had self seeded and quickly grown into thickets up there, swamping the other planting. I can’t wait till it stops being so cold and we can unwrap all our tender plants up there.

Photo0007Euphorbia myrsinites foreground and Euphorbia characias to rear against the wall.

We were fortunate that local expert John Savidge came to look at our Daffodils on a couple of occasions and has managed to identify several varieties in the gardens for us. We have a very untidy green – tinged double daffodil from an estate between Llandeilo and Ammanford called ‘Derwydd.’

derwydd2Narcissus ‘Derwydd’

A tall long trumpeted classic daffodil called ‘Sir Watkins’ which is believed to be the variety of daffodil thar is the basis for the daffodil being a symbol of Wales. We have several clumps of N. ‘Princeps’ an old cut flower variety, perhaps left over from a cut flower garden for the mansion. Lastly we have the species Daffodil pseudonarcissus and the Tenby daffodil N. obvallaris and also a patch where these two have hybridised. There are also a few more varieties he is researching for us still.

Photo3525

We have recently had some changes to the legal structure of the Trust as previously the Walled Garden and Woodland Walk were owned by the Trust, but not a main aim of the charity. Alterations have now been made to the status of the gardens and we are now in a position to begin to restore the gardens to the standard we would like them to be at. Some of the work we would like to undertake such as resurfacing the pathways and working on the walls is beyond the budget of the Trust and we are taking the first steps towards a large scale Heritage Lottery Grant for works on the gardens.  We would also like to form a new ‘Friends of the Garden’ group who would help with fundraising for the garden, events and even work parties to help with projects in the gardens. If you are interested in making a contribution to the future of the garden please get in touch and we will arrange a meeting between interested people, the Trustees and myself the Gardener.

We were fortunate this month to have a donation of much needed tools from  E P Barrus. Many thanks to Ian Seager and the Barrus team for your generosity.

Photo0010Volunteer Dav, with his carer and new tools.

March of the Daffodils

Well March has begun with a literal bang in the form of our first storm felled tree of the winter.

Photo3375The gusts of 70mph brought down a tree tall enough for the top of the crown to go onto the main road. With the help of a tree surgeon with chipper we managed to clear this within a few hours.

I am hoping for brighter things this March, specifically Daffodils. As we find the time to take more interest in the woodland areas we are finding more daffodil plantings. Some of them are in an area marked on old maps as being a ‘Wilderness’ garden which is a term we would use differently today. A wilderness used to be what you could term a ‘faux natural’ area in that it would be designed and planted to look natural and wild while utilising all manner of both foreign and native plants to carpet the ground under fine trees. So I have launched a project to try and track down the names of the varieties we have in the garden and in the future we would like to plant more here. I have visited the National Trust Garden Llanerchaeron down the road from us this week to look at the Daffodils in their collection. My hope was that our estates may have exchanged bulbs in the past and I might be able to identify some of our plantings from their records. Unfortunately that was not to be and while we seem to have more plantings of doubles, Llanerchaeron has more singles. As a lot of ours were planted under the Lime Walk, which dates back to the 1600′s I am now wondering if our varieties may be earlier than Llanerchaeron’s. I am recording the flowers as they open, so please stop your children from pulling the heads off! So far I have identified one variety

 

DSCN6347The double trumpet flowered ‘Von Sion’ aka Telamonius Plenus brought to England in 1620.

DSCN6306On the riverbank we think this is a species Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus.

If you are, or know of a daffodil expert who might be persuaded to visit and help please let us know! In the meantime watch this space as they open and I will post pictures.

I am still continuing to prune fruit in the garden as I prefer to prune on a dry day to help prevent the spread of fungal disease. A particular problem in our damp garden. As many of the trees have grown out of possible recognition of what the original shape may have been I am now resorting to more drastic measures to to try and get them to grow as we would like and also to stop them continually overhanging the paths.

Photo3365Before pruning to the rear and after to the front, to try and encourage more fruiting spurs rather than the vast quantities of whippy growth we currently have.

Photo3364Pear trees on the terrace can now be walked past again.

I have also been cutting a gap between the dogwood by the play area and the garden wall as it is so wet in the garden that the Cornus is air-rooting into the wall itself. I have found several birds nests which have been rooted through by the dogwood and into the wall itself.

DSCN6285

Definately an area in need of some work and hopefully some new planting in the future to brighten it up.

DSCN6299The common single snowdrop Galanthus nivalis are just starting to open on the river and stream banks.

DSCN6276These single Campernelle Daffodils at the bottom of the entrance ramp into the Walled Garden are well worth a sniff with a fantastic perfume.

DSCN6315The double snowdrops are still flowering too.

