Just to let all you plantaholics know we are having a GRAND PLANT SALE Sunday 1st November from 1-3pm in the garden. We will be dividing our borders and selling clumps of plants at low prices all monies to the garden. Come along and re-stock your garden with interesting plants at low cost all while supporting a charity. Hope to see you there.
What a lovely October we are having, makes up for the wet weather in August. Unfortunately due to a dislocated shoulder I haven’t quite managed to take advantage of the unseasonally good weather! I have had to restrict myself to continuing to paint the metalwork, some of which is in poor condition, I hope I am catching it in time to preserve it. It being Autumn I have had one obligatory enormous bonfire, as our waiting for the bonfire pile was too tall to stack anything else on! That and trimming back finishing flowers and giving the mediterranean shrubs on the terrace a much needed trim back to stop them completely taking over the pathways.
The advantage of having to work at a somewhat gentler pace has been the rare opportunity to enjoy the things that are going on in the garden at the minute. I spotted the Colchicum ‘Waterlily’ which I planted last month are now flowering up on the terrace.
October seems to be a bit of a season of pink up on the terrace with Salvia and Guernsey lily (Nerine bowdenii) flowering up there now.
I still have plenty more bulbs to put in ready for our NGS day in February next year. If you are interested in volunteering on the day in the garden or helping to organise this event please get in touch as we would like to re-form our Friends of the Garden group next year and start to plan more events in the garden.
There is some nice autumn colour in the garden along with the late flowers too, something we are looking to develop in the future too.
We have had our first mild frosts in the garden now, but not yet enough to finish off even the courgette plants. Nasturtiums are still flowering and the leaf vegetable like the Kales and Chard are still looking good.
Our winter tree works are beginning again to remove some more dangerous trees in the woodland walk again on Wednesday weather permitting so the garden will be closed on that day.
Do come down and enjoy the weather on our new benches too! With a combination of funds from our Santander grant, NGS Day donations and a both a donation of free benches and a generous discount on those purchased from Robert Dyas we have now received 8 new recycled plastic benches for the gardens. We have installed 6 so far and hope to put in the remaining two soon.
Well it has been a bit of a soggy September so far, with the odd glorious day just to remind us how it can be! Not too wet to work though so we have been kept busy as ever in the garden.
We have lots of veg still coming along and I am trying to pick some cut flowers for sale by the Gardeners cottage when I can too.
We have been trying to keep on top of the deadheading to extend the flowering season further at this time of year. In our frosty walled garden we don’t tend to be earlier than most gardens so we try and hang on and be later than everyone else here. The season has been a bit short with a combination of heat and rain shortening flowering / cropping times.
The Dahlia’s we are bulking up are looking good at the minute (between rain showers).
We have made an effort to plant more late flowering plants and some of the plants have reached a size to put on a nice display, such as the dark leafed, yellow flowered Ligularia with the Crocosmiia ‘Solfatare’ by the pond.
We also have groups using the garden this month, including users of our Holiday Centre for Disabled and Special Needs people who came in for a bulb planting session.
We have been busy bulb planting ready for our winter gardening and snowdrop open day for the NGS next Valentines day. So a big thankyou to our visitors for their donations which have paid for the bulbs.
We have been struggling to keep on top of the maintenance of the wooden features in the garden due to the fact it is such a damp site. I am pleased to report that through our Santander grant and both a generous discount and donation of 3 benches from Robert Dyas we will be replacing some of our benches in the garden with recycled plastic benches from the Winawood range in the following weeks.
The Garden is still looking for more volunteers to help us keep the garden looking tidy, doing everything from harvesting produce, deadheading, weeding to painting metalwork. The volunteers come in on either a Monday or a Wednesday and generally do a 2-3 hours each. Please contact us if you are interested.
While every effort is made to keep up with our maintenance it is difficult to be on top of everything so apologies that one set of small steps on the terrace is closed while we repair the woodwork.
I did however manage to take advantage of a good weather day to repaint the peeling handrails up the terrace steps and the musical instruments to keep these going for hopefully many more years.
The ‘sub-tropical’ border by the shelter in the garden is still looking good. The Californian Tree Poppies are still flowering and the ornamental grapevine on the back wall has gone a rich purple, which the newly planted Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ complements. The Paulownia or ‘Foxglove Tree’ in this bed is coming on and we have just added Phormium ‘Platts Black’ to break up the solid green of the massed Romneya planting in this bed.
Japanese Anemones under the apple tree on the terrace are complemented by self sown Feverfews. Sometime the best plant combinations in a garden are those that make themselves, keeping a garden fresh and interesting from year to year.
We are planning on kicking off October with a grand plant sale! Our herbaceous borders are in need of division so the idea is to split the beds and then offer generous bare root clumps of perennial for £2-£3 / clump. A great and economical way to fill the beds in your garden. Date and times will follow, keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details!
