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Pont Faen – another lock down garden in Powys

We visited another NGS garden in Powys as we continued our way through lock down, this time the garden was on the edge of the town of Knighton. Pont Faen was owned and garden by a retired farmer and his wife.

The garden wrapped around the house and had a colourful collection of alstroemeria, several roses, dahlias and many bright coloured patches of rudbeckias.

   

All these collections of colourful plants were scattered around a garden of lawn and large sweeping borders, which allowed us to see large parts of the garden at the same time.

The gardeners here have a wonderful use of foliage either in clumps of species together such as these hostas or integrated into borders as a foil for the flowering plants.

Another interesting garden visit to help cheer us up while locked down – so enjoyable!

 

 

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The Tree of Life

During lockdown we were also shielding because of my vulnerable status due to a blood condition and COPD so during that time we were unable to meet up with others. Towards the end of that period we were due to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary with friends and family. Sadly this could not happen but we do have a special gift from Jude the Undergardener’s mother, Sheila which has now taken pride of place in one of our sitting areas.

It is a corten steel relief sculpture of a Tree of Life, which looks wonderful against a newly painted brick wall. It features three birds enjoying its branches.

This beautiful silhouette can be seen along a long view down the central path from the .bottom of the garden. Lovely to look at as we walk up the path back towards the house.

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Some NGS gardens open by timed tickets – part 1 – Bachie Uchaf

After not being able to visit any gardens during the lockdown period, due to government guidelines, it was great when some lifting of the lockdown rules allowed gardens using a timed pre-booked ticket only system to open. The RHS, NT and our very own NGS (Yellow Book Gardens) all made plans to make this safe.

We opened our own garden along with our next door neighbour on the 2nd and 3rd July, which was great success. But we also started visiting our NGS gardens too.

The first of these was Bachie Uchaf a garden not far away in Powys. It felt great to be out enjoying someone else’s garden. Between the car park on a rough part of the farmyard and the house itself we passed some impressive plant combinations which gave us ideas of what we had to look forward to in the main garden.

The garden is set at the head of a valley so afforded impressive views out into the Welsh countryside.

This was a garden divided up into ‘rooms’ but still afforded us long vistas within its quarry bottom setting.

Bachie Uchaf surprised us with its unusual quarry bottom setting but also by the imaginative planting and use of space availability by the gardeners/owners. One final area that impressed us in particular was a steep rock face planted with succulents mostly sedums. Very unusual and cheerful.

 

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Into Wales for a Post Lockdown Garden Visit

We never expected to find a beautiful garden at the end of a long narrow farm track with grass down its centre, but we did! We were going to visit an NGS garden in the neighbouring county of Powys. The garden in question was ‘Moel-y-Gwelltyn-Ucha, a steeply terraced cottage garden situated at 900 feet above sea level, a truly challenging spot to create a garden.

When we finally arrived at the property we parked close to the five bar gate to the garden and  were warmly greeted by the owners/gardeners. Walking alongside the cottage walls the planting against them gave us an idea of what was to come so we couldn’t wait to get started.

This was a garden with a superior borrowed landscape, gently rolling farmland and the sounds of birdsong, lost lambs and old tractors.

The garden itself also had a peaceful atmosphere which made us feel very relaxed. Gravel paths followed the contours of the slope and the terraces and by following each one and exploring around every corner the garden revealed more and more of its secrets.

A large wildlife pond took up a position centre stage. We came across it several times during our exploration and it sat beautifully within the overall design of the garden.

Surprises always add so much to a garden’s character.

 

Some interesting plants stopped us in our tracks as we moved around the garden, all beautifully healthy and in many cases very well matched to partners.

        

I shall continue with a few views of the garden from each level.

     

Two final photos of superb plant combinations.

 

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Are You Sitting Comfortably – 15

Another of the lost garden seat posts – no 15!

This is my 15th post in this occasional series dedicated to the humble garden seat, a garden feature I am fascinated by, by the huge variety of designs, by the large number there are around and by how varied they are in comfort level!

This first selection are all at Powys Castle close to Welshpool. What a variety!

               

I am ready now to search for another fascinating collection of seats to try out in the gardens we plan to visit. See you with Collection 16!

 

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My Garden Journal 2020 – August

Back for another delve into my garden journal, this time to see what I had entered during the month of August. Enjoy sharing it with me!

I began by looking at a few of our colourful borders, “August, the traditional summer holiday month, but to us it is more a time to sit back and enjoy our garden”

Below are the four photos featured on this page.