I hope your gardens surprise you with Spring Bulbs you had forgotten about, if not come and have a look at ours!

 

Rained off again!

Yet another wet day here, the hedges have sprung waterfalls, the roads are either ponds or rivers depending on gradient and the garden is a collection of areas of standing water.  So after a health and safety check and trimming back the bamboo that had collapsed over the slide it was seed shopping time.  Just topping up the vegetable seeds we were short of and buying a few new things, trying a new orange double Calendula (English Marigold) called ‘Neon’ hopefully see how bright it looks on the terrace.  We needed more Antirrhinum (Snapdragon) seeds and I found a lovely striped one by Suttons called ‘Picasso Splash. ‘ The Victorians were fond of their oddities and it will be fun to have this one in our Potager garden next year accompanied by a nice seed mix of all different colours of Cosmos including yellow / orange also by Suttons called ‘Feng Shui.’ When the weather is like this you need some colour to look forward too!

If you happen to be local to the garden and would be able to spare us some space in your greenhouse and some time to help us grow some annual flowers / vegetables for the garden please get in touch. We have no glasshouse at the garden and it is a yearly battle to fit the garden’s plants in both my own and the volunteer’s greenhouses along with the million must-have seeds we grow for our own gardens. Especially as we tend to plant out at plug size due to the mice / voles /ants eating anything we direct sow.

Fortunately something smiled upon on us on Valentines Day and we were blessed with some precious sunshine and a dry day for our National Garden Scheme open day. It is the first time we have opened at this time of year and we had a fantastic turnout of over 80 visitors. Probably the most repeated comment was how nice it is to be able to see the ‘bones’ of the garden and then how much they were looking forward to being able to compare the garden in winter with the summer abundance of planting filling the borders.

Photo3280Plant Sales on the NGS Day and a display of rare and unusual varieties of Snowdrop under the shelter.

The double snowdrops were putting on a good show, the single were stubbornly still in bud, I imagine by next week they will be starting to put on a display.

Photo3270Double snowdrops on the stream bank

We have planted several named varieties inside the Walled Garden, most of which due to the mild weather had finished by the time we opened, but they should be looking even better next year. We look forward to seeing Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ with it’s scented flowers, ‘Magnet’ with the delicate looking swaying flowers, double ‘Hippolyta’ with her full multi-petalled skirts should be forming a nice clump too. In flower for the open day were the large growing Galanthus ‘Lerinda’ and the equally showy ‘Atkinsii.’

Photo3272G. ‘Atkinsii’

Out in the woodland garden we have stuck to species Snowdrop varieties such as G. woronowii with it’s broad, shiny green leaves and G. elwesii often called the giant snowdrop with it’s broad grey-green leaves and variably marked flowers.  It’s been such a topsy-turvy season that there is even the odd Anemone nemerosa (Wood Anemone) flowering out there and the green leaves of the bluebells are already through.

Having our holiday centre open for tea, refreshments and a warm up also helped and we raised just over £100 for the garden.  Some of which has now been spent on the aforementioned seeds!

As soon as the garden dries out again we will be clearing our bonfire pile and cutting the last prunings to burn.

One of the things I have managed to spend time doing inbetween the stormy weather conditions is attending to the needs of our wall-trained plants. We have roses, climbers and fruit trees against many of the walls and these do need pruning and tying in properly to the walls so that they can stand up to the wind. The glorious Rosa ‘Alister Stella Gray’ right at the top of the central steps on the terraces had to be propped on a weekly basis last year as it had grown very top -heavy. Meaning the bulk of the flowers were above head height.  I’ve not quite finished them, but we are definately getting somewhere with this project. It always surprises me how long it takes to train in a rose. First I tend to remove anything I can see that is dead/ diseased/ damaged. Then I undo the rose from whatever is holding it up and untangle it.

Photo3276

After a bit of thinking an idea for how the rose should be shaped begins to come through and then it is a case of finding somewhere in the walls I can hammer a 4-5″ inch nail in as a tying in point. In some places I have been able to use the original Victorian iron nails as they are still tough enough to be used. Then the rose has to be carefully bent into the new position and tied in. I am trying the plastic coated wire garden ties this year to see how they last.

Photo3277Red flowered Rose re-trained at the top of the terrace.

Finally there are the armfuls of pruning to add to the bonfire pile away from the path as we don’t want our wheelbarrows having punctures from the thorns. I am hoping they will flower better this year after I have added a bit of compost to them to encourage them.  That and removing the self-layered Vinca or Periwinkle plants that were beginning to smother them should give them a chance to grow. You may see a lot of Periwinkle in the garden walls. This we believe was original Victorian underplanting in the ‘Wilderness Garden’ or Woodland walk as we call it now. Once the trees grew up and took the light the Vinca escaped through the walls to the light, which is where we see it now.

