It's easy to become isolated and insular as a gardener, the pull of gardening in your own plot is very strong and any free time is so precious that I just want to spend it at Holly Grove. However, after my recent trip to Devon I was reminded of how good it is to get out of your own garden occasionally and take inspiration from others.
view into the Dingle
Consequently yesterday I had a day out with my friend A (another keen gardener) to The Dingle Nurseries and Garden. The garden as the name suggests is in a deep hollow and set amongst some beautiful Welsh countryside. The predominent theme that I picked up on yesterday was trees; lots of them from acers and birches to conifers and eucalyptus. This is a shady garden and the underplanting in some areas is thin, they have also suffered some losses of shrubs and acers from the harsh winter weather in 2010/11. However the overall effect is quiet, calming and serenely green.
Amongst the trees there are many with beautiful, tactile bark. Unfortunately not all of the trees are labelled so I'll have to do some work to add names to the photos below which don't really do justice to the glory of these trees.
prunus serrula tibetica
At the bottom of the Dingle is a large pond which has, at one end, an enormous gunnera. Standing under the canopy of this beast with the sunlight filtering through was magical and the emerging flowers were a sight to behold.
As A and I made our way back up the hillside we had the prospect of a browse around the nurseries attached to the garden and that quickened our steps. We were like a couple of children in a sweetshop - so many lovely and unusual plants, it was difficult to select, though somehow we did manage. The nurseries are very well laid out with plants grouped together by preferred conditions and types. Inspired by the trees in the garden in amongst my purchases were two evergreens: a Korean Fir (Abies Koreana) and a Scot's Pine (Pinus Sylvestris 'Chantry Blue').
The Korean Fir has the most lovely bright green needles the underside of which are silvery blue. It's a young plant probably about three years old and will grow relatively slowly reaching about six to eight feet by its tenth birthday; it has been placed where we'll be able to see it from the kitchen window.
The pine has large blue needles and will manage six to seven feet by the time it is ten years old; it has replaced one of the pampas grasses that we lost to the winter frosts.
The garden at Holly Grove will benefit from some more winter colour as being predominently a cottage garden (lots of perennial plants) the winter scene is somewhat bare. It will take a while for these evergreens to make any real impact but part of gardening is learning patience and assuming that these trees enjoy the soil and aspect we'll be well rewarded.
I would recommend a trip to the Dingle Nurseries if you live close enough or are in the area on holiday; I would imagine that it is a glorious sight in the autumn. Although they only have a small tearoom serving coffee and tea there is another affiliated garden centre, the Derwen Garden Centre, just down the road with a licensed cafe and restaurant and more lovely plants!
Also in the locality is Powys Castle with its aclaimed gardens, but we'll save that for another day. (Almost forgot to mention that I managed to get a potentilla thurberi 'Monarch's Velvet' as seen in C's garden - lovely!