This winter in Our Garden@19 has been busy with ‘Estate Maintenance’. I previously posted about replacing the trellis and fence in the white and green garden, then as now my brother Derek has been my right hand man.
Replacing the entrance to the propagation area was the simplest of our recent efforts. We gave it an oriental look.
Continuing with the oriental theme, our neighbour’s fence at the back of the oriental garden started to fall over with the weight of the ivy and snow. I decided to cut back the ivy and erect a new fence on my side.
Then painted it black to tie in with the rest of this area.
A moon window was added to look into the room.
Next on the list was rebuilding the raised beds.
The old obelisks I built when we came here were dismantled and rebuilt, hopefully with more style, to a design by Geoff Hamilton.
Broad Bean Scarlet Flower and Sweet Peas started in pots now planted out.
These early spring bulbs and flowers have been cheering me up on sunny days. Please click on gallery pictures to enlarge.
Back to the oriental garden.
In the rest of the garden…
The pollinators have also been taking advantage of the sunshine.
Why you should allow some ivy to grow in your garden.
I do grow some cultivated variegated forms, ivy does not produce any flowers until their adult growth stage when the leaf shape changes, usually at around 10years. They can be kept pruned to their juvenile stage and leaf shape when they will at least provide nesting sites for birds.
Prunus serrula is an all year round favourite tree in Our Garden@19. However at this time of year it is also popular with the bees, especially the honey bees. The flowers are quite small and insignificant compared to the bark. Standing under the canopy when in flower it is a buzz with bees.
You will need full volume to capture some of the sound, because the majority of the bees working in the top of the tree. I guess the nectar flow is greater there early in the morning, before the sun penetrates the canopy.
A friend sent this to me, I thought it was so appropriate I have now added it.
“Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In a cowslip’s bell I lie; There I couch when owls do cry. On the bat’s back I do fly After summer merrily. Merrily, merrily shall I live now Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”
The churchyard at Birlingham, Nr Pershore in Worcestershire has long been a pilgrimage for snowdrop lovers in the area. Bulb Teas are held each Saturday and Sunday in February until Sunday 24th February in the Village Hall from 11.00am to 4.00 pm.
The Grade II listed church of St James with its 15C tower, which at one time contained a dovecote, sits in the middle of the village by a small green, with the old school, now a private house, and the village hall.
We visited on Sunday, in glorious sunshine, and with the snowdrops starting to go over, crocus and cyclamen were taking their place.
A Cherry tree just outside the church wall was in full flower with honey bees taking advantage of the sunshine to gather nectar.
A colony of bees have made their home in the tower…
In this hole under the old clock face.
The church was open and had been decorated with flower arrangements.
The teas and cakes were proving to be very popular on this beautiful afternoon in this charming Worcestershire village.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales is one of our favourite places to visit in Wales.
“It is a charity dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity, to sustainability, lifelong learning and the enjoyment of the visitor.”
The National Botanic Garden of Wales was opened to the public on the 24th May 2000. We first visited in 2005.
The double walled vegetable garden was not open then, you could however view it from a platform. It has now been rebuilt from a ruin.
Our next visit was in 2013.
The 220m long avenue which divides the Garden is known as the Broad-walk.
One of the longest herbaceous borders in Britain, from spring to winter, this Garden provides a colourful welcome.
It begins at the Gatehouse, passing this water sculpture called Scaladaqua Tonda.
I particularly love this rill, it runs the full length of the Broad Walk, vanishing into pools along the way, starting at this dragon topped mirror pool.
This feeds water down into The Rill,
a meandering stream that flows down the Broadwalk with a shape and course that is inspired by Carmarthenshire’s Towy Valley river.
It then disappears into the Circle of Decision, a fountain shaped like the cross section of an ammonite,
The great glasshouse.
Designed by Foster and Partners, is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The structure is (312 ft) long and (180 ft) wide, with a roof containing 785 panes of glass.
The plants are divided into sections from Chile, Western Australia, South Africa, California, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean.
The Japanese Garden.
Designed by professor Fukuhara for the 2001 Chelsea flower show, it won a gold medal and best in show, after which it was recreated here.
“It is named Sui Ou Tei, a reflection of the national flowers of Japan and Wales – the cherry tree and daffodil. It consists of three traditional Japanese gardens – the Stream and Lake Garden, the Gravel Garden and the Tea Garden. Filled with symbolism and guided by Zen philosophy, this is a lovely place to sit and contemplate.”
This is a place of learning, perched upon stilts this wooden building is full of microscopes and study aids, here schoolchildren can get the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.
The Tropical House.
Situated in the Walled garden.
It was designed by the world-renowned Welsh architect John Belle, celebrated for his restoration of some of the most famous landmarks in the USA. It is home to tropical plants and a butterfly house.
The Double Walled Garden.
When it was built 200 years ago, the Double Walled Garden, at over three acres, could provide enough fresh fruit and vegetables for a household of 30 people, and employed 12 full- time gardeners.
The two walls, one brick, one stone, provided shelter from animals and the harsher elements, and created important microclimates where tender plants could grow. It is divided into four quadrants, each with its own distinctive pathway. Part of the vegetable garden is given over to local School Allotments, where the schools have built a plastic bottle greenhouse.
The Bee Garden.
You can end your exploration at the Stable Block, this houses the Seasons Restaurant, Gift Shop and Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery.
If you are planning to visit Wales during the year, we would recommend a visit to the Botanic Garden of Wales, there is much more to see than I have shown.
Today (Friday) was the first day of sunshine here and after too many days of rain, it does bring a song into your heart.
I ventured out into the garden to finish pruning the climbing roses, before I began, I decided to do a tour with the camera. The gardener’s friend, was as usual, keeping an eye on me while providing his own welcome tune.
The Mohonia in full flower, with the sunshine, brought the honey bees out from their hives.
They were also visiting the Clematis which scrambles all over it.
The Flowers and the Trees.
By the front door there are pots planted up for a seasonal display with Carex, Ferns, Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’, Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’, Thuja ‘Goldy and the…
…and a hellebore.
Another pot contains the Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’.
On the other side of the door an Euonymus is trained against the wall with Sarcococca confusa in front…
…the powerful scent from the Sacococca ( Christmas Box) fills the house every time the door is opened.
In the Oriental garden the Hamamelis is in full flower, I have mentioned before I would not recommend this variety, because it holds on to its dead leaves. I removed them all before taking this picture.
The sunshine was highlighting the Erica ‘Albert’s Gold’ by the entrance to the White and Green garden and the standard variegated Holly, Ilex ‘Argentea Margenata’ at the back.
Around the Holly are planters with variegated Myrtle, Tulips just starting to show and Vinca minor ‘Alba’
The snowdrops are beginning to open around the garden, especially where the sun reaches…
…the common double, which was given to me by a friend, are clumping up well, ready to divide later on…
…as is the winter aconite, although more slowly.
The Prunus Serrula always looks wonderful with the sunlight on its bark, its mug decorations ( Mug Tree) have so far survived the winter.
Around its roots is a Skimmia and variegated Ivy. Many gardeners fear ivy in the garden, I like to see it, the variegated forms are not so vigorous, while providing some colour to lighten a dark area of the garden along with being good for wildlife.
It is easy to ignore plants such as Skimmia when everything else is in full flower, however at this time of year they make a welcome contribution to the garden and this one below is a little more unusual than most.
The House Sparrows are gathering in the top of a Viburnum before diving down on to the ground feeders.
What ‘Birds and Bees, Flowers and Trees’ are making you sing in your garden?