Frank Cabot – Les Quatre Vents; Christmas Buffet; Sad News

Les Quatre Vents – slideshow illustrated DVD lecture by Frank Cabot

At our November meeting rather than having a speaker we opted to show a film by Frank Cabot of his garden, ‘Les Quatre Vents’, near Quebec in Canada. In spite of quite a number of members being away or ill, we had a very good turnout.

Julian gave a brief introduction explaining Frank Cabot’s relevance to Carmarthenshire and his background ……

He was actually an American, born into a wealthy family, and made enough money in financial services to retire early at 48 and devote himself to gardens and horticulture.

Like Bob Brown, he was awarded the Veitch medal by our Royal Horticultural Society, and he also established the Garden Conservancy charity in America to help save and preserve significant gardens mainly in the USA and a few around the world.  Through contacts made by Carmarthenshire based William Wilkins, he was persuaded to become involved with the Aberglasney Restoration Trust, he and his wife donating over £1 million to the restoration of Aberglasney in its very early days. A man of great charm and enthusiasm, he produced in his latter years not just a wonderful book on the creation of his major family garden at Les Quatre Vents, The Greater Perfection) but also a slideshow illustrated DVD lecture which is what we showed to Cothigardeners. This selects 5 of the 32 design elements of his garden and discusses how they came into being. Many took decades to reach fruition, from the initial idea and planning to the final execution or maturity of plantings.

Although  the film showed gardening on a grand scale we were able to appreciate themes it highlighted which are pertinent to all gardeners……..

  • patience – the long term  nature of designing/planting a garden
  • ruthlessness – if a plant doesn’t perform, move it to a better location or get rid of it altogether – all plants should earn their place.
  • continual appraisal, reassessment and editing. Walk round your garden regularly throughout the year making notes of things that work and those that don’t and be prepared to change them where necessary.

Click here for both a 4 minute video clip from the film, and a detailed biography  of Frank Cabot on the site of The Garden Conservancy.


Christmas Buffet

A reminder to those who have booked their place for the Christmas buffet ………………….

Wednesday December 13th at the Dolaucothi Arms, meeting at  6.30 pm for a 6.45 to 7 pm start.

The Dolaucothi Arms – Cothigardeners Christmas Buffet 2017

£15 per person

Hot

Dinefwr Venison sausages with red onion, apples and sage

Mushroom, chestnut & red wine bourguignon (gf, ve)

Buttery mashed potato (v)

Root vegetables roasted with thyme (gf, ve)

Cold

Home cooked glazed ham with cranberry and orange stuffing (gf)

Raised rainbow vegetable pie

Spiced red cabbage slaw ~ Chicory, celery & walnut salad ~ winter salad

(all gf, v)

Sweet (all v)

Mince pies with brandy butter

Orange, almond & polenta cake (gf)

Mulled pear and gingerbread trifle


Sad News

Many of us in Cothigardeners knew John Smith and had enjoyed his and his wife Liz’s company and beautiful garden at  Llwyn Cyll near Trapp on several occasions, as well as his highly entertaining talk on the development of the garden. Sadly news came this week that he died of cancer in Glangwili hospital on Saturday night.

John’s funeral/memorial service is to be held at Llanelli Crematorium at 12.00 on Monday 27th, with ‘tea’ at Llyshendy (Jane and Ivor Stokes home near Llandeilo) thereafter.  Liz has asked that if folk are coming, bright colours please and black only if you have to!


 

Pies; Big Sky Penstemons and Salvias; More Pies and Bob Brown; Christmas Meal

PIE NIGHT

After our successful and hugely enjoyable summer social in August many club members enjoyed another convivial get together for Pie Night at the Dolaucothi Arms before our September meeting. These get-togethers are an excellent way to get to know fellow members in a relaxed setting so make the most of them while you can as after Dave and Esther move on in April they may not exist!

 


The meeting was again well attended and we had an entertaining and informative talk by Vicki Weston from Big Sky Plants on Penstemons and Salvias.

