Cymbidium Orchids

Over the last two years, we’ve been quietly developing our orchid collection ready to create a new display for the Ninfarium. It’s been an exciting task that has allowed us to investigate many different varieties of orchid whilst determining which are the most suitable for our space. At Aberglasney we have limited resources, and since we don’t have a large, heated glasshouse, we’ve needed to look for tough orchid varieties that are easy to look after but still produce wonderful flowers. To our delight we’ve found many different options, but the best are Cymbidium orchids. They are ideal for any…

Vegetable Garden: Planning for Next Year’s Stars

There’s nothing better than seeing a veg garden in all its late summer glory. Aberglasney’s Kitchen Garden is become ever more important because its produce is used so frequently in our shop and tearooms. It’s home to fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, dried flowers, herbs, and ornamental plants – all of which we need to make sure look good for our visitors. Many of the vegetables in the Kitchen Garden are still going strong now. In fact, the beets and brassica’s have put on a show as impressive as any winter bedding display, not to mention the added benefit of the…

Mulching: What, Why, When?

One of the most impressive sights to see in winter is a weed free, well-tended border that’s nicely cultivated and mulched. How we prepare our borders in the winter is often the deciding factor of how well the summer will go. Much of the work in a border is best done in winter months, leaving only staking, weeding and dead heading for the summer (and perhaps watering in other parts of the country). Mulching is a really important part of the garden calendar – it can be hugely beneficial, but in some cases can cause problems. We’ll get into that…

Wetland Iris: Easy, Hardy, and Spectacular

I’ve always been astonished at how easy and tough Iris are – I remember proudly showing off a clump in our front garden when I was about ten years old. In fact, that same clump moved to my mother’s new garden and is still there today. Their hardiness somehow seems too good to be true, but (luckily for us gardeners!) it is. What’s wonderful about this plant is that there’s a variety of iris that’ll be in flower through every part of the year, which is due to the many different types that are available. Very few genera of plants…

Mild November: Good or Bad News?

How often do you hear gardeners say “the weather’s great” or “we’ve been really lucky with the weather this month”? Not too often I should think… This month, I must admit, we’ve got through the bulb planting and winter bedding with speed and are feeling quite relieved. We’ve been able to do a good deal of winter work, rain permitting, and have enjoyed the milder weather. It’s probably been the first disruption-free November I’ve gardened in, and we’ve managed poor weather patches well by alternating between digging in dry weather and cutting back in the wet. The mild weather combined…

Brightening up Lawns and Cheating with Bulbs

After weeks of rain, we’re finally seeing a glimmer of much needed sunshine that allows us to get outdoors and do a good stint in the garden. We’ve spent the last few weeks bulb planting at Aberglasney. There’s literally tens of thousands to do so there’s a good deal of trepidation involved. Having discussed bulb planting recently in my blog, I realised I’d said very little about my favourite way to use them. I love planting bulbs in grass or lawns as it’s an excellent way to increase colour and interest in the garden all year round. In fact, some…

Late Autumn Colour: Two for the Price of One

As we all know, good autumn colour is weather dependent, so it will come as no surprise that I worry each year about the quality of Aberglasney’s colour show with us being situated in wet and windy West Wales. Having previously worked in Worcestershire, which almost always gets brilliant autumn colour due to the cold, dry, weather it gets, you can be lulled into a false sense of security thinking vibrant displays are guaranteed. The colour at Kew Gardens when I worked there were also variable – some years were far better than others. In West Wales, it’s usually brilliant…

Bulbs: Back-Breaking or a Pleasure to Plant?

  As the nights draw in, the weather gets colder, and we have a month’s worth of rain dumped on us in a single week, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s time to lose interest in the garden and take your foot off the peddle. This time of year can seem a lot of hard work as we begin to cut down borders after their heyday, however, it’s often the most important part – or indeed the most inspiring. As bulb orders start to arrive, gardeners across the country will be delving into their boxes to see what’s been…

Popular Buttercup Relatives

When the temperature begins to drop and the leaves start falling, it’s a great time to look back and consider what plants have worked well in the gardens this year. Autumn is the perfect time to pause and reflect whilst the season is still fresh in our minds. We can easily recall the bulbs that impressed us in spring, the bedding displays that put on the best shows in summer, and the special shrubs and perennials that were particularly pleasing to the eye. Autumn is a great time to get planning and buying for next year – plants, bulbs and…

Last Over the Finish Line

With the summer season truly behind us, the changing colours of the autumn leaves signify it’s time to put the garden to bed. At Aberglasney, our autumn clearing is well underway and we’re busy cutting back our Woodland Garden, however, it’s important to take a moment to pause and appreciate those plants that continue to flower well into the autumn months. For me personally, autumn flowering bulbs fall into two categories: 1) Those that are autumn flowering, like autumn bulbs and Cyclamen, 2) Plants that start flowering in the summer and keep going until the frost hits them. I’m particularly…