Lletty's Blog

Croeso! Welcome to Lletty Cottage a lovely five star holiday cottage for two in Carmarthenshire. www.llettycottage.co.uk

July 31 Llandeilo, Ammanford and Aberglasney July 31, 2021

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Our Walking Well Walk began at Llandeilo railway station just like we used to in BC ( Before Covid) days. The sun was shining as we set off along the Swing Bridge. It actually should be called the Bouncy Bridge because it doesn’t half bounce about when when a lot of people walk across it. It was jolly hard to keep the camera straight when trying to photograph some swimmers and jumpers in the river Tywi below!

We followed the river along the bank and came to an original ford which crossed to the town on the other side.

We stayed our side of the river and walked on to Tregib Woods crossing under telegraph lines which were strung with metal hangars to help birds avoid flying into the wires. Following the Dormouse route through the woods we passed masses of flowering meadowsweet, their scent filling the air.

The boardwalk makes visiting damp places in the woodland very accessible and the carved walk markers make it easy to navigate through the acres of trees. Well- it really helps to have a walk guide who knows the place very well and can lead us all safely back to Llandeilo. Back at the carpark some walkers went on to Davies and Co for a well earned coffee and cake! Thank you Ros for a lovely walk. Please note we had some very stylish walkers on the walk!

Due to the very hot summer weather that we were fortunate/unfortunate to have recently a number of bottles of beer were deemed as very necessary items to be added to the shopping list! Jim’s preferred beer meant a visit to a large supermarket in Ammanford as local shops don’t stock it!

We enjoyed a lovely walk around the park with its bandstand, cricket pitch, bowling green and memorial garden before putting on face masks again and going shopping!

Aberglasney featured on Gardeners’ World July 30 and it looked as beautiful as ever.

When I visit I’m allowed to pick a few flowers and make an arrangement for the ladies loo…I know my place in society!! I am not a flower arranger at all the flowers are so beautiful they seem to arrange themselves!

Back home the garden has needed a great deal of watering during the hot weather. I decided a couple of years ago not to have too many pot plants to reduce the watering but somehow there still seems to be a great many to keep watered! Plus the greenhouse, the veg plot and the hanging baskets. Next year I’ll definitely cut back!!!

The rest of the garden also needed a drink so thank goodness for my super stretchy hosepipe- it’s the best ever and stretches right round the front garden then shrivels back short again. Love it! I’m also pretty fond of the colour pink…I think!

Mind you I also love yellow, blue, lilac and all the colours of the rainbow!

The bees living in the roof above our bedroom also love lots of coloured flowers and are joined in the garden by other flying friends but not as many as usual.

Just when I was giving up hope of seeing any rain as forecasted thunder storms seemed to whizz by to the north of us then the south but at last just when I was hanging out the washing along came the rain! Better late than never although the sunflower looked none too happy!

Thank you for reading. Hope you’ve all had just the perfect amount of rain or sun that you want. Looking forward to eating these later in the season!

 

July 18 Gelli Aur, Botanic Garden of Wales, Aberglasney July 19, 2021

In no time at all there was another Walking Well Walk arranged by one of the leaders. Three ladies have taken over the organisation and running of the group and it’s all going really smoothly.

The walk was to take place in the grounds of the Gelli Aur mansion, a rather dour building, but surrounded by glorious woodland including many specimen trees.

As soon as I opened the car door the scent from the many lime trees around the carpark was quite over powering! Wish I could bottle it or indeed have smelly sensation available on WordPress to share with everyone!

We walked through meadows mown with paths and being aware of covid restrictions behaved extremely well (!) keeping in single file and metres apart!

The lovely stone walls marked the perimeter of the managed woodland. Even though the woods are managed there were clumps of Himalayan balsam- so pretty but our native plants suffer when they are present. Let’s hope the foxgloves fight back!

It was a wonderful walk as there were paths through the woods, through a small quarry, along a road, up a hill, down a dale and on the way meeting interesting people too! Chats with a gentleman who had been in the Gulf War and his memories all added to the enjoyable morning out.