Vicki told us how she came to be growing these lovely plants at her nursery near Aberystwyth via the Isle of Wight, Yorkshire and Tregaron – a history that was full of many trials and tribulations and made her stamina and determination to succeed all the more impressive.

 

Pentemons: Why grow them?

  • very long flowering
  • mostly ignored by molluscs
  • don’t need staking
  • very wide colour range
  • huge range – alpine to back of border, over 250 in family
  • easy to propogate
  • good cut flower

Hardiness: this depends on where and how they are planted, although some are more hardy than others and it is advisable to buy from specialists to avoid mistakes. Usually the narrower the leaf the hardier the plant (See list later in post)

Ideal Conditions:

  • well drained – wet winter feet will kill!
  • sunny but will tolerate some shade
  • out of strong, drying winds
  • plant 2′ apart for large ones, the rest 15 – 18″
  • do not cut back in Autumn, wait until Spring
  • dead head through season to keep display going

Propogation: Vicki does hers from cuttings from non flowering stems which she puts in terracotta bowls covered with plastic lids and placed on soil warming cables. She uses a mix of ½ compost and ½ vermiculite. The cuttings need to be kept moist (sprayed twice a day) and can root in 4-5 weeks.

Pests: Eelworm – evidence of eelworm: blotchy leaves, slow growth, yellowing tips. Unfortunately there are no solutions other than burning including the pot!

Sadly due to Eelworm which devastated her collection, Vicki hadn’t been able to bring any Penstemons to show us. She is hoping to restock soon.

Salvias: from the latin salvare = to heal, these are a huge family – over 900+ species and occur all over the world with both hardy and tender varieties. Vicki’s advice for growing salvias:

  • plant in well drained soil
  • sunny position
  • shelter for borderline types
  • pots for tender varieties and then frost free
  • don’t cut down until Spring
  • can be grown from seed eg Scabra and Blue Queen
  • cuttings taken from non flowering shoots
  • good companion plants are Asters, Japanese Anemones, Hesperantha, Chrysanthemums, Zinnias amongst others

Vicki’s final message was to

BUY LOCAL, BUY BRITISH and SUPPORT SMALL NURSERIES

Check out her website and ebay shop for a selection of plants for sale and her cut flowers

The following is a list of varieties Vicki supplied on the night which she descibed as ‘not an exhaustive list but from my own experience’

PENSTEMONS – not an exhaustive list but from my own experience

HARDY: Garnet (large), Just Jayne Evelyn (large), Hidcote, Laura, Catherine de la Mare (sprawler), Arctic Fox, Sour Grapes, Cherry, Penstemon Hirsutus, Appleblossom

LESS HARDY: All very large flowered varieties eg Osprey, Amelia Jane

SALVIAS

HARDY: Hot Lips, Royal Bumble, Nachtvlinder (deep purple), Pink Blush, Cerro Potosi (very tough), Peter Vidgeon (AGM), Joy, Lycoides (hardy to -12), Uliginosa, Nemerosa, Sylvestris, Scabra, Somalensis (1st year so not been through a winter yet), Atrocyanea (also 1st year so not been through a winter yet)

BORDERLINE (can cope down to -4 for short periods): Corrugata, Leucantha, Fulgens

TENDER: Involucrata, Mulberry Jam, Patens, Wendys Wish.


OCTOBER MEETING – BOB BROWN ‘To many plants, too little space’

 

This is our ‘big speaker’ event so do try and make it if you can. Do let us know, if you haven’t already, so that we have an idea of numbers. We are inviting as many local gardening clubs as possible and we already know that some visitors are coming a considerable distance, so hopefully we will have a good number there.

  • It’s free to members, £5 for visitors.
  • The doors are going to open at 6.45 pm, preceded by an early pie night details of which will be circulated nearer the time.
  • there will be tea/coffee and CAKES/BISCUITS for everyone so please members, put your baking hats on and bring them on the night
  • We’re going to be holding a raffle on the night – there should be some good prizes, so do support this as another way of raising club funds.
  • There won’t be a club plant stall, or topical tips for this meeting.
  • Access will be via the rear door to ease congestion.

