Lletty's Blog

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November 27 Dinefwr and Caio Walks, Cowbridge Physic Garden , Aberglasney November 28, 2021

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Two Walking Well Walks for the price of one in this post! It has taken time to settle back into our routine after our visit to Canada and having the walks to go on puts routines back into my life!

The first walk started from Dinefwr and crossed the A40 into the fields near Penybanc.

Thank you Pam for the lovely walk.

The second walk was to Caio Forest. A number of brave and hardy walkers turned up on a day that was definitely not the best for walking! The company was wonderful and no one complained about the conditions and we all had a good chat and ‘enjoyed’ ourselves! The wind blew, blasted and was bitterly cold, the rain came in squalls and splashes but we bent our backs and moved forward when the wind allowed! At the end of the walk we all declined an invite to a local hostelry for drinks and we got in our cars and headed straight home for hot baths and hot drinks!

the https://naturalresources.wales/days-out/places-to-visit/south-west-wales/caio-forest/?lang=en

Thank you Biddy for leading the walk.

Getting back into a routine also means visiting Aberglasney. It was good to see Carol Klein’s visit there on her recent programme : https://www.channel5.com/show/carol-klein-s-great-british-gardens/season-3/episode-1

Carol enjoyed her visit to The Ninfarium which has lots of interest through the year but on the cold, damp days of winter it is a good place to visit to see colourful orchids, the bird of paradise flowering and Christmas cactus in hanging baskets and bananas growing!

We’ve fitted in a few visits out as well as trying to get the garden in order for the winter. One of the jobs that I need the wholehearted help from Jim for is the cutting down of the gunnera on the little island in the pond! This entails a bit of encouragement as it means getting the boat out, paddling across to the island, kneeling on knees that don’t want to bend, cutting down leaves with sharp spikes and placing them so they protect the new shoots which will appear next spring! He earns lots of Brownie points for doing this job!

One afternoon we visited Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan, which is a bright and bustling town with many historical links. It has many lovely independent shops and good places for eating out!

Typically, we ended up in Costa for our lunch as everywhere else was full! Never mind, as across the way was Waitrose…a delight in itself to visit! After eating our shared egg sandwich and one mince pie…all that was left on the shelf..we visited the Physic Garden! Well worth a visit even in autumn/winter.

Back at home the morning walk around the garden with Rufus has been brightened with the beautiful sunrises. It’s the same view but it changes daily!

The sunsets aren’t too bad either!

There has been interest in the garden up until lately.

Then we had a few frosty nights!

This weekend we had storm Arwen and our huge beech tree on the Pond Field was blown over as well as a large branch broken off the lime tree. Sad but grateful that no-one was hurt.

The birds have returned in larger numbers to the garden due to the cold weather and the bird seed disappears at an alarming rate! They bring so much pleasure though- it’s worth every penny…or pound….or pounds!!! The mice need the nuts too! ( New bird feeding station from Wilko!)

The Aberglasney robin wanted to upstage our garden robin! I think he won!!

Thank you for reading. Enjoy opening your advent calendar …hope it’s a chocolate one! Mine is!

 

November 8th Back Home November 8, 2021

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Well it’s been a while since I posted as we’ve been away on holiday in Canada! Best time of the year we reckon to visit with the wonderful autumn colours to enjoy all around. Great to see the grandchildren after two years …how they’ve grown …and happy to see our son doing well after a worrying time with health issues.

Photos…well …there are a few…hundred! However, they are mostly of children doing all their activities! Ice skating lessons, art class, Ninja classes etc…I remember when I used to take our children to classes …piano, tennis and rugby…they sound really boring with what’s on offer these days!

Our son lives south of Vancouver, near the sea, which at this time of year is full of migratory birds. Huge flocks of all kinds of birds can be seen on the water in all directions …wish my camera had a good zoom! Fields full of snow geese and eagles flying low …this is really a photographers and bird watchers dream place to be.

A birthday treat for me was a visit to the Van Gogh exhibition in Vancouver. I was overwhelmed with the sights and the sounds and being immersed inside the paintings….a wonderful experience.

Whilst the children were at school we enjoyed visits out with our son. It was noticeable that places hadn’t geared up for tourists this year and souvenirs were sparse everywhere we went. Places were very quiet with hardly any visitors as covid restrictions were still in place and hardly any tourists…made it all the better for us!!