Good to spot lots of wildflowers and things of interest- keeps the mind from wondering if the hill ahead is going to be manageable or not! One of the walkers had an app on his phone that tells you the name of the plant when looked at. It was fascinating trouble is I’ve forgotten many of the names of all the umbellifers..but I knew them when he said!!! Coffee and cake in the cafe ended another wonderful WWW – thank you Pam!

My recent visits to the Botanic Garden of Wales have been marred by the weather. Heavy rain shortened my last visit so it was great to be back there recently in full sunshine and happy summer weather. The gardens looked amazing and I remembered to take photos of the plants I liked and their labels so I know what I want to buy on my next visit to a nursery! Also it helps me to see how plant colour combinations are used to enhance enjoyment in borders- my planting of planned colours in borders never seem to turn out as I envision them- mine is a pot luck garden!

The Great Glasshouse looked splendid inside and out!

It was lovely to share the time at the Gardens with friends and we enjoyed looking at the new bog garden and we all ended up buying a plant in the plant sales area!

Of course no post would be complete without a mention of Aberglasney Gardens where everything continues to grow and flourish and brings pleasure to all the visitors.

Back home the sunshine has meant the watering continues apace! It’s very time consuming but necessary!

The Canada geese are able to cool off, in the recent hot weather, by hiding under the gunnera leaves and amongst the tall grasses in the Pond Field. How the Pond Field is going to get cut is something to worry about later as it looks rather lovely with all the grasses, wild flowers and a steadily increasing number of butterflies flying about. The goslings are now nearly the same size as their parents and practice flapping their wings vigorously on the pond. This helps break up the dreaded pond weed which is strangling everything else!

The rest of the garden is looking bright and more flowers are popping up in unexpected places!

The cottage has been buzzing with lovely visitors. It’s all to do with many deciding to stay in the UK for their holidays instead of flying off to countries new and then having problems with covid restrictions. It’s been really enjoyable welcoming people from all over the UK to stay in the cottage. Some have shared our home grown veg when it has been available! However, everyone has been delighted to visit Carmarthenshire, some for the first time, and discover what a beautiful county it is and a perfect place to spend your holiday.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy the sunny weather wherever you are!

 

July 4th Aberglasney Orchids, Wetlands Centre Llanelli, Llandovery July 4, 2021

July! Where did June go? Our strange weather continues with occasional spots of rain followed by spots of sunshine! I can cope with that!

Our front garden overlooks a paddock where a variety of different sheep are brought to live for short periods of time. Sometimes the farmer brings the rams to have a rest after all their hard work and at other times there are ewes and lambs. They are all delightful and make the outlook over the pasture very pastoral. That is until a ewe fancies some tasty leaves on the other side of the fence! Our side! One ewe limboed under the fencing but unfortunately, her lamb was on the other side! Maybe you have never had the pleasure of listening to a lamb wanting his mother all through the night! It is painful!

All sorted when the farmer arrived with a bucket of food in the morning- she followed him to her field down the road back to her baby…as meek as a lamb!!! The Canada Geese were not impressed!

The sheep haven’t been the only naughty ones around! The mice are eating all the bird nuts and the birds aren’t happy…nor am I!

There was another Walking Well Walk arranged and I was fortunate enough to gain one of the ten places available. We set off from Dinefwr and crossed highways to pastures new!

It was most enjoyable to walk through the fields and spot wild flowers, red tailed bumble bees and sheep!

The days before the walk there had been some downpours so the land in places was rather damp…reminiscent of Philip’s walks!

I was fortunate to catch a photo of a swallow as it swooped and swirled over the meadow. If you look hard through a magnifying glass you may see it!!

We ended our walk back on the National Trust land at Dinefwr. Thanks for the walk and company Pam.

A visit to Aberglasney is usually included in my posts as I do love the place!