CHRISTMAS MEAL

Our December social meeting will be an evening buffet at the Dolaucothi Arms. Menu and cost to follow, but the date will be Wednesday December 13th, probably meeting at about 6.30 pm for a 6.45 to 7 pm start. If you can’t make the Bob Brown meeting, but would like to come to this Christmas meal, do let Julian know so he can add you to the list of numbers to pass onto Dave and Esther.


 

Roses, Pine Martens and Christmas Lunch

Growing Roses in West Wales by Richard Bramley of Farmyard Nurseries was one of the best talks we have had for a while. Informative, practical and humorous, Richard took us through how to buy, planting, diseases/pests and types of rose before showing us specific varieties. West Wales is not the ideal climate for roses and his sound advice when choosing a rose to avoid disappointment was to consider ‘not what you want but what you can grow’.

Rose-de-rescht

Rose de Rescht

Roses worth a mention as being ‘good doers’ were the Rugosas generally, shrub roses such as Bonica and Rose de Rescht, and ramblers or tree roses such as Pauls Himalayan Musk and Seagull.

Paul's Himalayan Musk

Paul’s Himalayan Musk grown up a Hawthorn Tree

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Photo courtesy of the Vincent Wildlife Trust

Our speaker in November is rather different. Usually we learn something horticulture-related but in a change to our original programme (sadly Keith Brown couldn’t join us due to ill health), we’ll be welcoming Dave Bavin from the Vincent Wildlife Trust.
Some of you may have heard about the plan to re-introduce Pine Martens to Wales and one of the sites selected by the VWT is near Pontrhydfendigaid.  Please join us on November 16th at 7pm to hear the background to this ambitious project and to follow the progress of some of Wales’ new wild residents.

gtpinemartenpic

Photo courtesy of the Vincent Wildlife Trust

These websites offer an insight into these lovely creatures.

http://www.vwt.org.uk/projects/pine-marten-recovery-project/

http://www.pine-marten-recovery-project.org.uk/blog/miss-piggys-year

The Vincent Wildlife Trust is also leading the control of grey squirrels locally, in order to encourage the three populations of red squirrels in the forests to be able to get together and party.  Many members in the local community are taking part in this project.

Please note: Now that the clocks have changed, our meetings begin a little earlier at 7pm. This is the last open meeting of Cothi Gardeners for 2016, our 2017 programme will be available shortly.

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christmas-pudding

Christmas Lunch

Our Christmas lunch this year is taking place on Wednesday, December14th at the Dolaucothi Arms at 12 noon. Please remember to bring your deposit (please note that this is £7, not £5 as previously thought) and menu choices (see menu below) to the November meeting.

Dolaucothi Christmas Menu 2016

£22 per person for three courses

Jerusalem artichoke soup with spiced hazelnut crumb and lemon oil (gf/df)
Potato pancake, smoked salmon, horseradish creme fraiche & salt baked beetroot (gf/ df on request)
Caramelised pear, chicory and mouldy mabel bruschetta
Chicken liver, apple and smoked bacon pate, sourdough bread

Free range Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, bread sauce (df on request)
Mushroom, chestnut & Caerphilly wellington
Rump of Welsh beef with sherry & shallots (gf/df)
Hake with winter vegetable saffron chowder (gf)

All served with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Figgy toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce
Mincemeat strudel & brandy butter (df on request)
Chocolate cardamom mousse cake, poached pear (df, gf)
St Clements Trifle (gf)
Two cheeses, oatcakes & homemade preserves (+£2)

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A Plant Historical ‘Romp’; Pie Night; Roses in Wales

Jess Jones from Llangadog Gardening Club gallantly stepped into the breach for our September meeting when Mike Thurlow had to cancel due to ill health.

september-2016-meeting

 

 

Jess gave us an informative talk entitled  ‘A Plant Based Romp through Medieval and Tudor Britain’ , describing how gardens and plants developed from being used for culinary and medicinal purposes to being appreciated as places and things of beauty; how many of the royal marriages of the times resulted in the introduction of new ideas and plants. For example when Henry III married Eleanor of Provence, she introduced the concept of courtly love and took Rosa alba as her token plant.