The Museum of Anthropology was full of fascinating artefacts as one would expect but it really was wonderful to see so many unusual items from all over the world. We could have stayed there for hours! I was so interested in everything I forgot to take many photos! …I’ll have to go back!!!

The children loved visiting the Botanic Garden in Vancouver…so did we! As the area is in the Pacific temperate rainforest it was suitable that it was a rainy Saturday when we visited. The damp didn’t spoil the walk through the forest but it did make the walk along the very wet rope bridges, slung high up in the trees rather more exciting and worrying than expected.

On the return flight, just as we were leaving, the pilot announced that there was a bit of turbulence ahead and the flight would take on a new path to avoid the worst conditions. It was a bit bumpy but OK and if we’d had parachutes we could have jumped out just as the plane passed over our house! Anything to avoid the hold ups at Heathrow and the train from Paddington to Swansea…over a thousand on board and seats all taken!

It was hard leaving the family behind and we are already planning how to save up and visit again!

I just had to visit Aberglasney to see the autumn colours. Outside it was raining but inside the mansion the colours of the gardens were well represented by the beautiful photographs by Nigel McCall.

I received a brilliant surprise gift from Gill Bramley Ceramics, a Swansea potter, when I arrived at the Gardens. She had left me a selection of beautiful hand made pots perfect for the flower arrangements that I try to make every week in the ladies toilets!!!

Thank you Gill– greatly appreciated and loved.

Thank you for reading. It’s good to be back writing a post …it will take me time to get the garden sorted and my head back in gear but I’ve some great memories of a wonderful holiday to keep me going through the winter and the knowledge that the Canadian health service is wonderful.

 

September 19 Cwmdu Walk, Dinefwr Walk and Mark Cavendish! September 21, 2021

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Two Walking Well Walks in one post! The days seem to go by so quickly and the daylight time is getting shorter so one has to make the most of the wonderful September days. We’ve had some lovely early autumn days with mists in the valley in the morning, sunshine in the afternoon followed by chilly evenings! I must find my woolly socks!

Our walk around the hills and fields of Cwmdu was delightful. We set off from the Cwmdu Inn and followed the road through the village passing many delightful gardens with some guarded by owls!

There were some beautiful views across the valley and a number of properties that had seen better days but were just waiting for someone to come along and spruce them up.

Back at the inn we all enjoyed a coffee and delicious cake provided by Biddy. Thanks Biddy!

An amazing display of orchids were on show at Aberglasney during the Welsh Orchid Festival. There were orchids of all sizes, colours and shapes and it was difficult not to buy any!

More excitement followed when we were fortunate enough to visit the Botanic Gardens, with kind friends, to see the Time Trials for the Tour of Britain. Before the cyclists arrived, they were cycling in teams from Llandeilo, we set off for a wonderful walk around the lakes on the newly finished paths and ending our walk in the Great Glasshouse.

Following this we headed to the Time Trials finishing line where the spectators were lined up ready to cheer on the cyclists. It was all very exciting especially for my friend who declares herself as Mark Cavendish’s most ardent follower! He was very approachable and agreed for a photo to be taken…happy days!

Pam had arranged the next Walking Well Walk starting from Dinefwr and walking over fields, across fords and down country lanes arriving at Llangathen Church which is across the road from Aberglasney Gardens. It was a very enjoyable walk on a lovely autumn day in wonderful company. Thank you Pam!

Back in the garden the colour palette has changed to lots more autumny colours with bright orange and yellows with some roses holding on to summer for a bit longer! The crab apples, rose hips and apple trees are attracting lots of flying friends- even the wasps are welcome these days! Butterflies too are love the juicy apples fallen on the ground- they come in good numbers to have a banquet!

Visitors in Lletty Cottage can hardly see out of the kitchen window!

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is definitely here so hope you enjoy all that it offers…I will!

Thank you for reading.

 

August 30 Dinefwr, Hafod Estate, Aberglasney, Oldham! August 30, 2021

See the curtains hanging in the window,

In the evening on a Friday night

A little light shining through the window,

Let’s me know everything’s alright

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine,

Blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

I’ve been humming this song for the last few weeks as the sun came out and there was better news about a family worry. It’s been a busy time with a lovely Walking Well Walk around Dinefwr. The day was none too bright but the company made up for that with sparkling chat and coffee and cake outside Newton House at the end of the walk.

