April 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Snow on April Fools Day - someone is having a laugh!! No its true, snow in every month since December. Then dry with easterly winds from Easter Saturday until 24 April, adding to our stress levels and that of our plants. It has all been too much for the more tender ones and it is clear that we have lost numerous large shrubs, all the penstemons, lavenders, tree lupins, mallows, cistus, rosemary and myrtles. We await to see the fate of our dahlias, impatiens and salvias left in the ground as usual to overwinter. I always feared that pushing the boundaries of what we can grow in our frost pocket would come unstuck one day.....

On the bright side we have loads of seedlings and cuttings for the garden and plant sales coming on nicely in the polytunnels, plenty of vegetables in the ground and starting to grow away, the hostas bursting into lush growth, and all manner of herbaceous plants waking from their winter slumbers. Some early flowering ones are particularly good this year especially epimediums and the various forms of anemone nemerosa we grow. Some nice clematis macropetala too in bloom particularly Frances Rivis and Markham's Pink. Recently acquired they have settled well. Lots of narcissus still in bloom, well past their normal "sell by" date. The winter has played havoc with the lawns so another round of re -turfing is currently in progress, Grass growth in the surrounding fields is very slow and our farmer friends are complaining that they are still having to buy feed feed for their sheep.

On the wildlife front the Paddock Pond is overflowing with frog and toad tadpoles (or should that be toadpoles and frogpoles?!!). They are exclusively eating the blanketweed which has grown with a vengance in all the sunny weather and the golden rudd are showing themselves more often as the water starts to warm up. The summer migratory birds are returning and in the last few days (later than usual) the swallows and martins have returned and it's wonderful to see them again. Best of all is that a pair of pied wagtails are nesting in one of the boxes on an old alder along the riverbank. They are such tidy birds like waiters in tails and white shirts and busy all day long back and forward to their nest. We hope they raise their brood successfully because they are becoming scarce. No redstarts seen yet however.

April has been a busy month with garden talks at 4 clubs with just one more left before the winter/spring series ends. As usual we have great receptions from members and raised the profile of our gardens for the NGS, securing 3 more visits. We now have 10 group bookings for the summer with major tour operators Saga, Hilliers Garden Club and Gardens Tours, Holland all coming in June. Moira is chained to the stove baking cakes for Wales!! It would be lovely to welcome readers of this website to Cilgwyn Lodge so if you are not coming on one of the trips or can't attend our NGS Open Day on 25 July  between 1 and 5 pm please get in touch to arrange a convenient time for you to come from June to October.

Finally a nice day out can be assured at the annual Spring Plant Fair on May 3 at Hergest Croft, Kington, Herefordshire. Some really specialist small nurseries and other garden related products and a fabulous plantsmans garden, in the same family for over 100 years www.hergest.co.uk