At Aberglasney today there was a surprise in the Ninfarium! It is always full of interesting plants but now in most nooks and crannies and on windowsills there was an abundance of beautiful orchids on display.

A little garden elf whispered to me that Gardener’s World is coming to film there soon so everyone will then be able to enjoy seeing the Ninfarium and the orchids!

Just a sample of photos to tickle your interest!

After the excitement of seeing the orchids I had to have a cool down so no better place than under the gunnera umbrellas especially as it was raining !

Earlier in the week we had a day out to the Wetland Centre in Llanelli. Funnily enough it wasn’t wet but quite a pleasant dry day to enjoy walking around the centre and seeing all the wildfowl in situ and all those birds on the estuary that could be seen from the hides.

Far too many birds to take in their names and where they had come from but best of all was watching the birds flying in and out of the estuary. The unmistakeable flamingoes were the only birds I really knew to name! They were gorgeous.

Llandovery, our local town, has shown it is ready and waiting for all the visitors to arrive for summer. Everywhere looks bright and beautiful with bunting draped across the streets and places painted up shiny and new. Hope everyone visits as it’s a really lovely place to go.

Far too any photos in this post already but a few more of our garden won’t hurt…will it!!

As I only added 19 photos a few more of the cottage garden won’t matter!! It’s been wonderful welcoming back visitors to the cottage and seeing them enjoy sitting in the garden and sometimes the sun has shone too!

A dear friend in Nottingham has sent us a surprise box of chocolates. They looked totally delicious and they were! We have no control when there’s a box of chocs around. Hope you all have some lovely surprises this July and thank you for reading!

 

June 22 Dinefwr Aberglasney & Home June 22, 2021

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After a cold, damp Spring the garden seemed to fall into a slumber and nothing flourished until the sun started to make a regular appearance and now plants are all awake and growing fast! So fast that’s it’s hard to keep up with them all! With the sunshine- out comes the watering can, the hose and the sprinkler all things that take time to sort out…the kinks, the leaks and the varying water pressure…oh the joys of watering!

Early morning

It’s not too many weeks ago that the borders above were inches deep in water and now I’m spraying them!

An email today from one of the ladies organising the Walking Well Walks jolted me back into thinking about writing a post! A whole fortnight has whooshed by and I haven’t written about the last Walk out to Dinefwr in Llandeilo.

Only ten are allowed on the walks due to Covid procedures so I was fortunate to get in with my request straight away! It was lovely to be walking together again and in familiar surroundings. The walk took us through the woodlands and we could spot the deer herd through the trees . The scene made a good composition with Newton House in the centre, the deer in the foreground and the White Cattle in the background. Pity the photo/photographer didn’t capture the scene properly!

Walking through the meadow was a delight with yellow rattle, buttercups, clover and all the other wild flowers in bloom.

After walking across the newly renovated board walk we ended up outside Newton House for our take away coffees and cakes. Another great walk – thank you!

The farmer, who takes silage off our field, has had to wait for the weather to perk up and this week it was all action as the machines came in and cut the grass and in no time at all it was all wrapped up tidy and neat waiting to be collected!

A short walk, with a friend, to the path that we tried to clear in lockdown found us catching up with some neighbours to have a chat. We were shown into the garden of one of them and admired the tomatoes and cucumbers growing in their poly tunnel.

We continued our walk and found the path where we had valiantly cut down the brambles and branches was still remarkably clear. However, there was still a long way to go to reach the end of the path and we took a brave decision to leave the path and maybe we can find a wonderful volunteer with a power strimmer and machete to clear it for us!!

One of my favourite trees can be seen from the overgrown path.

Other favourites on a walk are the shadows on the roads. it helps me walk faster if I’m looking down at them!!

A visit to Aberglasney in the week was a treat.

Far too many photos in this post already but a few more of the garden. I had a brilliant idea!!! I would take photos of the plants in the garden and then it would help me remember where they were in the autumn when I needed to split them…especially the candelabra primula. I want to share the colours around. Of course I took the photos but no reference points…back to the drawing board!