We are looking at applying for lottery funding to develop / restore the gardens further here at The Ty Glyn Davis Trust and we would love to hear from you any suggestions you have or improvements you would like to see. Also if you are interested in being a part of a ‘Friends of the Garden’ group we would love to hear from you.   Happy gardening!

 

New Year – New Garden

Well it’s been a while since I have blogged, the reason being that we have been mighty busy at The Ty Glyn Davis Trust’s Walled Garden.

Winter is our time to try and get some more Maintenance works completed, but also to try and change parts of the garden when we aren’t making a mess and getting in the way of our visitors. Sadly this winter has been an extremely soggy one yet again – no news there!

We have so far had two occasions where the River Aeron, was within an inch or two of coming into the walled garden.

Photo3085The River Camel in full spate, complete with new waterfall formed by the run off from the bridge.

This has led to higher than even our usual high winter water table in the garden. The path network within the walled garden is designed to act as drains to help alleviate this problem, but even that didn’t stop the water bubbling up through the path nearest the river on the wettest days.

Photo3087A rising water table put paths under water.

We have struggled on despite wondering if we would now grow webbed feet and have accomplished a lot of improvements to the garden.  The Crab apples under the Walnut tree have been removed as they were not growing well under the influence of the toxins the root system of the Walnut tree produces to reduce competition with other plants. More Buddleja or butterfly bush seedlings were removed in the border adjacent the decking. These were just seedlings which had been left in when the original plants died. In the same border the thicket of self-set Tree peonies have been thinned so you can now see there is a Mock Orange in there which we hope will regenerate. It has also revealed the attractive and very long lasting fruit on the Siberian Crabapple at the back of the bed.

The last of the fruit bushes are now gone from the terrace making room for more decorative planting up there.

We also waved goodbye to our diseased Quince trees, thinned the willow coppices, chainsaw pruned overgrown apple trees on the terrace and a whole host of other more minor bits of pruning.

It has not all been removals though, the benefit of the extremely mild weather has been that we have been able to replant things now so that they can get settled in before the main season begins. We have been concentrating on planting a lot of spring colour, including scented Hamamelis or witch hazel.

Photo3134Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ whose orange – red flowers are made to glow when backlit by the winter sun.

We have planted a whole host of different taller perennials which we hope will need the minimum of staking including Bidens, Coreopsis, Rudbeckia and Veronicastrum. We have also planted some more tropical looking planting including Phormium (New Zealand Flax), coloured leaf forms of Libertia and Eryngium agavifolium a Sea Holly with very exotic looking foliage.

Ready for our first winter opening for the National Garden Scheme on Valentine’s Day we have been madly planting Snowdrops too. Sticking to the plan of named varieties within the garden and different species outside. We already have good plantings of the common single and double snowdrops and we wanted to develop this feature to encourage more winter visitors to the garden. Sadly the weather is throwing a slight spanner in the works by being so mild that they are flowering the best part of 3 weeks early. However, we have also been adding to our plantings of Hellebores, Pulmonaria and Cyclamen to add other interest.

Photo3099Helleborus x hybridus ‘White Spotted’ giving a great show near the sleeping Gunnera.

Entrance on the NGS day is £3.50 for adults and children are free, refreshments will be served in the Holiday Centre. Plants will be for sale too. Come along for a romantic stroll with your loved ones, followed by tea and cake. Bring the sun if you can too!

We had a successful in-store collection in our local Sainsbury’s store raising just over £75 for the garden and holiday centre. Our half of the money went on winter planting, buying winter flowering and evergreen plants for the garden.  We were questioned as to how the Trust is organised, perhaps due to some newspaper headlines on ‘fatcat charity bosses’ on the day we were collecting. If you too are curious then to fill you in; the Trust employs two part – time staff, myself and Kelly the Holiday Centre Manager. We both have line managers who are trustees. We have approximately a dozen trustees, all of which work voluntarily to keep our Charity running.  Our Holiday Centre is designed to be non-profit making as it is a main aim of the Trust not just to provide holiday accommodation for Disabled and Special Needs people and their families or carers, but to be an affordable holiday venue. The Trust’s founders appreciated the demands of specialist equipment and treatments that can stretch a family’s finances beyond the point where a holiday is affordable.

We look forward to a New Year of new plantings, new visitors, new friends and supporters of our work and almost above all a new sort of weather, preferably involving some sunshine!

 

Ty Glyn Davis Trust Walled Garden, Ciliau Aeron, Wales