June was busting out all over

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What a superb month! After all the stresses of the long winter and many cold, windy and frosty days and nights  who would have believed that gardens could ever be looking this good at the start of high summer.  No signs of any plant damage all over the gardens here and some of the best shrub flowering we have seen for many years. There are so many jobs to do everywhere with watering one of the busiest. Not just in the nursery but all over the borders as we started to plant out the remaining plants purchased recently, and those overwintered, like mature salvias.Priority watering is always the vegetable garden which is looking very well and catching up on the late sowings and planting out. Some rain would be welcome particularly in those parts of the UK affected by hose pipes bans. Fortunately none here yet and after all the rain we get throughout the year, we should hope not!!

Please accept my apologies for the late publication of this month's News as there hasn't been a chance complete it because of all the addtional pressing tasks to do, system problems and the loss of many of the pics I had taken during the month which is so annoying as there were some real treasures



A superb month and the best start to summer for some years. 24 days above 20C max 29.1 on 23rd.Lowest temperature 5C on 23rd. Precipitation on only 9days. Fields and gardens already beginning to look parched. As bad as I can remember it since 1976. Fortunately as mentioned above, no water restrictions yet even though some of the river levels have already dropped alarmingly: even our small river and the stream that feeds the Paddock pond.


Garden Update and what was looking good


Plenty  of good growth everywhere especially shrubs which were flowering their hearts out, mostly in shades of white. Lawns grew rapidly and were lush green after regular feeding. Vegetables required watering, bringing forward harvesting time of salad leaves, cabbages and broccolli. 

Honeysuckles flowering as well as I have ever seen them. Researching the named forms we have in the garden it was interesting to come across the family name to which honeysuckles belong - Caprifoliaceae -and their are some unlikely siblings which include many shrubs such as Abelias, Wiegelia, Leycesteria, Kolkwitzia, In total 860 species and 42 genera. A real eye opener!


Sadly although the cardiocrinums had formed good buds, flowering was only patchy with smaller flowerheads than normal which did not last as long as usual. Possibly due to the drought and hot sun even though all the plants are in what is good shade and retentive soil.


Wildlife and countryside.

Once again the weather has had a significant impact on the surrounding countryside and livestock are finding it difficult to search out sufficient green grass. With rivers and other minor watercourses starting to run dry there is also a problem for farmers to provide fresh water and fields have not had the chance to recover from the earlier grass harvest. It seems very strange not to see the green fields which are a particular feature of this part of West Wales.

Not many butterflies yet but other insects are having a bumper time of it. Dragonflies and damsel flies were much earlier than usual. Not having seen them for some years I am upset to have lost pictures of that most beautiful of damselflies, the blue demoiselle which were everywhere up and down the small river, running water being their preferred habitat. They are the colour of deep saphire.

All manner of birds appear to have had a good breeding season, the swallow numbers have increased and at last the redstarts put in a appearance  bringing the fledgings into the garden on most days. Ironic really that a bird  so quick it is difficult to capture with the camera,I took some nice pics but cannot account for them!! or show them to you.



We managed to find time to go garden visiting during the month, mostly to local gardens either public gardens like Aberglasney and Picton Castle, or National Gardens Scheme gardens, including a new entrant to the Scheme this year. Nantyietau, New Mill Road, St Clears, Carmarthenshire SA33 4HF. It opens by arrangement June - August. Please ring Matt Richards 01994 231345. Admission £4. It is a truly fascinating garden with a wide range of rare and unusual  plants, an equally compelling managerie of birds including peacocks, geese, chickens and quail. In heated indoor conditions there are also snapping turtles from USA and China,  some fine Koi Carp and regularly topped up tropical butterflies and moths. very well worth a visit before the garden closes. 


Once again please accept my apologies that this News Item does not reach the high standards I aspire to. Hopefully the July News, which swiftly follows this, will be more like you have been used to. and that I am able to find all the pics I took in July!!