Our bees, who live in the roof, are keeping busy in the garden but there are few other flying insects around. Most of the photos below had a flying creature on them when I took the photo but their flying is quicker than my clicking finger!

We do have eight flying birds in the Pond Field though! The Canada Geese and the goslings are back and doing well. One adult goose always has heads up and watches around whilst the goslings are head down eating- no wonder they are growing so quickly! Good to have them here we are very lucky!

Our son in Canada also has birds in his garden. Cedar Waxwings lovely to see but they are eating all his cherries!

Another Walking Well Walk on Friday to look forward to and more watering in the garden! The car needs a wash too- it’s good to be happy and busy!

Thank you for reading.

 

June 7th Visits to Westonbirt and Penllergare Valley Woods June 7, 2021

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At last after such a long time we’ve been able to see our family! A day out together with daughter & grandson plus extras at Westonbirt The National Arboretum. We had a wonderful day and enjoyed walking around through all the many paths amongst the thousands of trees. Best was walking over the bridge that spans across the woodland so it feels like one is a bird in the branches hidden from view but seeing all!

It wasn’t too busy but everyone we met had a very well trained dog on a leash. It was very helpful to find that all the trees were labelled and it stopped any wondering what species they all were- it definitely aids the memory when the name is on a label!

Back home we have had visitors! It was lovely to welcome new faces to the cottage after such a long break. All the cleaning and sanitising went well and even when the dishwasher broke two days before the first visitors came AO were fantastic and delivered one next day- great service! Friends arrived from England with gifts for us pie for Jim and stilton cheese for me and a fruit flan! We were very happy and full!

In our house we had the arrival of a bat in the bedroom and Jim luckily found the tiny hole that it had come through! The tallest ladder we have just reaches our ceiling but we had to open the window to get the ladder out again as it had jammed on the stairs coming up!! We do lead exciting lives!!

I enjoyed my weekly visit to Aberglasney with a good pal. She loves this tree a Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ wedding cake tree!

The rest of the Gardens are beautiful and it’s encouraging to see all the visitors returning now lockdown has eased.

The sun was shining when we visited Penllergare Valley Woods for a walk and coffee and cake! The Gardens are 40 minutes drive away from Lletty Cottage and are quite magical! Really! On both sides of the valley there are major roads and the Woods lie snuggled between them. A slight distant hum can be heard but the birds singing deafens the hum out! There are 12 square miles of woodland and 7 miles of footpaths…we haven’t walked them all….yet!!

There’s a fascinating history to the valley and there are great projects afoot to make the welcome centre larger and expand the facilities.

Can you hear that noise? It’s our grass and weeds growing! After the wet and cold we’ve had hot, warm and damp weather perfect for everything to start coming to life…in a big way! It’s been tricky trying to keep everything tidy when overnight plants seem to burst out of their slumber and shout, ‘ I’m alive and flowering…NOW! ‘

This succulent looked sad and down at heart and over a week has transformed into a beauty!

On Pond Field

Hostas ….before the slugs get them!

Flowers popping up everywhere all shapes, sizes and colours

Good to see so many bees in the garden and different kinds too. Sadly lacking in many other insects on the plants but there must be many flying around as the swifts are back at home nesting under the eaves and they must be eating something! There must be at least five pairs nesting and they squeal and screech around the house early morning and through the day…it’s a joy to hear them.

The tomatoes, cucumbers and salad are all growing well in the greenhouse and the runner beans, peas and courgettes are all planted in veg plot. I’d hoped to cut back on my planting this year but something happens and I just pop a seed into a deep root trainers and before I know it there’s a plant! I have to look after it now…don’t I !!!

Thank you Jane for the root trainers they have been amazing!!

Thank you for reading. Hope your gardens are growing well too!

 

May 22 Mumbles, Llyn Llech Owen, Botanic Garden of Wales Visits May 22, 2021

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A few outings have amazingly been managed recently by dodging the showers, the heavy rain, the gales and the chilly gusts!

