April Sunshine and Lockdown in Cothi Gardens; Sally the Slug and Harry the Hare

As the Covid -19 lock down is maintained and we move into April with no clear exit strategy, I’m guessing we’re all feeling incredibly fortunate to be living in this wonderful part of the world, with our gardens to appreciate in what must be one of the best runs of dry weather we’ve had in ages. (Whisper – we could really do with some rain soon…).

In the absence of any meetings in the near future I’m very grateful for those members who’ve sent photos and information on their gardens to me or Elena recently.  Having just acquired a replacement granny phone (thanks of course to Fiona for sorting this) which I need for receiving SMS messages to log in to this website (the first got trashed last Saturday when I came off my bike at speed in the forestry), I can now upload these insights below:

Alison Williams sent these lovely photos of spring flowers from her garden : 


Anne Thomas sent me this background on what she’s been up to recently :

Well we have been creating a new raised bed in what was an untidy corner (one of many) and laying some slabs and creating a new bed in a corner that housed the oil tank until last month. Have a lot of Hellebores so have put some in the new area and a couple of Acers bought at one of the garden talks. And the good news is that online ordering still seems to be happening with plants!

New raised bed. I think I will plant some tumbling plants above stone wall (built by me when we put in the greenhouse).


Interesting daffodils ( ? Oxford gold)


I think we should feel very lucky living where we do in these difficult times. Must be awful stuck in a flat with children. We don’t need to see or speak to anyone other than the sheep!

Keep safe. I look forward to seeing other gardens.
Anne Thomas


Derek Marshall sent me this:

Raised bed evolution season by season!
The ground is so wet here that we needed to give some depth to the beds, hence raised beds. Originally with mole earth and compost, now supplemented with sand, grit, farmyard manure, more compost and ash from the Rayburn in combination or composition depending upon the intended planting for each bed.


The near bed has been prepared but needs to have holes burned when Tina wants to plant brassicas; the bed on the right still has Leeks; the bed on the far left is now planted with onions, and the central bed is still a bit of a hodge podge mess needing to be tidied up prior to reuse this season.
The fabric is heavy duty, keeps the soil warm and moist, and in combination with the holes reduces weeds, and weeding, tremendously, and the incidence of slugs is also much reduced. I use a small kitchen blowlamp to create the holes. It has many advantages: it is more accurate, easy to use, seals the holes as they are burned so no fraying, and therefore minimises errors on an otherwise potentially expensive resource, the fabric. By this method, and secure fixing by stapling, the fabric normally lasts 3 years, so also defraying the initial cost.
It is clear that Tina is the gardener in our family, but I can complement her efforts by creating structure, and I am weeder in chief, so it all helps.
Aren’t we fortunate at this time to have outside space to relax in, to work in, and to grow in? Additionally I anticipate that in the near future all our efforts to grow our own food will not only be beneficial, but necessary.


I think one of the (few?) benefits of the current crisis might be getting everyone to have to slow down and think about what’s really important.

So here’s a new fable in pictures for these troubled times from our garden – the Tale of Sally the Slug and Harry the Hare….

Harry the hare spent all day racing at speed, from dawn till dusk, getting hotter and hotter, and more and more anxious. But didn’t get anywhere. And ended up exhausted and turned to rusting iron.

(Many thanks to Martin and Angela for this wonderful prop! Click here for their website for any distant readers!)

Meanwhile in the greenhouse, Sally, the slimy slug, who spent all night very slowly slithering to the very apex to graze on algae and leaves, decided as light began to tinge the Eastern sky, to take the scenic route down. So abseiled down her own strong and sticky, slimey thread. And enjoyed a wonderful view as the sun rose and warmed her slowly spiralling body as she inched towards the floor. With plenty of time to think about what she was going to do for the rest of the day, and hardly a care in the world.

( Apologies for gender inaccuracies – slugs are hermaphrodites, but it doesn’t work as well with “it”).


Some of our favourite spring bulbs right now which always make me forget about the hard work last autumn crow-barring them into the ground.  In particular the largely white Nacissus “Thalia” and “Actaea”, and Tulip “Flaming Purissima” :


It would be lovely to hear from more members about their favourite plants, or things in their gardens as we go through the next few months. Why not write a few words and send an image or two, preferably resized down to less than 1 MB? I can’t promise to put everything up online immediately, but usually within a fortnight, and it’ll be a great way of keeping in touch, and passing on information.

Or use the Cothigardeners Facebook Page.

You can send things to me at:

Cothigardeners@gmail.com

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