Jess is hoping to open her nursery specialising in the plants she mentions in her talks on Mother’s Day next year.

Seventeen of us enjoyed a social get together at the Dolaucothi Arms for a pie and pint before the meeting – many thanks to Esther and Dave for getting us sorted in good time – and for the delicious pies!

On October 19th we will be welcoming back Richard Bramley from Farmyard Nurseries and look forward to his talk on growing roses in Wales.  Richard will also be bringing plants for sale. Click here to see the Farmyard Nurseries website

rose-de-rescht

Do keep an eye on our ‘Surplus to Requirements page on the website – currently there is some free well rotted horse manure available.

Speaker Change for September Meeting

A brief follow up to the last post…………………..

Due to health reasons Mike Thurlow has had to cancel the talk he was due to give on September 21st but we do have a replacement:

Jess Jones from Llangadog Garden Club has offered to step in and give us a talk on Historical Plants and comes highly recommended by those that have already heard her talk.
Jess has studied Photography, History of Art and Horticulture, and has worked professionally as a Photographer and Gardener for over 25 years. She moved back to Wales from London 10 years ago with her family.
Her more specific interest in Plant & Garden history has brought her three other interests together in her illustrated talks, and she is currently working on setting up a small perennial nursery in Bethlehem.

It should be another fascinating talk and Jess will also be bringing plants for sale

Summer Social and Pot Parade; Upcoming Meeting and Pie Night; NGS Helpers Invitation

SUMMER MEETING AND GROWING CHALLENGE FINALE

The August meeting of Cothi gardeners took the form of a summer social event held at the lovely home and gardens of members Philip and Anne Large. Over 30 members arrived bringing plates of food to enjoy and share, but before that came the interesting and fun sharing of ideas from this year’s growing challenge – to grow anything in a moveable pot.

Summer Medley 2016 2           Summer Medley 2016 3

Examples ranged from unidentified exotic plants grown from seed, through tomatoes, quinoa, pelargoniums, roses and broom grown from  seed collected from a local hillside.

S1000032 (2)                            S1000029 (2)

A lot of interesting and useful discussion followed including a quick lesson on how to take pelargonium cutting by Yvonne, before breaking for supper and drinks. Many thanks to Philip and Anne for the hard work in getting ready for the event, which was greatly enjoyed by all present.

S1000033 (2)

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SEPTEMBER MEETING

Dyffryn-Gardens-main-image-778165

Copyright: Wales-on-line

Join us for coffee or tea and listen to how another great garden has taken shape over the last century at our next meeting on September 21st at 7.30pm when Mike Thurlow will be talking to us about ‘Reginald Cory and Dyffryn Gardens’. This National Trust property has had a chequered past but is now much restored. The original garden design was largely developed by Reginald Cory, the son of wealthy coal merchant John Cory, who had inherited the estate in 1891. Reginald worked alongside Thomas Mawson who was well-known in the Edwardian era as a designer of civic parks and gardens. In 2000 the gardens were given Grade 1 listed status by Cadw and described as “the grandest and most outstanding Edwardian gardens in Wales. They are comparable to some of the most extravagant gardens of the period in Britain.”

Dyffryn
We are also having our 2nd pre-meeting get together for Pie Night at the Dolaucothi Arms – the first one was a big success. It is a great opportunity to have a more relaxed natter with fellow members. Cost will be £10 per person for a pie (there is always a vegetarian option) and drink; optional dessert if you eat fast, and are hungry … Because of time constraints on the evening, we’ll need to meet by about 6.00pm, and eat around 6.15pm, to enable us to finish in time for setting up for the meeting. Names of anyone wishing to come need to be with Julian by Friday 9th September so that menu choices can be sorted out in advance.