With the car needing its first MOT we returned it to the garage where we bought it in Swansea. Of course one can’t go to Swansea without calling into the Mumbles for a coffee, cake and a walk along the seawall. We left the rain at home and enjoyed our walk in the sunshine.

There were, of course, lots of seagulls on the beach but it was only a pigeon who posed for its portrait.

There’s a lake near the garage with a large gathering of swans. I looked up the collective noun for a group of swans and there are many- in case you are interested! I think I like ‘ a whiteness of swans’ best!

swans – a gaggle of swans
swans (flying) – a wedge of swans
swans – a bank of swans
swans – a bevy of swans
swans – a whiteness of swans
swans – a herd of swans
swans – an eyrar of swans
swans – a gargle of swans

Around the lake there are some lovely trees with interesting barks. I think they are London plane trees and outside another garage there were dinosaurs!!

It was wonderful to receive the news that Our Walking Well group was restarting. There were a few new ‘rules’. There are only ten places on the walk and you have to book your place online. These ‘rules’ will be tweaked as we all become accustomed to the new way of things. Our first walk was at Llyn Llech Owain – an old favourite! Three ladies have volunteered to be the leaders so it was lovely to meet up at the carpark and set off on our walk with some old friends and some new friends too. The weather was damp and over cast but it didn’t spoil the walk at all. As usual we ended the walk with coffee and cake in the cafe.

We met a number of people who were also enjoying their walks with their furry friends!

The Botanic Garden of Wales has finished their years long project of restoring the Regency lakes. I’ve watched the progress of the build through wire fences but I hadn’t walked all the new paths and seen all the new bridges. Every time the visit was going to be made the weather was too wet or cold. Fortunately last week we had a bright day and a friend asked me to accompany her on the walk.

We walked through the Gardens enjoying all the different settings.

We visited the apothecary building first and enjoyed seeing all the embroidery displayed on the walls.

The Great Glasshouse was filled with flowering plants from all over the world. It was beautiful.

Eventually after a tasty Welsh cake and coffee we set off down the path to see the lakes. We followed the new path around one side of the lake passing blue bells and campions in the verges and then crossed over the two new bridges. We were just looking at the new map and pondering which path to follow when the heavens opened and the rain poured down! A minute before it had been blue skies and now the clouds were black and heavy!

A race back to the car swiftly followed and a new date set for a completion of the walk when the weather behaves itself!!

Back home the garden has been trying hard to cope with the different weather conditions. After the dry April there were no problems with slugs. Now, however, it’s slug heaven! The new plants I have grown in the greenhouse and planted out are just the hors d’oeuvres and then they move on to the main meal of flower heads followed by the pudding of newly grown lettuce!

The rain does make pretty drops on the leaves though!

Hard to believe its June next weekend! Flaming June…I do hope so! I’m getting webbed feet! Next weekend the first visitors of the year are arriving in Lletty Cottage. It will be great to welcome back old friends and to make new ones.

One thing is for certain they have chosen to visit the best county in Wales. Carmarthenshire has it all and when it’s not raining it’s the very best!

Thank you for reading.

 

May 8 Visits to Aberglasney, Brecon and Home Again May 8, 2021

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Another month, another post and another grumble about the weather! Today it is really pouring down with rain but…on the bright side it’s warmer! On the downside the seeds I so generously sprinkled on bare borders yesterday have now been washed away in the water puddles that have appeared in said borders!

Hey ho and on we go! At least the house plants are thriving and looking forward to their time outside in the summer sunshine…whenever that arrives! No swallows around our house yet. ..early days! However, the screeching of swifts streaking through the sky around the roof yesterday announced their arrival but they’ve kept their heads down today to keep out of the rain. I do wonder where they go!

The bird feeders are remaining unfilled until the ‘canker’ that has been seen in local birds is given time to clear. The squirrels are missing the feeders and all the wood mice too! Rufus hates the squirrels and keeps a sharp eye on them but doesn’t do much else!

