Last week was a learning week for me what with the Bothy meeting, and Jonny’s walk n’ talk garden update on Thursday morning. Jonny started the five of us off on the Fountain Walk where we inspected the reinstated macrocarpa archways. According to the old guidebook, visitors were admitted through the turnstile to the fountain area to start their tour along the Macrocarpa Arches Walk, a design idea taken from various gardens in Spain and Portugal. Other new planting had been carried out here too although the addition of clay soil was proving slightly troublesome to plants which are more used to our sandy loam mixture. The Mairi Garden was being tidied up with new white roses Susan Williams-Ellis, being planted. Old Rose in character and sweetly scented, as per Lady Edith’s custom, these will contribute to the blue and white scheme for this garden, (Susan Williams-Ellis was a founder of Portmeirion Pottery, their most famous range being the Botanic Range). The summerhouse is looking good with the roof clearly visible and the rampant lion holding fast to the flagpole. It would be nice if we could entice some white doves into the dovecote.
Feeding the grass in the Italian Garden has produced quite a lush velvet surface at present, the yew trees are to be trimmed, bare patches that have been cleared of weeds are ready for planting with whatever Alan is cooking up in the Nursery. The bananas have been planted in the beds after overwintering under cover. In the wild wood, Johnny explained the process of preparing our wildflower areas that are so popular with visitors. The method is not to mow an area for a while and wait to see what grows. A helping hand with some seed is sometimes needed but we hope that if the soil is not too rich then wild flowers will pop out and have a look at their surroundings and decide they like it enough to grow and multiply. This increases the numbers of bees and butterflies and is helpful to birds like tits who need 100 caterpillars a day to feed each chick – with a brood of around 10, well, you can do the sums. So it looks like wildflowers can be combined with more formal areas, they appeal to visitors, and it is an all round good thing to do.