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!


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