No birds on the feeders but plenty of activity on the pond where the Canada Geese goslings have hatched out… ….six of them … very proud parents!

The rams on the next door paddock are steadily eating their way through all the grass when they aren’t relaxing and sleeping!

A visit out to Brecon to meet up with some special friends was the highlight of the week. We enjoyed a walk along the river and a tasty snack in the Pilgrim’s Cafe next to the cathedral, where a small area, under a canopy, for eating outside was allocated. This was very fortunate as it snowed and sleeted and rained and blew a chilly wind whilst we were sitting there! Sadly the cathedral was closed to visitors but a further amble through the town looking at some of the few shops that were open was very pleasant.

At home the skip has gone and the scaffolding is down and the new chimney stack looks great. Even with all the rain today the fireplace and walls have all stayed dry ..the work was worth it! Yay!

A weekly visit to Aberglasney is usually on a Sunday. The last few weeks every Sunday has been blessed with sunshine…it always shines on the Gardens!

The Malus Arbour was in full bloom and was buzzing with bees it really is specail!

Aberglasney’s Malus sargentii Arbour is one of the Gardens most striking features when in full flower. This stunning Crab Apple from Mororan in Japan is situated in Aberglasney’s Lower Walled Garden and is a wonderful sight when it is alive with bees and hums like some kind of natural electric motor. The single white flowers are followed by small cherry-like fruits, which last well into the autumn.

Looking forward to seeing the ‘new’ Wisteria arbour in full bloom soon!

In our garden work on digging the compost for hanging baskets has had to be delayed as a number of toads have taken residence there! They might turn into handsome princes!!

It would be better if they all moved to the greenhouse to keep any unwanted visitors away. The greenhouse needs an extension…running out of room frequently!

The rest of the garden is doing well considering the ups and downs of the weather. Trying to get more wild flowers growing in the borders and in the lawns has proved difficult in the past! The front lawn is full of lady’s smock now but with other grass areas wild flower seeds haven’t really taken well. This year the seeds have been sown and germinated in the greenhouse and now being planted out as plugs into bare soil! Fingers crossed it will work!

Lots of plants growing and lots to look forward to!

At the moment it’s just time to enjoy the crab apple and fruit tree blossom and the shrubs that are in full flower.

Wish there were more insects in the garden these days. Hopefully with everyone being more conscious of which plants are best attracting wildlife there’ll be more creepy crawlies around again! Even slugs can come back…I’ve the toads to deal with them!!

Thank you Jane in Scotland for the euphorbia you gave me…the flying insects love it! (Thanks Julian for head up about spelling!)

Thank you for reading.

 

April 25 Visits to Porthcawl, Dinefwr and Aberglasney April 25, 2021

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This post should start with a reference to April showers, ” April showers bring May flowers” …so the saying goes, however, showers have been sadly lacking over the last weeks! We have been blessed with frosty mornings , sunny days and some chilly winds which has all resulted in getting the watering can out earlier than usual!

The sunny days have meant we have enjoyed some visits out! We haven’t been to NT Dinefwr in Llandeilo for months so with news that the take away cafe was open …we went!

Newton House looked as formidable as usual but being surrounded by pleasant pastures filled with the famous white cattle it’s a great place to have a lovely walk. There are many different paths to follow and every one is enjoyable.

Over lockdown the parterre has had some work with the yew trees having a severe haircut. The box hedges have box blight so work to be done there too. Around the park there were signs of the result of last winter’s storms with many trees having been blown over and left….all good for the creepy crawlies to come and get their teeth into. Other trees seem to have been cut down as they looked diseased or in danger of losing branches and falling on visitors…who knows!

I always think of Macbeth when passing these trees!

A visit to Aberglasney Gardens is a weekly adventure as there is always something new to see and enjoy. The gardens look wonderful any day of the year but they really sing in the spring!