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NGS HELPERS REMINDER

Jane and Ivor Stokes, have invited any members who have helped out at any NGS garden openings this year to join them, the team and NGS garden owners at their annual ‘Thank You’ tea party and plant sale. It is at Llyshendy, Llandeilo, SA19 6YA at 3.30pm on Sunday 11th September. Contact Jane on 01558 823233 or jane.h.stokes@btinternet.com

 

MEETING UPDATES; DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES and HELP NEEDED

There was an excellent turnout at our meeting on Wednesday 19th May to hear Carrie Thomas give an illustrated and highly informative talk on the intricacies of latin plant nomenclature, explaining why latin names are needed, how they are arrived at and how they explain individual plant characteristics, habitat, etc.

She started the evening with a warning about Aquilegia downy mildew disease which has decimated her national collections of Aquilegias and is gradually spreading through the UK. See her website for more information at http://www.touchwoodplants.co.uk/aquilegia-downy-mildew.htm

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Requests for help at various events in the coming months were made. If anyone is able to offer their assistance at any of the following please contact the relevant parties.

1) Keith Brown will be having a plant stall at the NGS garden open at
Gelli Mydog, Myddfai, SA20 0JQ on Sunday, June 5th and Sunday, July 24th between 12 and 5pm. Due to his illness he has asked for help to man the stall, so if anyone can spare an hour or more to help out on either or both these days please contact Anne at glan-yr-afon@hotmail.co.uk .

Gelli Myddog

2) John and Helen have a large group visiting their garden on Saturday, June 18th and have asked for help with both the serving and supply of cakes for the teas. Contact them at johnhelen@greystones140.freeserve.co.uk

3) Angela and Martin (Sculptors Garden, The Old Post Office) have their joint garden open day  with Benda (Bwlchau Duon) and would also like help  with the serving and supply of cakes for the teas. Contact through www.farquharsonduffysculpture.com

Brenda Angela & Martins garden open (2)

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PICTON GARDENS VISIT

Remember our visit to Picton Gardens is this Wednesday. Those who would like to  can meet up at 5pm in the visitors carpark for a picnic tea within the grounds before we all meet Roddy at 6pm by the Restaurant (closed at that time). He will then take us on a guided tour of the garden. Plants will be on sale but please remember to take cash as there will be no credit card facility. Cost is £4.50 per person (no concessions or free entry  as this is a special tour out of normal opening hours). Anyone who would like/can offer to car share please contact Margaret on 01558 650887

OUR NEXT MEETING………..

Speaking to the Cothi Gardeners’ Club on Wednesday, 15th June will be Sarah Jones from Dinefwr in Llandeilo.
Sarah is a National Trust ranger and will tell us about her work, which includes taking care of the famous herd of White Park cattle, fallow deer and of course the extensive grounds.
Some of us may have already walked around Dinefwr but Sarah will let us know all about the history of the park, including a visit in the 17th century by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown who advised the then owners of Newton House on the possibilities of landscaping the grounds. Today a popular walk on the estate has been named the Capability Brown Trail.
A large part of Sarah’s work involves conservation, so we will learn about the unusual and endangered species which we may be lucky enough to encounter and how the grounds are maintained for visitors to enjoy at all times of the year.

Dinefwr           dinefwr_park_deer_original

Meetings, Events and More

Firstly a reminder about our visit to Picton Gardens……………..

This is a brilliant opportunity to see these beautiful gardens under the expert guidance of head gardener Roddy Milne. We need to get the numbers in very soon so please if you haven’t already done so, contact Margaret or Daisy asap to confirm whether you are able to go or not. The more we get the cheaper the cost of entry  (20+ = £4.50 – a real bargain!) We meet at 5pm for a picnic (bring your own) in the gardens followed by the garden tour. Plants will be for sale but please take cash with you as the shop will be closed

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Plants for Colourful Shade

We had a well attended meeting last week at which Richard Cain of Penlan Perennials gave a very informative talk on colourful plants for shade, covering the different types of shade and a whole variety of plants both familiar and not that can be used in these conditions to give colourful interest.

