Picton Pleasures; Snowdon Hike; Garden Openings and NGS Photo Competition; Media Coverage; Scents and Scentsabilities

Roddy Milne – Picton Castle

More tips and information were absorbed when Roddy Milne from Picton Castle joined us for our May meeting. He brought with him a colourful selection of blooms from some of the many Rhododendrons, Deciduous Azaleas and other plants currently in flower at Picton.

He then gave us a fascinating talk on the ethos of the garden, the trials and tribulations of managing it with very few full time gardeners and keeping interest going in the garden beyond the Spring; plus the joys and wonders of living and working in such a beautiful environment, the role of gardens such as Picton in conservation and education and his hopes for its future. Apart from the actual flowers his talk was illustrated with many photos showing the glorious splendour of the Rhododendrons for which Picton is rightly renowned, along with vignettes of Magnolias, Myrtles, the distinctive Gunnera Walkway and many understorey plants. Well worth a visit at any time. Click here for opening times etc.

____________________________________________________________________________

Team Large Snowdon Night Hike

Setting off…….

At the summit! (Philip is behind the camera)

Back home with t shirts, medals and certificates

Anne and Philip together with their daughter, Sarah, completed their Snowdon Night Hike on Saturday 22nd May in aid of Breast Cancer Care. According to them both it was surprisingly enjoyable, not as arduous as expected and all this in spite of horizontal rain and strong winds at the summit. They reached the summit in just 3 hours and a further 3 hours saw them back in the hotel enjoying a much deserved, slap up Welsh Breakfast. They have raised over £2,400  for Breast Cancer Care. Donations can still be made, just click here to go to the JustGiving page.

They would like to pass on their thanks to everyone in Cothi Gardeners for their fantastic support – an edible thank you will be at the next meeting on June 21st

Many congratulations and well done!

____________________________________________________________________________

NGS Garden Openings

The NGS has launched a photo competition as part of the 90th Anniversary celebrations. Anyone visiting an NGS garden can take a photograph and submit it – details, rules, etc can be found on the NGS website (click here)

Some Cothi members’ gardens are due to open shortly for the N.G.S., so get your cameras out and pay them a visit!

Click here for more information on our website or here for the NGS website

____________________________________________________________________________

Gelli Uchaf – Gardens Illustrated Magazine

Julian and Fiona were delighted to have their garden, Gelli Uchaf, featured in an article by Noel Kingsbury with photos by Claire Takacs, in the June edition of Gardens Illustrated Magazine (out now) . Click here for a taster of the article (NB only available until the next edition comes out mid June).

____________________________________________________________________________

June Meeting

We are in for a perfumed treat in June when our speaker will be Kari-Astri Davies telling us all about gardening with scented plants.

Lavender, old fashioned roses and jasmine are some of the best-known scented plants but Kari-Astri will recommend some more unusual specimens to try. You may want ideas for containers to stand near the door so you can enjoy your perfumed plants as you step outside. Kari-Astri regularly writes for ‘Landscape’ magazine, so we are looking forward to welcoming her on June 21st  at 7.30 pm for an evening of “Scents and Scentsability”.

____________________________________________________________________________

Our 2017 Challenge

Our 2017 Challenge is underway, simply grow something edible and make a dish with it to share at our August meeting. If you haven’t already done so, please indicate on the relevant sheet at the next meeting what type of dish you are hoping to bring so that we can try to balance savoury and sweet offerings.

____________________________________________________________________________

Big Speaker Early Notification

The renowned plantsman, speaker and garden writer, Bob Brown, of Cotswold Garden Flowers is our big name speaker for this year. We will need to start advertising this early so in order to have an idea of how many places we can offer to other gardening clubs we need a rough idea of how many Cothi members are hoping to come, so please can anyone planning on attending sign the relevant form at the next meeting.

____________________________________________________________________________

Monthly Tips

Tip 1 Frost Damage

(From Yvonne) If any plants have suffered from the late frosts, don’t panic!  Leave them alone, and then, when the new growth has come through, you can prune the dead ends off.

(and from Jan) Cut off damaged areas, feed the plants, in Jan’s case all the vines in the polytunnels, and remember that it will be the end of May before we can safely say no more frost!, so cover over with fleece if cold nights threaten again. All Jan’s survived and new shoots are appearing

Tip 2 (Yvonne) – It’s nearly time for the Chelsea chop for herbaceous perennials to prolong their flowering. Reduce about a third of the stems, and they will flower later.  This can be done with Sedum spectabile, Phlox, Veronicastrum, among the many.
Tip 3 (Yvonne) – When your Geraniums have flowered, cut all the growth off, and they will have a second flush of flowers later in the summer.

