Garden Bloom Calendar

More often than not what is sold as winter bedding only really comes into its own in the spring. This has been the case at Aberglasney where the combination of alabaster wallflowers and Tulips look fantastic in spring.

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When bedding is mentioned most people automatically think of summer bedding and not spring bedding. However some of the very best bedding displays are in the spring not summer.

The real star of the bedding is the Tulip as they form the bulk of the display in the parterre, terrace and Kitchen Garden. What is great about Tulips is the range of height, colour and flowering times available. There is also a huge range of flower shapes to choose from with singles, doubles, frilled parrot and many others to choose from. They also combine well with other spring bedding plants such as Wall flowers, Pansies, and Bellis (ornamental daisies). The colour choice also makes life easy when choosing a scheme.

Wall flowers are an excellent partner for Tulips as they act as ground cover before the Tulips come through, as they have a completely different leaf and flower shape they contrast really well. They also add interest before and after the Tulips start. Buying them bare root in the early autumn is a good idea as they are so much cheaper and of course peat free. The only problem is they can be damaged in very hard winters.

Crocus

Daffodil

Hellebore

Magnolia

Snowdrops

Tulips

Alpinum

Ninfarium

Stream Garden

Sunken Garden

Bluebells

Camassia

Daffodil

Hellebore

Malus Arbor

Magnolia

Tulips

Alpinum

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Stream Garden

Sunken Garden

Bluebells

Camassia

Daffodil

Horse Chestnut

Iris

Magnolia

Tulips

Roses

Wisteria

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Rose Wall

Stream Garden

Sunken Garden

Every year we combine reliable performers with a few new experimental varieties. We have used different quantities of different varieties to give us different colour blends and heights throughout the display with most of the plants set out informally.

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We often use pink or white Cosmos and Cleome to give height and colour at the backs of borders with Dahlia ‘Blue Beyou’ which is pink and purple for medium height. We also like Castor oil plants, Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita Pink’ in the main displays, and choose the red form in borders as its leaves are ornamental in appearance and contrast well with the other foliage. When we need shorter plants we often grow a combination of white Bizzy Lizzy or Impatiens, green flowered Moluchella or Bells of Ireland, scented Heliotrope and Cerinthe.

The green spires of Moluchella break up the blue and white of the Heliotrope and Impatiens. The Heliotrope also gives you the added bonus of an excellent scent as does the foliage of the Cleome. However the plants that have really impressed are the Ricinus and the Impatiens as they have proved to be excellent plants for interest all through the season.

The Ricinus are planted out at the beginning of June and just get bigger and better as the season goes on. Do remember that all parts of this plant are highly poisonous and extreme care should be taken when using it. Between the foliage, flowers and seed heads there is always something to look at and the pink form goes well with the other plants. Elsewhere in the garden we have added the red form to the hardy displays where it has done equally as well.

The Impatiens have been a real success. Like many other people we had stopped growing the waleriana type due to the mildew problem. Then we tried the Sunpatiens which are a hybrid that has the New Guinea type as a parent. We have had absolutely no problem with mildew so far and they are happy in sun or shade. What we like about them is that they grow quite tall – about forty centimetres, and they flower all season.

Horse Chestnut

Iris

Roses

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Rose Garden

Rose Wall

Sunken Garden

Hydrangea

Iris

Roses

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Rose Garden

Rose Wall

Sunken Garden

Hydrangea

Roses

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Rose Garden

Sunken Garden

Autumn at Aberglasney is about so much more than the vast number of trees in the Gardens and although it is a time when we start putting the greater part of the garden to bed it is also a time when some good plants come into flower. Putting the tender Dahlia and Salvia to one side there are some good hardy plants that are at their best in the autumn.

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One of the stars is Clerodendrum bungei which despite its name is a great plant. It is a suckering shrub unlike almost anything else with dark green leaves and heads of pink and darker pink flowers from September through to the first frosts. Growing to about two meters in height and being bolt upright makes it really useful for the back of the border. We grow a large stand of it on a south facing slope and it does absolutely fine even coming through hard winters unscathed.

