Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – part 3 – Cardigan

We made our way to the coastal town of Cardigan a short drive from where we were staying for our Pembrokeshire holiday, mainly to visit the castle. In fact we found the town itself to be a very interesting place as well as the castle.

There was so much colour in the town’s main streets, with houses and businesses painted in all sorts of shades.

   

We found Cardigan to be a quirky little town which was a most enjoyable place to wander around. The castle would be our next port of call.

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Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – part 4 – Cardigan Castle

As promised I am now sharing with you my photos taken at Cardigan Castle. As you will soon see it is a very varied place featuring all sorts from a celebration chair to a sword and from an allotment to a pillbox!

Enjoy this selection of my photos!

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour which is somewhat of a mystery tour!

 

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Simply Beautiful – Dahlias – no 35 in an occasional series

For this post in the occasional series I feature the brightly coloured flowers of Dahlias, a plant that has been “out of fashion” for a few decades but is gaining in popularity all over again. Much of this is due to the plant breeders developing cultivars with darker foliage and simpler flowers. The new revolution probably began with the release of the Bishop of Llandaff with its bright red almost orange flowers and deep bronze-purple foliage.

The photos below are of a selection we found at the gardens of Biddulph Grange. The first shot was taken looking down onto the Dahlia borders.

Who knows what my next post in this occasional series might be? We have to wait until something inspires me enough to take a short series of photos.

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Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – a week away in June – Part 5- Dyffryn Fernant

Dyffryn Fernant is one of those gardens that makes such a lasting impression that I can walk through it in my mind in great detail whenever I wish to. It is one of the best gardens we have ever visited, so atmospheric and so romantic, with such a great choice of plants all beautifully and sensitively combined to show each at its best. It even had a library of gardening books where we were able to shelter from the rain and enjoy drinking coffee.

You know this is going to be a special garden when you feel so welcome as you approach the house.

The library was a great place to shelter from the showers, a place for coffee and cake and a place to study some great gardening and art books. In front of this lovely deep pink building was an area of planting, really original planting with interesting plants.

Sculpture adds so much to good gardens giving them a lift. Gardens can provide great places to display sculptural pieces including found objects of interest. This was definitely the case at Dyffryn Fernant.

 

We really enjoyed the planting and the atmosphere at this wonderful garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Garden Journal 2019 – September

Into September now so here is a look at my Garden Journal 2019 for that month. I first decided to look at some of the many berries in our patch. We grow dozens of berry-bearing shrubs and trees. I wanted to feature some of our many Hypericum inodorum cultivars with their many different colours of berries.

“September sees the start of the berry season when our berrying trees and shrubs show more colour, from white to black and lemon to deep red. These were all planted to help birds survive, especially members of the thrush family both native and European visitors. Hypericum is the shrub that has the biggest range of coloured berries.”

I selected just 6 to photograph, but we grow a good dozen or so cultivars.

And so onto the next double page spread and garden wildlife takes centre stage, along with some seedheads discovered in our patch in September.

About the wildlife I wrote, “Our garden is always gifting us surprises, and this month our wildlife seems to be at the core of garden surprises. The first unexpected visitor was an unusual Pheasant, a male Black Pheasant, one of a very localised group centred around village of Plealey. This one is coming out of a moult so not as dramatic looking as usual. Much smaller but equally strange are these black and green, beautifully marked larvae. We had never seen them before but these were seen on the beans of our Runner Bean plants. We guessed they were Shield Bug larvae but had to look them up to identify them as Green Shield Bug larvae.”

We also spotted an unidentified fly and a hoverfly.

I then shared a set of my sketches of seedheads found in our garden. I used Japanese Brush Pens to paint the Commelinas and pencil crayons for the poppy seedheads.

Next I shared some of the garden tasks we got up to in September. I wrote, “Here are a few of the garden jobs we have carried out in September. We continued collecting seed, we painted our metal garden furniture and potted up a fern, Osmunda regalis which needs moisture. We planted it in a pot with a reservoir in its base. We even found time to create a new garden feature, a rope swag for roses and clematis. We also put together a selection of plants together on our sales table.”

I then went on to share how we made the rose swag, “The new Rose Swag allowed us to treat ourselves to visiting some nearby nurseries, where we bought roses and clematis and a whole lot more of course. Creating this feature meant banging deeply into the ground tall 3 inch diameter rustic poles eight feet apart and then swagging the rope from one to another. We planted a rose and a clematis up each pole.”

Rosa ‘James Galway’

Clematis ‘Blue Angel’               Rosa ‘Wollerton Old Hall’

Over to the next double page spread and clematis take centre stage. I wrote, “We returned from our nursery visits with more clematis than we needed but soon found homes for them all! If I list the roses and clematis on the swag, I will list them starting on the right end of the border and go left wards.”