Tip 4 (Julian) Growing  Phalaeonopsis, or moth orchids

  • Firstly anyone who has bonfires – save the small charcoal left over at the end, rinse well and think of using it for repotting. It doesn’t degrade like bark or moss. When we had proper holidays…decades ago!! we once saw orchid farms in Thailand growing them in just charcoal in a half coconut!
  • Secondly the roots photosynthesise, so use an old clear yoghurt pot or such like to let light through, drill a few holes into it, and keep it in a larger outer pot.
  • Thirdly I now keep a supermarket basil plant next to the orchids. When it wilts, it’s a reminder to water the orchids. And I’ve now kept this Basil going for over a year.
  • Fourthly I water them with weak feed (in rain water), 3 out of 4 waterings, then one with just rainwater, and do it over a bowl and a cup, soaking the pot half a dozen times, and including running (ie manually pouring) water down the aerial roots, but being careful to keep all the water off the leaves.
  • An additional suggestions from Elena was to add broken crocks to the charcoal to give weight to the pot.

Picton Visit; Diary reminders and additions

Picton Castle Gardens Visit

Our visit to Picton Castle Gardens was a great success. We met for a civilised picnic in the courtyard, making use of the outdoor seating before being joined by Roddy Milne, the head gardener, for a tour of the garden.

Picton 1
The rhododendrons, although nearing the end of their season, were still magnificent.IMG_20160525_191425175

Many were grown from seed from cultivars already in the garden and it was fascinating to see the variety of plants one seed capsule can produce in both flower, leaf and form. New areas of woodland have been planted to give continuity for the future especially as more and more of the original plantings are succumbing to old age.

IMG_20160525_191239222
The hard work of Roddy and his small band of helpers was evident in the tidy borders, new plantings and well mown lawns! The walled garden was immaculate and had plenty to see despite its peak season being later in the summer.

Picton 7     IMG_20160525_181701995

IMG_20160525_192202799
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening out.

_____________________________________________________________________

Open Gardens

A reminder that this month sees the joint opening of 2 of our club members’ gardens in Ffarmers. Anyone able to help serve teas, supply cakes, etc please contact Angela and Martin or Brenda.

Brenda Angela & Martins garden open (2)

There are a number of other gardens opening this month including the Talley Open Gardens Day this Saturday, 11th June, click here to go to our events page to see more.

Cothi Gardeners Visit to Picton Castle

Cothi Gardeners Visit to Picton Castle

Wednesday, May 25th , 5pm for picnic, 6pm guided tour by Roddy Milne the Head Gardener

Picton Castle Gardens are described as one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Great Gardens of West Wales. As their website says:‘What you can see today is the result of many centuries of gardening styles, each overlaying the next, where no one style predominates.’

In the 40 acres of the garden there are woodland walks, a medicinal herb border, a fernery, a walled garden and jungle garden all in the wonderful setting of the 13th Century Castle.

As the talk is in the evening (6pm) we plan on meeting at 5pm in the car park for a bring your own picnic within the grounds.

If you have not already put your name down please do think about coming and let Margaret know at or before our next meeting on April 20th. It should be a really fun and interesting outing and if we can get a group of 20+ together we will qualify for reduced entry of £4.50. Otherwise the entry charge is £7 (concessions £6). Car sharing is available for those who prefer not to drive so please don’t be put off by the distance. From Pumpsaint to Picton should only take about 1 ¼ hrs.

 

May is a lovely time to visit a garden, but particularly one with an abundance of mature Conifers, Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias such as Picton. To quote from their website for May last year: ‘With the first half of May seeing the wonderful old Magnolias between the castle and walled garden coming into flower, pay a visit to Picton Castle and Gardens this month and you’ll quickly understand why they are famed for its Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and Magnolias. Some have enormous scented flowers and others, such as the Japanese Azaleas, have many intensely coloured flowers borne in great profusion.’

Picton Rhodo Old Port (2)

Rhododendron ‘Old Port’ reputed to be the largest in the world! Photo taken May 2015

See the Picton Website for more details http://www.pictoncastle.co.uk/