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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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