On the opposite page white blooms are featured, “Until a few years ago I did not enjoy white plants in the garden but recently I have developed a liking for them.” The photos show “White blooms with coloured centres.”

 

Turning over the page are a selection of photos of some of our Hypericum inodorum shrubs, “This month several of our trees and shrubs have finished flowering and their berries are colouring up.”

Two plants feature on the opposite page to the hypericum, a lily and a fritillery, where I shared a photo and an i-Pad sketch.

The next collection of plants to be featured are daylilies or hemerocallis, of which we have over thirty different cultivars. I wrote, “Our collection of Hemerocallis adds so much to our garden, where we have planted them in virtually every border. Each individual flower lasts but one day but more keep coming to replace them. You can eat them too!”

 

On the page opposite I shared a watercolour painting of the beautiful Lysimachia ‘Firecracker’.

Over the page to the next double  page spread we discover photos of agapanthus on the left hand page and a little rodent visitor to our garden on the right. About agapanthus I wrote, My flowering plant of the month of August is agapanthus. We grow a collection in our gravel garden called the ‘Beth Chatto Border.”

About the rodent I wrote, “Common Shrew live throughout our patch, surviving for just one year they live heir life at speed. We see them as they rush from one border to another, not wishing to be spotted by one of our many birds of prey who frequent our garden, Kestrel, Sparrow Hawk, Owls and Merlin. We welcome shrews as they enjoy slugs and snails as snacks.”

I really enjoyed the challenge of sketching a Common Shrew using watercolour paints and fibre pens.

My journal for August finishes with more pictures of colourful plant combinations and communities we have created in our garden. “Our patch is a very colourful place in mid-summer with each border home to a variety of flowering herbaceous perennials.”

We will see my garden journal again in September.

 

 

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Are you sitting comfortably? – Part 7 in this very occasional series

When checking through my past posts in this series I actually found 4 that I had prepared but never posted, so here is the first rather late as it is No 7! Enjoy anyway!

We will began my seventh selection of seats found in gardens I visit with Jude the Undergardener aka Mrs Greenbench, with a selection we discovered while exploring the wonderful Lake District. We will begin in the garden at Hill Top, where the seating was all very rustic.

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The selection at Ruskin’s Garden, Brantwood was even more rustic and fitted well in their environment.

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The seat we loved most of all at Brantwood was a big throne of slate slabs which was Ruskin’s Seat where he sat and thought and did much of his writing.

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In complete contrast the seats at Holker Hall were very varied both in design and materials they were constructed from.

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So that is it for my 7th post in this very occasional series of posts on garden seating. i hope you found them comfortable and enjoyed the views from them. I will be compiling number 8 as soon as this is published so we have lots more seats to sit upon.

 

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Are You Sitting Comfortably? – No 18 in an occasional series

Here we are with the 18th post in this series all about garden seats which we discover and like on our many garden visits. I will cover gardens we visited in the spring, beginning with Whitlenge Gardens and Nursery, a garden designed to spotlight the owners garden planning business. I hope you enjoy looking at the selection.

We visited our friend Julie’s garden with our Hardy Plant Society mini-group and found a few chairs there too, including a set of four pieces made by her son, beautiful simple pieces sitting in a shaded woodland area.

 

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garden design garden photography gardening half-hardy perennials Shrewsbury Shropshire succulents village gardens Yellow Book Gardens

Succulents in Flower

We grow dozens of succulents especially aeoniums and echeverias. We love them because they give us wonderful variations in foliage, texture, colour, pattern and shape, but they all will throw up a flower spike on occasion. This week we suddenly had a few flowering all at once, so enjoy my photos!

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Gardening in lockdown – new Sempervivum

Each spring I try to buy some new House Leeks, Sempervivum. This year though we couldn’t go out and choose some from nurseries due to “lockdown” so it was a case of ordering online. But it was exciting opening the packaging!

Here are some of my new acquisitions – enjoy! The beauty is in the detail.

The first two photos show selections planted out into two trugs, one wooden and one  a traditional Sussex Trug.

One set I bought had tasty names all named after fruity items which also related to their colours.

Sempervivum ‘Berry Cherry’                            Sempervivum ‘Cranberry Cocktail’

Sempervivum ‘Appletini’                                   Sempervivum ‘Cinnamon Starburst’

The others below are equally beautiful and interesting but came simply called mixed collection.

I will finish off with one more named variety which has lots of babies beginning to grow around its perimeter which will become useful cuttings later this summer.

Sempervivum ‘Big Cherry’