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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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!