Friday, 27 May 2016

Laburnum Archers - not a new radio soap

A Laburnum Archer
What comes after Chelsea? It’s the North Wales Festival of Gardens with 22 of the region’s gardens putting on a fantastic show including Bodnant of course. As we walked into the garden there was a sign to say the BBC were filming and that we were to inform the staff if we positively did NOT want to be seen on Gardeners’ World.

We called in to see the Laburnum Arch, thinking it might be in full bloom, but it was 7 to 10 days away from that. What was in full bloom was a brightly coloured Laburnum Archer. This new species, identified with a badge on the lapel, was one of the 23 seasonal volunteers recruited to ‘manage’ the 3,000 visitors per day who want to see the arch in June. And that, volunteering, is the theme of the episode of Gardeners' World due to be shown on 3rd June.

Below is a reminder of what the arch looks like during a quiet moment.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Handkerchief Tree blooming at Plas Tan y Bwlch

Handkerchief Tree at Plas Tan y Bwlch
The Pocket Handkerchief Tree (otherwise known as the Dove Tree) Davidia involucrata was first discovered growing wild in China, towards the end of the nineteenth century. Seeds were sent back to the UK by Victorian plant hunter Ernest Wilson in 1901 and when it flowered in Britain for the first time, it caused such a stir that the leading nursery of the day (Veitch’s nursery of Chelsea and Exeter) could not keep up with the demand for plants.

One of the first Pocket Handkerchief Trees to be planted in Britain was at Plas Tan y Bwlch which is one of the (50) Finest Gardens in Wales. Yes, it’s official, it has been listed in the new book published by Tony Russell.

Other local to us gardens that feature in the book are Plas Brondanw and Portmeirion and, slightly further afield, are Bodnant and the intriguing Conwy Valley Maze Garden. The maze was created in 2005 and is said to be the largest garden maze in the world; this sounds well worth a visit.

Tony Russell, author of the book, has recently moved to live in the village of Rhyd and is helping with the project to restore Plas Tan y Bwlch gardens. He is also running courses at The Plas which include guided visits to several of his favourite gardens.