May 2010- sometimes like Spring, sometimes like Winter!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weather Report

At last in May things got moving and the narcissus finally finished after an extended flowering period; only the the late poeticus hung on, and the hellebores have started to set seed. The vegetables grew away under their blankets of horticultural fleece and with 3 nights of frost in the 3rd week of May (to minus 4C) they were glad of it, particularly the potatoes. Scarcely any rain in May, it has  been incredibly dry with some brown patches appearing already on the surrounding hills. Watering regularly the vegetables and newly planted areas.

Garden Update

All the worst of the winter was forgotten in the final week of the month with some unusually high temperatures for this part of Wales and plenty of sunshine. The growth has been incredible. Shrubs have flowered profusely particularly the magnolias and currently the various forms of viburnum and cornus around the gardens are covered with blossom. Best of all are the native hawthorns - you cannot see any green leaves for all the flowers and it is good to see so many wild and hive bees taking advantage of the bounty. Some nice honey to come I hope!

It has been a busy time in the garden and the nursery as we start to repair the ravages of winter and to fill the many gaps in the herbaceous borders and elsewhere. It is gratifying to see some signs of life in shrubs we thought we had lost, and even today some growth at the base of a large arbutus unedo suggests that all may not be lost. It was always going to make sense to be patient this year and it looks like that patience may be rewarded.

We have gone mad with sowing and propagating this year and sowed over 350 varieties of seed  so our visitors this year will be assured of a wide and interesting choice of plants for sale. My American hemerocallis seed is growing on well; I had 18 packets of seed from the American Hemerocallis Society in January and 12 of them germinated. They are all new crosses so it will be interesting to see the results in the next year or two.

What looks good at the moment

Some star plants of the moment are a magnificient range of aquilegias in all colours and shapes including from a batch of A. chrysantha seeds, a lovely peachy red with long spurs - a very unusual colour and one I have not previously seen. The meconopsis from Lingholm Hybrids seed  supplied by Plant World Seeds of Newton Abbot in Devon are flowering really well and there is nothing to beat the intensity of the colour or size of the blooms. They come easily from seed provided it is taken fresh in late July and sown straight away. Two years from seed to flowering plant is not bad for one of such exquisite beauty. Some of the Lingholm Hybrid strain can be reliably perennial and I hope that mine bulk up to flower in even more profusion next year. Continuing the poppy theme the orientals have just started flowering especially Beauty Of Livermere, a tall and true deep red which appears to have bulked up well in spite of the winter. This is true for many of the old border stalwarts:delphiniums, hardy geraniums, violas, phlox and campanulas in particular. Our dear old friends that have stood the test of time. However some tender things have surprised us. Dahlias overwintered in the garden are appearing as are salvia patens, lobelia tupa and impatiens tinctoria. That they have survived is possibly due to the the fact that although the winter was seriously cold it was very dry and they are all planted in very sharply drained soils


On the wildlife front the pied flycatchers raised their brood and its lovely to see them in the garden. No redstarts as yet and they are becoming scarce, having once been very common summer visitors here. The kingfishers are being seen again on the river as are the dippers. The warm weather has brought on the damselflies and a few dragonflies, and best of all the blue demoissels, the colour of midnight blue that prefer running water and just occasionally stray away from the river to show themselves magically on the Paddock Pond. Birdsong all day long, sunshine, warmth and lovely flowers to lift the spirits after a long and difficult winter.


Our visitor season starts in earnest in June. We have already had successful visits from Trecastle Ladies Guild and Hilliers Gardening Club, with more visits in June booked for Saga Holidays, Garden Tours of Holland, Furnace Garden Club and Carmarthen Garden Club. Such great fun and lovely people with monies raised for the National Gardens Scheme. If you would like to visit the Gardens either with a group or individually please get in touch to see what we can arrange. It would be lovely to share the gardens with you. All the cakes baked by Moira, inspiring but restful gardens, plants for sale and glorious countryside. What more could be asked in these troubled times?