We ventured along narrow winding lanes into the countryside of Powys our neighbouring county across the border into Wales. We were not the only ones out travelling these lanes on a mission on this sunny afternoon. Several members of the Shrewsbury Mini-Group, part of the Shropshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society, were meeting up at a woodland garden and nursery called Tan y Llyn.
The weather was bright. There is no better day to visit a woodland garden than a sunny one as it enhances the contrast between shade and light so well. Even the most ordinary plants such as this Cotoneaster and Yew look so good.
Any flowers in a woodland garden shine out from the shadows.
Dotted around Tan y Llyn are interesting objects and well-composed cameos.
Callum Johnston the garden owner also ran a little nursery specialising in alpines and herbs and he featured many of the plants for sale within a garden around his front door where plants were grown in a selection of pots and containers. They invited close inspection as did the sales benches close by in the shade of deciduous trees.
We were particularly drawn to this dry river bed of pebbles winding through the gravel of the driveway near the cottage’s front door. We immediately began to plan where we could try something similar out at home.
Callum admitted to an obsession – training, twisting and pruning willow into interesting structures. He also obviously loved hedge trimming where on occasion he lets his imagination run riot.
Callum had even trained willows to become bird feeding stations. The birds certainly liked them as did our Hardy Plant friends. Callum and his partner Brenda served us up with cream teas under the shade of trees alongside these feeders so as we reveled in our luxury teas we were entertained by the birds enjoying theirs.
Nearby herbs grew in a terraced border and added their scent and spice to the conducive atmosphere. As with many garden owners who like to share their garden, Callum and Brenda knew how to make us feel comfortable and relaxed.
A classic colour combination of yellow and blue attracted us. Closer to we realised that the yellow was provided by this stunning Lily.
One effective design trick used here was the use of enticing paths and it was very well used.
A final wander around these paths beneath and between the trees was called for after our tea and before we reluctantly left this special place in a wooded Welsh valley.
Callum accompanied us down the drive as he thanked us for visiting and for buying lots of plants. They were very good hosts. At the bottom of the drive we made one final discovery, another surprise conjured up by this truly unique garden. Another of Callum’s tricks with his pruners.