Yay, we've finally made it to our Welsh retreat, something I've been dreaming of for nearly 18 months. Feels so good to be able to walk round the garden, despite the neuropathy - I'm determined not to let it spoil my enjoyment. The cuckoo's calling and the house martins are swooping and swirling in the air, scooping up the dreaded midges, then back to their nest-building in the eaves. As Lionel, our previous owner, used to say It's God's own country - and that feels just about right.
|Lionel's namesake hosts a fine house leek hairdo!|
Vic and Roy, who've been looking after everything while we've been gone, have done a good job. However, I can't help feeling that a garden seems to recognise the people who have built and nurtured it by springing to life and seemingly putting a smile on its face. It's as if it's waking up from a long sulk, and thankful that you're back, wants to make sure you don't abandon it again.
There's much to be done here, in both the hard graft and the gentle pottering, so I won't be loitering for long, but just wanted to share with you some of the treasures around the garden.
Before I do this though, I must tell you about the poor little black cat who's been holding our two cats siege ever since we got here four days ago.
|Here she is strutting her stuff|
So... we're not sure what to do with her - RSPCA is one option, but hesitate to do that as the nearest one is 10 miles away, and her family is probably more local. If we didn't come and go so much we'd be happy to keep her, but don't feel comfortable taking her back to York with us.
|Django trying to ignore her creeping up on him from behind|
First thing I noticed was this beautiful herbaceous peony.
Then these two very different tree peonies caught my eye.
Next were all the camellias dotted around in variety, mainly white and red flowering now as it's the tail end of their season and the earlier pinks had finished.
Then the biggest surprise of all was the Rhododendron sinogrande, planted ten years ago in the front garden, which had never flowered once in all those years! Only two large blooms but they were definitely worth waiting for - never held much store by that old chestnut everything comes to those who wait. but certainly true of this tardy beauty.
|Also good to see this Azalea "Blue Tit" in bloom, she's rarely been seen in such good heart|
|Couldn't bear to leave out the fabulous hellebores. This really is the tail end, most are done now, but they all work so hard to liven up the garden throughout the barren months from February until they fizzle out in May|
|This one has covered a large old birch which we pollarded as it was obstructing |
the view from the house - sadly it took offence and never came back 😪
|This one grows outside the studio and I love its tetrarose deep pink|
|And finally this one grows over the end of the barn|
So now we've more or less covered all the show-offs, we come to the sweet surprises and volunteers popping up sometimes where you least expect them.
|Like this aquilegia (grannie's bonnet) in the paving on the terrace, |
with the sweet little Welsh poppy behind...
|...or this Soloman's seal volumteer by the studio......|
|....or this gorgeous camassia, a relic of many planted years ago, which have all but|
disappeared - methinks providing a good supper for the field mice😪
|These chrome yellow spurges place themselves thoughtfully in shady parts|
|...and this is one of my favourite euphorbias - Fireglow. She certainly does just that and looks great against a dry stone wall. The jury's still out on the berberis behind - colour's fine, but not keen on the prickles|
|Amazing to watch the fiddlehead ferns unfurling, pure joy with their spring green|
|Dublin Botanic Gardens |
© Marilyn Fenton
|Just a perfect little pot!|
|Like the little English bluebells in the part we refer to as the orchard. Wishful thinking, as.in fact every attempt to grow fruit there has failed, whereas stooled willow and dogwoods thrive there. Lesson here - I must practise what I preach 🙂|
The bog garden with a lone iris in bloom in the foreground, skunk cabbage to the right
and the majestic, if rather triffid-like Gunnera manicata just waking up in the background
|Looking the other way into a part of the garden where fruit is happier, there are several sweet chestnuts, |
a walnut, a damson, an apple and a plum
|London Pride and sedum enjoying the protection and warmth of the piggery walls|
|House leeks and thyme also love it between the stones here|
|Here's the full picture|
Latest bulletin on Lyra is that she's doing quite well and gaining weight on her NG tube, though no progress as yet on eating. The physio is pleased with her weight-bearing, although she's a long way from taking any steps. Her paediatrician thinks it's going to be a long haul of 3-6 months in hospital, but at least everyone feels the problem is being addressed and hoping this will put her on the road to a full recovery.
Thanks for dropping by, more anon x
Postscript on the little cat: We eventually found his family - hmmm, that's right, HIS family. He's so small we thought he was a female on heat, but he's actually Buzz, an un-neutered Tom. His behaviour was perplexing, growling and yowling all night long. We know now why our cats, being the wimps they are, were always cowering and trembling inside. Turns out he belongs to a family further down the valley who are there sporadically for long weekends, leaving him with a self-feeding system in their barn. We had actually found another home for him in the next valley with some friends, which would have been a better solution for us, but for the moment he's happily reunited with his first family. Unfortunately we think he'll be back every time we're here, as he's obviously lonely and quite happy to laud it over our gentle giants. Sadly that doesn't suit our cats at all 😕