I hope we have once more tantalised you with a glimpse of the garden this month, do make time to come and visit us again or even volunteer in the garden!
Can’t quite decide about August, some glorious days, but quite a lot of the wet stuff too! Still at least it meant less watering and the ability to work the ground up on the terrace beds occasionally as they weren’t like concrete all summer.
We have been busy having groups visit the garden this summer including the NGS Day, Aberaeron WI and two visits from different age groups at local charity DASH’s summer holiday programme.
If you would like to hold an event in our garden or use it for your group please contact us either by phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Really pleased with the terrace beds this year which are starting to reflect the amount of work we have been putting in and the replanting made possible by your donations.
Donated Crocosmiia possibly ‘Severn Sunrise.’ We have been broadening the planting up here to include more unusual and tender plants in this more sheltered part of the garden. The hot colour scheme is also working well and looking up at the terrace, particularly at this time of year the vibrant colours are very enticing.
We have been battling through the problems caused by theft whether it be theft of newly planted stock, or theft of crops while they are still in the ground. This year we again lost half of our onion crop and half of one variety of potato, the mess left behind is as annoying as the thefts;
We do our best to keep on top of harvesting our produce for sale to visitors, but this is balanced with providing a display for visitors and the simple demands on the time of our small, but hardy, team. Ironically if the people who take the time to come down and steal, became volunteers instead we would be on top of these jobs! We do have lots of produce for sale now by the Gardeners cottage, money into the stone cairn please, which goes straight back into the garden.
We have now lifted first and second early Potatoes Ulster Sceptre, Lady Christl and the blue fleshed Salad Blue. The remaining Maincrop potato is still in and looking attractive as this year we have not been bothered by blight as yet.
The Productive Gardens have come in for some much needed tidying this week as Borage has finally gone over after a bumper season and English Marigolds were looking tired too. The Dahlias now have space to come out and dazzle us into Autumn.
A new plant we trialled in one of the wettest beds in the garden, (previously infested with Garden Mint) is the large leaved Telekia speciosa with it’s lovely yellow daisy flowers.
Regular visitors to the garden will note some changes to the Woodland Walk that runs around the outside of the Walled Garden. Due to a dispute over the garden’s boundaries with our neighbours the section of the Woodland walk encompassing the Lime Walk is now closed to visitors. We are currently in negotiations and I will keep you posted as to how these go and the changes which will be made to the garden.
We are now beginning to look at purchasing spring bulbs ready for our Valentines Day NGS Open Day where we will be showcasing the garden’s collections of snowdrops, spring bulbs and other winter interest plants. I have a personal collection of Snowdrops (or Galanthus) and will be bringing some into the garden to display for visitors, hopefully including some yellow and heavily green marked flowers depending on what is looking best that weekend.
I am not sure where this summer has gone, it doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since we were wondering if we would have any Nasturtiums in the Veg garden as late frosts had wiped out the first round of self set seedlings now we are constantly trimming them back to keep the paths open. We are still well worth a visit though as the Phlox plants we spent much of last Autumn putting in are now starting to bloom extending our interest period further.
Certainly a wetter month than July last year we have even had enough rain to allow us to work on the beds on the sunny terrace which normally resemble concrete at this time of year. Inspired by Gwynfor Growers plant stall at St. Dogmaels Market I have now cleared a corner of the top right hand bed of the Phlomis russeliana to make way for an apricot and blue theme. Gorgeous long flowering Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ with Potentilla x tonguei and Hemerocallis ‘Pretty Maid in shades of apricot to orange. With an unusual blue Salvia (lets hope for another mildish winter) and Campanula ‘Pritchards Variety.’ More planting to follow as funds allow so please keep donating to the garden! The workable soil has also allowed us to stop the perennial sweet peas on the terrace from rambling everywhere and train them up bamboo wigwams where they will make more impact.
Sadly we have had a bit of vandalism, the lovely stone man in the round pond has been decapitated. We are working to get him fixed and returned to his rightful place guarding the entrance to the garden.
The veg garden is coming on with a bit of watering, we now have some fine cabbage, rainbow chard and distinctive nero di toscano kale. The nasturtiums and marigolds have returned from the early season losses to the frosts and the dahlias and sweet peas are coming.
We also have some gorgeous paeony flowered lilac opium poppies springing up around the garden and looking particularly good with the bright blue Borage in the veg garden.
The bed on the right hand side of the terrace which was kindly replanted by staff from HSBC this time last year is coming on in leaps and bounds with some judicious thinning of self-set plants. We have a haze of Verbena bonariensis softening bright red Crocosmiia ‘Lucifer’ and large flowered Penstemon ‘Charlotte Louise’ with white, pink spotted Campanula takesimana ‘ Alba’ in full flower now.
