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…

Witch Hazel and their Welcome Winter Flowers

January’s often a time when flowers are in very short supply, or perhaps even covered in snow. Snowdrops give a welcome treat in these colder times, but shrubs can also give good value in January and February. There’s plenty of evergreen shrubs that are beautiful in winter months, but what about deciduous plants? Some of the benefits of deciduous plants are the variety that’s available and the stunning autumn colour they produce. There’s many types that flower in early spring before their leaves have emerged, and many have small flowers that are often fragrant too. They work really well in…

Christmas Day Survivors

What’s a gardener to do on Christmas Day in the downtime before or after Christmas dinner? Well, snow permitting, it’s great fun to walk around the garden and make a list of what plants are in flower on the day. I’ve done this every year, and each year I’ve found the list is very different from the last. If you read gardening literature you’ll know technically very little should be in flower as most finish in late November or start in January. Therefore, the plants you’re seeing that are in flower are either late arrivals or early starters. There’s always…

Choosing Trees for the Garden

The mild weather this year has been fantastic for most gardeners as it gives us a chance to get outside and get ahead with winter chores ready for spring. There are a few inconveniences of course, such as tree nurseries not being able to lift field-grown trees until they’re dormant which means we’ll have to wait a little longer to add new arrivals to the collection. At Aberglasney, we’re in the process of buying and planting replacements of ash trees that sadly had to be removed because of dieback. Buying and planting a tree is, to me, one 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…

Jubilee Wood: Winning in the Wet

Winter gloominess has arrived in the form of shorter days and poorer weather as we move closer to Christmas. It’s a time of year when gardening often stops or at least slows down somewhat, but of course, if you have a big project underway then this cannot be the case. Some years ago now we developed a new woodland area. In the summer season, we realised it’s far more of a bog garden that we’d anticipated meaning special care and attention was required when designing and choosing plants. Despite the numerous trenches and drainage systems that helped to drain the…

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…