Rosa ‘Bobby James’ with Clematis tangutica ‘My Angel’

Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’ with Clematis viticella ‘Queen Mother’

Rosa ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ with Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

Rosa ‘James Galway’ with C. vit. ‘Venosa Violacea’ plus C. ‘Romantika’

Rosa ‘Paul’s Scarlet Climber’ with C. florida ‘Pistachio’

The newest additions to our ever growing Clematis collection. We must try to list all the clematis we have one day and see just how many we grow!

 

From flowering climbers I then moved on to plants specifically grown for their interesting foliage and I wrote, “I have featured Persicaria before and tended to focus on all the different coloured poker flowers of Persicaria amplexicaulis cultivars. So for a change I went out into the garden to photograph those different Persicarias we grow for their foliage.”

Because I am currently writing a new talk for gardeners I decided to feature some of the many plants we grow specially for their interesting foliage. I wrote, “It is easy to comment on flowers and their colours when writing about gardens at the expense of  foliage. Foliage is the unsung hero of our gardens and deserves more recognition. I am going to title my talk ‘Foliage – the unsung hero of our gardens.’ “

The photos below are of a small selection of the many foliage plants we enjoy.

So that is my September journal entries. I shall be back at the end of October.

 

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Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – a week away in June – Part2 – A Coastal Walk

After enjoying our coastal walk in Cornwall last year we looked forward to exploring part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path. We spent much of the walk looking at the wildflowers growing close to the track and out to sea watching black and white plumaged Oyster Catchers flying in formation quickly flirting with the waves. In every bay gulls of many different sorts called from their nesting ledges to their partners bringing in food. The noise level and excitement level rose sharply whenever Peregrines or Sparrow Hawk flew close by. All along the walk we were accompanied by Kestrel hovering and eyeing up the short grasses below them in search of small mammals. In the scrubland along the clifftops on both sides of the paths small songbirds entertained us every moment of our walk, Wren, Dunnock, Linnet, Pippets, Blackbirds and Goldfinches.

Aberporth was the starting point for our coastal trek, and this little coastal village was a very colourful place. It took us a while to find the beginning of the path and we seemed to make a few false starts before finally getting going.

The local planners were not averse to letting architects design modern homes to contrast well with the cottage style prevalent throughout the village.

Once on the path proper we caught site of the headland we decided to aim for. It looked so far away. The path took us along the cliff tops and we spotted so many interesting beautiful wildflowers along the way and also this brightly coloured beetle on a dandelion flower. When we reached our destination the path dropped down steeply and we were able to walk on the beach for a while.

Here steep cliffs towered above us, in places green with algae.

The wooden footpath sign directed us back to Aberporth and as usual the return journey took us half the time of the way out. But we discovered just as many interesting wildflowers as we did on the way there.

   

We still have not decided where our next coastal holiday will be but it will definitely be where there are accessible walks close to the sea.

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Pembrokeshire Coast and Gardens – a week away in June -Part 1 – Cae Hir

As autumn creeps in slowly I will look back at a holiday week back in mid-summer as a reminder of what a great year we have had.

In June we decided to make the three hour journey across mid-Wales and then down the coast to Cardigan . We had a brilliant varied week marred only by the rain which hovered above us most days. But being gardeners we didn’t let it beat us – we just donned waterproofs and ignored it the best we could. We visited the coast, followed a coastal path, visited Cardigan the town and castle and of course discovered a few beautiful gardens.

On the day that we journeyed down we stopped off towards the end of our journey to explore a garden partnered to the RHS, called Cae Hir. We loved its mix of cultivated plants living happily with wilder cousins, which made for a warm, gentle atmosphere. Being a small garden we had the chance to spend time with the head gardener, who spoke of the achievements of his father setting up the garden from a barren hillside and the challenges ahead for himself as owner/head gardener. We enjoyed several cups of coffee with him accompanied by cakes of course.

Cae Hir Gardens welcomed us with bright grasses and Welsh Poppies, setting the tone for what we were to experience throughout the gardens.

Cae Hir garden is an atmospheric hillside garden full of choice plants and path choices. We enjoyed some special roses which we needed help to identify, one climber being Leo’s Eyes, a deep cerise R. rugosa and a deep red single flowered rose which even the owner could not identify for us.

There were intimate areas where the planting enclosed us but soon after clear green areas opened up before us changing the mood of the garden constantly.

Occasionally a more formal feature surprised us amongst the gentle naturalness prevalent in the rest of the garden, a piece of topiary or a rectangular pool.

The garden was a balance between woodland and open spaces, and its atmosphere was led by the mix of cultivated and wildflowers. We particularly liked the long sweeps of geraniums and a circular garden based on reds and purples.

 

This lovely garden had one more surprise up its sleeve, awaiting us in an hedged rectangle of garden – a bonsai garden! So our time here was a true box of delights revealing its secrets to us as we explored.

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