There are also a great number of late flowering bulbs that really brighten up the autumn. Nerine make excellent late summer interest. They look like bright pink Agapanthus and are a real show stopper. There are plenty to choose from and in our view they are the most spectacular autumn flowering bulbs.

The trick to growing them is to plant them in as sunny a spot as possible in rich soil without too much competition around them. Getting them into flower can be a problem but a good watering in midsummer seems to help them. When planting them keep the neck of the bulb above ground, if it’s too low they won’t flower.

Another spectacular bulb for the autumn is Colchicum which also needs a sunny spot. They will flower without leaves and do this because they produce the leaves in the spring they are then dormant until flowering in the autumn. Planted in big clumps they put on a striking show and there are plenty of different types to choose from.

In the parterre area we have a huge Parthenocissus or Boston Ivy which is a vivid purple, red colour in Autumn. It combines well with the purple and orange Dahlia in the bedding border. What is particularly good about this combination is that it lasts right up until either the leaves drop on the Parthenocissus or the Dahlia is cut back by frost.

Many of the late flowering perennials such as Aster, Rudbeckia and Helenium flower well into November. This allows you to combine them with climbers or shrubs that have good autumn colour. We have one area where a combination of Pyracantha with orange berries mixes with Aster and Rudbeckia.

Elsewhere in the garden we find combinations of shrubs can create good long seasons of interest. We have a Koelreuteria ‘Coral Sun’, a golden leaved Judas Tree and a Purple Acer which are all at their best during the autumn but they also add colour through foliage from the summer to late winter.

At the top of Bishop Rudd’s Walk we have a large stand of different exotic shrubs that make a great mid and late season display. Here the purple flowers of Clerodendrum bungei and the golden leaved Catalpa are very impressive. This area also contains the purple leaved Catalpa and rare Hydrangea relative Kirengeshoma all of which combine to great effect.

 

Hydrangea

Roses

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Rose Garden

Sunken Garden

Alpinum

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

Sunken Garden

Asiatic

Kitchen Garden

Ninfarium

In the quiet depths of winter there is still plenty to see and enjoy in the Gardens. Whilst colour is in short supply, beauty can be found in unsuspected places, if one knows where to look. We’re fortunate to have a selection of winter-flowering plants that bring interest at a time when it can be somewhat difficult to find.

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A unique daffodil, Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris‘, will bloom through the worst weathers and its frilly yellow trumpets are a welcome splash of colour at this dreary time of year. Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, but this specific variety has an even deeper Welsh connection and is named after Sir Cedric Morris, a Swansea-born artist and plantsman known for his post-impressionist style portraits, flower paintings, and landscapes.

Galanthus nivalis, or common snowdrops, arrive early and soon become one of the first flowers to bloom at the end of a long winter.

Acer griseum, or paperbark maple, produces an extraordinary, intriguing, and attractive cinnamon-coloured ornamental peeling bark that appears to glow when backlit by some winter sunshine. We have a few wonderful examples that can be found in the Asiatic Garden and the Jubilee Wood border closest to the Old Piggeries.

The Gardens are also home to a range of plants that produce heady winter scent which are a delight for the senses. Most notably, the beautiful deciduous Hamamelis that produces small spidery flowers with a distinctive fragrance from December to March. Their sweet scent can be found lingering in the air across the Gardens – so much so that you’ll often be able to smell it before you can spot it.

The unique architecture of our Elizabethan Cloister Garden, Gatehouse, and other walled gardens with their interesting layouts and ancient stone walls have their moment of glory in winter months. The absence of leaves, flowers, and vegetation allows us to see details that could easily be overlooked as we absorb the bounteous horticultural displays later in the year.

Witch Hazel

Ninfarium

Hellebore

Snowdrops

Witch Hazel

Ninfarium

Crocus

Daffodil

Hellebore

Snowdrops

Witch Hazel

Ninfarium