The roses are in full bloom and scent of course joined by the honeysuckles. We are hoping to plant for more scent throughout the year in the future which could be enjoyed by groups such as Aber Actif who came to see us last week. Many of their members are visually impaired, but the visitor which seemed to most enjoy the scented planting has to be the lovely guide dog with a particular interest in scented flowers.
If you would like to bring a group to the garden please get in touch, we are getting to be more popular and given our limited parking we are keen to avoid a clash of dates!
The rain has certainly kept us busy with a weekend of rain generating growth that feels like it should have taken a fortnight to produce. We have been trimming back flopping growth, staking perennials and hacking back the brambles to keep the woodland walk passable. We have also been giving perennials which have finished flowering a haircut in the hope of generating a second flush of growth ready for our National Gardens Scheme open day on the 2nd of August. The Chelsea chop we trialled on some geraniums appears to have worked for us too.
It is difficult to get any garden to look great every month of the year, but the heat generated in a smallish walled garden like ours can significantly shorten the flowering periods of our planting and bring them forwards. Because of this we have been trying to replant those beds towards the bottom of the walled garden (which have gaps from the removed Buddleja) with plants which flower in late summer – autumn too. A recent visit to Penlan Perennials brought us amongst other things 4 more varieties of hardy geranium in softer colours for the lower garden and a vibrant pink for the terrace beds. I always feel that if your garden lacks interest at as particular time of year that is the time to drag yourself out to your nearby nurseries and open gardens for inspiration. Too many of us fall into the trap of buying in spring only and then ending up with a garden largely interesting in April and May – though after a gloomy wet Welsh winter our desperation for colour could be forgiven!
Finally with the summer holidays looming we are trying to finish some more of the much needed maintenance work on the garden, we have now patched our disabled entrance ramp and we hope depending on donations to keep chipping away at our maintenance list. We also hope to have installed more much needed benches in time for the holiday season.
For anyone wishing to enquire about our holiday centre for people with special needs or disabilities please note that our telephone number has now changed.
What a strange old month June is freezing winds and baking hot days in the garden. Those walls sure can reflect the heat when they want to!
We did have a flurry of excitement with the discovery that our visiting ducks had made a home on the pond and raised 9 ducklings.
A few days later we had a reminder of the cruelty of nature when I returned to work to find Mother duck trying to get her remaining 4 ducklings to climb through the grill in the wall to move to safer accommodation. The tiny ducklings couldn’t leap high enough to follow her so I spent a busy half hour trying to catch them to reunite them with their mother.
Sadly I was unable to find where the last duckling had hidden himself and by this point mother duck had moved on. So ‘Bill’ remained on the pond and we fed him part of our lunches.
A few days later and mother duck was back calling loudly with no sign of the rest of the ducklings and Bill, cheeping back was still on the pond. Bill is no longer there, we can but hope the Mother duck returned for him. Nesting close to nests of Red Kite and Buzzards did not prove to be a good idea.
On a more positive note our replanting of the garden continues with a bed which was previously full of invasive garden mint being mulched and replanted. The theme of this bed is large leaves with unusual Telekia speciosa at the back with it’s yellow daisy flowers in late summer and Astilboides tabularis whose round leaves are supposed to grow to the size of a dustbin lid.
Other beds have had pockets of replanting to replace lost plants and are looking much brighter now.
We have been working on the bed next to the shelter this week, clearing the mass of willowherb and mulching our clay soil for moisture retention. We already have Tetrapanax and a mass of Romneya coulteri or Californian Tree Poppy in here and we are building on this tropical theme by adding ginger lilies or Hedychium. We also planted the large leafed foxglove tree, Paulownia tomentosa, New Zealand Flax and the honey spurge, Euphorbia mellifera. Most of these plants came from our plant swap with Stackpole Walled Gardens.
The veg garden is now pretty much planted up and will be a more floriferous potager garden this year with Zinnias and a new orange Cosmos ‘Bright Lights.’ We just need the cold winds to ease and then the soft leafed plants like our poor runner beans would be able to get going.
Your donations mean that we will shortly be doing some more maintenance works to the garden. We hope to be able to re-open the doorway (which was closed due to the doorframe being completely rotten) by the summer holidays.
I also did a presentation to Sainsburys Lampeter last week in the hope that The Ty Glyn Davis Trust could be their partner charity for the next year, we haven’t heard back yet, but fingers crossed.
We will also be hosting two events in the garden for local charity DASH in the summer holidays. If your charity would like to visit the garden or have an event here in conjunction with us please get in touch.
The garden is changing so rapidly at the minute with some plants growing 4 inches a week. Even a weekly visit would show you the difference in the garden.
