February 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's a great experience and a thrill to launch our new website and we hope you will enjoy reading about our garden. We have been opening for the National Gardens Scheme for 10 years and raised over £12,000 for the charities supported by the NGS. Our Open Day this year is on Sunday 25 July from 1.00 - 5.00pm and it would be good to welcome you. If you can't make it then why not get in touch with us to arrange to come at another time? We are open for visitors by prior arrangement between June and October:also for coach parties up to 50 people. We are 12 miles from Aberglasney Gardens and 18 miles from National Botanic Gardens for Wales so a visit to Cilgwyn Lodge could easily be combined with one of those gardens.

We aim to provide a monthly update on what's happening in the gardens - and hope that when things get really busy from May onwards we will be able to keep this up!

So here goes - what has January been like as if you didn't know already! Like almost everywhere else it has been snowy and very cold with 2 nights of temperatures at -16c which is a record in our time here. It is the first time that we have had no hellebores in bloom during January and they do look pretty sorry for themselves. However they are tough and can be relied upon to give a good show later in the Spring. The snowdrops are just beginning to flower but stars of the garden at the moment are the cyclamen coum which have been flowering well since before the snow and will go on until March.They are worth growing in a shady, well drained spot and with the help of ants, seed around over the years to give sizeable clumps.

There are worrying signs of stress on some plants especially ceonothus, cistus, lavateras, lavenders, penstemons and drimys winterii. We will have to wait until April or early May to see how many have come through. It pays to be patient as some of them may come back, and sad as it is to lose mature plants it presents another planting opportunity. We fear too for some perennials particularly kniphofias, crocosmias and salvias, but most notably the dahlias which we have left in the ground for the last 10 years, but will they make it this year?

We took plenty of cuttings from half hardy and tender plants during the Autumn (things like penstemons, cistus, salvias, diascias, abutilons, arctotis, verbenas and fuchsias) which are growing away well in the polytunnels and greenhouses. It has been expensive to keep them heated at just above freezing but the majority of mature overwintering plants are still alive. We have also started the mammoth task of seed sowing on heated benches and have over 300 varieties to sow between now and April. Sweet peas, leeks, early lettuce and cabbage are through and its a very exciting time of year as seedlings start to show. We need to keep them growing and keep damping off and botrytis at bay. With the nights slowly getting lighter we can feel our own sap rising with all the promise of Spring to come. Let us hope that February brings some respite and that we and and our beloved plants can flourish,

If you feel like a day out in February why not visit the Winter Gardening Weekend in Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, which takes place on 19, 20 and 21 from 10.00am - 5,00 pm. There are displays, plants for sale and a range of talks on various topics by a range of speakers. Keith will be speaking on the 20th. His subjects are Growing Vegetables and The Magic of Hellebores. For more information please go to www.llandysul-ponttyweli.co.uk