Richard had a good selection of plants for sale and offered to take any pre-ordered from his nursery to any of the plant fairs he will be attending for members to collect. See below for details of fairs. Click on the link to go to his website: penlanperennials.co.uk

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Our next meeting ……………………………….

Gardeners can be a funny lot….One minute they’re talking about Galanthus, the next Snowdrops. First it’s phormium, then it’s flax.
If you would like to untangle the Latin, then come along to our illustrated talk “Botanicus Tongtwistii” in May, when the speaker will be Carrie Thomas from Touchwood, Killay, Swansea.

Carrie holds degrees in botany and zoology so we are looking forward to an informative and entertaining evening, after which we’ll know exactly why a Red Hot Poker is called Kniphophia.

Visit Touchwoodplants.co.uk for more information about Carrie and her garden.

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Gerddi Cae Hir Gardens Plant Fair
May 2 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cae Hir

 

Cae Hir Gardens Plant Fair. Come and enjoy this lovely six acre garden in the heart of Ceredigion. It is an RHS Partner Garden and entry to the Garden and Plant Fair is free. There is a small charge for parking at the local school.

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Ceredigion Garden, Craft & Food Festival, Aberaeron
May 29 @ 10:00 am – May 30 @ 5:00 pm
Free entry

Ceredigion plant fair

Now in its 7th year and expanding all the time. Held on Alban Square Field, Aberaeron and organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association, this is the premier event of its type in West Wales.

Over 70 stalls selling plants, craft and food, together with music & entertainment. Something for everyone and FREE ENTRY.

No dogs allowed on the field (except service dogs).

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Aberystwyth Summer Plant Fair
June 11 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

A host of great nurseries from three counties on the Farmer’s Market site from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Summer bedding, veg and perennials amongst others. FREE. Organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association

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Llanllyr NGS Garden Plant Fair
June 26 @ 12:00 am – 5:00 pm

Llanllyr

The Ceredigion & District Growers Association hold a Plant Fair at Llanllyr Garden on their National Garden Scheme Open Day. Entry to the Plant Fair is free, however normal NGS charges are payable to go into the garden. Ample free parking. Please note the Plant Fair finishes at 5.00pm and the Garden is open until 6pm.

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Finally……………………………

Dismantled Greenhouse – details of this came through by email. Please contact Carolyn Somers if interested: ceejaysom@btinternet.com

An Eden greenhouse, 6’x8′ . Most of the glass is there with some pieces broken, all the frame is there but without the door as this was lost to the storms. The only thing is there are no nuts and bolts but these can be bought from B&Q. I am in Nantgaredig just outside Carmarthen.

Happy New Year to all; Colesbourne Park Snowdrops

A very Happy New Year to you all.

Llinos sent the following photos of the snowdrops at Colesbourne Park to cheer us up amidst all the rain! Click here to see their website

Snowdrops Colesbourne 1 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 2

 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 3

 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 4

 

Apologies for the lack of activity on the website/blog over the last few months but we have been without internet since the beginning of November. A new satellite system has now been installed so we will (hopefully) be back in action from now onwards.

The incessant rain over the last months and the unseasonable warmth we have experienced have combined to make gardening both miserable and surprising! Weeding and general maintenance have been challenging with the ground badly waterlogged and many bulbs (including a poor deluded Camassia) and other early flowering plants have been out weeks earlier than normal with us.

Hellebores & Cyclamen

Hellebores and Cyclamen

Jaqueline Postl

Daphne Jaqueline Postl started flowering in early December this year

Looking forward to meeting up again at the AGM on Wednesday 20th January.