We are preparing several beds ready for a mass replanting soon. Your donations from the stone cairn in the garden and the plant sales as well as contributing to the maintenance of the garden (works to the wheelchair ramp in the garden and sections of stone wall to begin soon) have purchased a few shrubs to fill the gaps of the buddlejas, reverted roses etc we took out over the winter and some trailing plants for the terrace beds. The lovely Cotinus dummeri ‘Grace’ is now planted at the bottom of the garden near Merlin. This dark leafed shrub has clouds of white flowers in summer, earning it the common name of Smoke Bush and gorgeous fiery red autumn colour.
The veg garden is coming along, the unseasonable cold has delayed plantings of things like courgettes, pumpkins and Dahlias, but we will get them in soon. Just hoping we don’t get too much rabbit damage.
Don’t forget our gentleman’s arboretum, the snowdrops have gone, the wood anemones too and the bluebells are starting to go over, but the trees themselves are still great to look at. Here we have (l-r) Cedrus deodara (The Deodar Cedar), self set ash tree, Fagus sylvatica Purpurea (Copper Beech) and original cherry laurel bushes about to flower. A soothing place to stroll with the sounds of the burbling stream in the background as you walk. We even spotted a Kingfisher in the garden this week.
You can see us this Bank Holiday Monday at the Aberaeron Garden Festival promoting the garden and holiday centre and collecting donations to continue our work.
That’s Apple blossom, bluebells and cold spell to you! The Apple trees are in full flower, though with the wind blowing the petals off and the cold spell putting the pollinating insects back to bed I’m not sure we are going to have the sort of crop we had last year.
The bluebells look and smell gorgeous all through our woodland walk and if you are looking to entertain the children a game of ‘spot the whitebell’ could be fun! There’s a few in there, you’ve just got to find them!
Being a gigantic frost pocket with heavy soil that dries out to dusty concrete in the drought we’ve had we have delayed planting out the veg garden so far. We had a ground frost last week that was enough to wipe out the Nasturtium seedlings that had ventured their heads above ground. We also have to sort out some sort of rabbit protection or risk providing a giant rabbit breakfast buffet. Over the next few weeks the potatoes and onion sets will go in and the seedlings carefully nurtured in both my greenhouse and a volunteers greenhouse will go out in the beds.
We finally have ducks on the biggest pond intermittently now too.
We are still doing lots of re-planting in the beds of plants which we think will tolerate our peculiar set of growing conditions better, clearing those plants which have taken over and re-planting where losses have occurred.
Also worth a smell is the Phlox divaricatus ‘Clouds of Perfume’ planted at the front of the borders for easy reach, in the background of this picture under the Buddleia are a few of the perennial honesty apparently much beloved by the great plantswoman Beth Chatto. Here’s hoping they do well for us.
Amazing to see things which are flowering well out of season confused by the mild winter we think, we have red hot pokers flowering now and Astrantia ‘Shaggy’ under the apple tree on the terrace, before the Aquilegia’s or columbines are out. Come along and see what you can see too.
There may be some disruption to the garden today as weather permitting we are going to have to reduce the height of the willow tree at the walled garden entrance. Doing my tree survey this week I have found a lot of rot in it and it looks to be slowly moving. Eventually we will have all our trees in the best health we can, it’s just taking us a while to get there! Thankyou for your patience while we do.
What a glorious few weeks in the garden, though I don’t think we will be too sad at the predicted end of the dry spell as the watering has begun! Some of the planting done a few weeks ago has had to be watered this week as it’s been so dry and everything new that we have put in this week has had a drink too. It did provide with an entirely new ‘EW!’ moment when I discovered that the reason my watering can wasn’t pouring out was the dead mouse blocking the spout.
The bluebells are coming out too in our woodland walk and even a few stray ones up on the terrace. The wood anemones are popping up all over too and look beautiful in the dappled sunlight. We are also coming into blossom season with the ornamental and fruiting cherries in full flower, the pear trees including the arch are looking good too. Another few days and the apple orchard will be out and looking amazing.
We are still busy trying to replant the areas we have cleared and in the main entrance bed by the donation cairn I have added Epimedium, Tellima grandiflora, Pulmonaria and Geraniums to brighten it up. We didn’t want too formal a planting scheme seeing this bed as a transition between the Victorian wilderness and the formality of the walled garden. We will be adding some bark chip to this to help the bed survive the dry shade and to help keep the weeds down to an acceptable level. Weeding a garden this size with the number of volunteers we have is always a challenge, but our team work very hard to keep it looking good.
Thankyou for your donations to the garden over the Easter holidays, they have paid for our seed potatoes, onion sets and some rhododendrons to be planted in the woodland garden and also a few perennials for the borders in the walled garden.
We have delayed planting out in the veg garden due to the dry weather as our clay soil dries out quickly, but this has given us time to add some organic matter to the soil and clear out the weeds better.
Hope you are enjoying the spring sunshine and you will keep visiting to watch the garden change and develop as the seasons progress and the alterations we have made to the planting schemes come to fruition.