Dyffryn Dahlias

I’m just back from spending a couple of days in Barry, near Cardiff, with my son. While I was there I discovered a real gem – Dyffryn Gardens, which was once the home of Welsh coal-owners the Cory family but has recently been taken on a 50 year lease by the National Trust. The gardens were developed by John Cory with the help of Thomas Mawson, the landscape architect, and have been restored in recent years.  John Cory’s third son, Reginald, who was a leading figure in the Royal Horticultural Society and a keen plant-hunter, was responsible for the dahlia trials held there between 1913 and 1914. Over 7000 species were planted for the trials and many have been replanted this year to mark the centenary, adding to the wonderful autumn colours of the gardens. As well as the six glorious beds at the front of the house, each with its own colour theme,  others varieties are planted in the garden ‘rooms’ which make up much of the formal grounds. On a lovely, warm, autumn morning the beds were a magnet for photographers and I couldn’t avoid a couple wandering into my own camera lens!

Because of the work involved in maintaining the gardens volunteers were cutting down and digging up the beds ready for winter planting while I was there, even though they looked magnificent and many of the plants were still in bud. However, as they were selling the blooms in the estate shop I was able to come away with a large bunch of assorted dahlias and a pot of unknown colour and variety which I look forward to discovering next year!

I hope to post more from my visit there soon, but felt the amazing display of dahlias deserved one of their own!

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Sunday Strolls (1)

As I languish in rural Pembrokeshire I’ve decided I should get out and about and explore the area while I have the chance. The September weather is wonderful; long warm sunny days, mostly in the low 20s, and clear blue skies are showing the county at its best. Whilst I busy myself with the house and garden during the week, in the hope that a prospective purchaser might walk through the door eventually, Sunday can be a bit of a low point so I’m dedicating Sundays to exploring local places of beauty, starting with the local gardens that are open to the public before they all close down in the autumn! As always my camera comes too!

The first Sunday stroll was a familiar one, to Colby Woodland Gardens, a National Trust property that reaches down to the coast. I didn’t venture that far but the walks vary from the formal walled garden to the oriental garden, meadows along the stream and the woodland paths that lead down to the sea or up onto the valley sides. And, of course, the required tearoom for an afternoon cream tea!

My Welsh Garden

One thing I love about my Welsh house is my Welsh garden. I can grow things here that would never survive in the harsh, Siberian, east coast winds. Each Spring I’ve been able to plant something new, some brought from Norfolk, which go on to thrive, and others I’ve bought locally. The pleasure in returning after a break of nearly two years has been to see how much they have grown and flourished. The agapanthus, in particular, is my pride and joy!

More often than not, while the weather has been so fine, I’ve ended my day sitting in the garden, just gazing at the beauty of the plants. They are big and bold and this evening, as the seagulls wheeled against a blue sky, this was my little patch of heaven!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring (1)

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Tulip after a Spring rain shower.

Last weekend I stayed with a  friend. She has a very small garden but a magnificent show of tulips grown mainly in pots and tubs. After a morning rain shower I stepped outside with my camera, but the sun had already started to dry up the raindrops. These look almost untouched by the rain even though it was taken only a minute or so after the first!

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