The walkers met at the top of the entrance drive to Dinefwr and walked through the fields up to the castle where the views stretch out along the Towy Valley. In the distance the ruin of Dryslwyn Castle stands atop the next rocky hilltop.

After enjoying a walk from the castle through the woods and along the board walk we ended up near Newton House passing on our way a new garden enterprise set up in the old ticket office- more wonderful plants to tempt one!

Another long day’s drive took us through the beautiful heart of Wales, the centre of Manchester ( the satnav went wrong!!) and to our destination Oldham. We were collecting some car parts. We enjoy the visit as the workshop is packed full of old cars, machinery and everything old, however, the journey seems to take longer every time we go!

Finding a shorter journey for a day out we drove to the Hafod Estate, near Aberystwyth. Although it was a drizzly, damp day we had a wonderful visit.

The Hafod Estate was designed in the late eighteenth century by Thomas Johnes and it soon became an essential destination for visitors touring Wales in search of “wild nature”.

The area was all ‘ picturesque’ and quite beautiful. There were many walking trails but we chose ‘The Lady’s Walk’ as it passes waterfalls, fields, streams and it was the ‘less strenuous’. It was a great walk and most enjoyable, however, we should have noted that if we walked downhill to the river there was a possibility that somewhere along the line there would be an uphill stretch! We found it- right at the end! Jim’s knees were squealing!! However, after the climb back to the car, from the bottom of the ravine, and a chocolate and coffee from the flask, we both warmed up and started planning our next visit here!

I loved all the heather…can you tell!

I loved the church, the woods, the river, the sheep baaarring the way and the waterfalls too!

Half way back up the hill from the waterfall- it was a long climb but worth it!!

Of course, visits to Aberglasney must be included in my posts. The Gardens have looked stunning throughout the summer and amaze visitors with the colour and splendour of all the plants in the borders.

There are also added attractions as every Sunday the Bonsai Group meet in the Piggeries and share their knowledge with any interested visitor.

There are art and craft exhibitions held in the mansion throughout the summer. The latest exhibition is stunning…as always: Andrew Douglas-Forbes and Rhian Nest James

Back home the garden has run the rest of my life! So much to do, mowing the grass, cutting back, but most of all enjoying the summer breeze!

It’s good to share the garden with little friends!

The ‘fernery’ looks bright and colourful in the summer!

The Pond Field has become too overgrown and my lawn mower won’t cut it all as the buttercups have taken over! I’ve done the best that I can though!

Lots more field to do and lots more garden to enjoy!

Hope your summer is breezing along happily too. Thank you for reading.

 

August 13 Talley, Pembroke Dock, Thoresby Hall August 13, 2021

A damp start to our Walking Well Walk in Talley, made the climb, up to the top of the ridge above the village, a bit slippy! The gasps at the top either meant you were out of breath or were delighted with the wonderful views- I was both!!

After a short rest , chat and drink we started off back to the bottom again through the pine forests enjoying the views of beautiful Talley Abbey from above.

The church hall, next to the Abbey ruins, was open for drinks and cakes which we all enjoyed very much indeed…especially the cakes which were all handmade and delicious. Thank you Biddy for the lovely walk.

Travelling further afield for a day out we went to Thoresby Hall Nottinghamshire for a car rally! It’s amazing what you can fit into a day when you get up early! The service stations were busy and after being very cautious in recent months about avoiding crowds it felt very strange to be amongst lots of people…not many wearing masks either!

The forecast had been rainy and chilly but the sun shone all afternoon and we had a grand time enjoying seeing all the cars and the Hall. It was a quintessentially British afternoon with classic cars, a stately home and a cricket match- all quite lovely.

I bought this!

Back home the garden is blooming!!! Blooming difficult to keep under control!! The hot weather followed by the wet weather has meant the perfect conditions for weed, bramble and grass growth! The courgettes are growing into marrows, the Mini Munch cucumbers are now Maxi Munch ones and the runner beans have done a runner to the very top of the canes and I can’t reach them! Apart from that all’s well!

The canna lilies are looking good!

After all the gardening it was definitely time for another day out! Not so far this time just a drive to Pembroke Dock to visit the Heritage Centre and see the history of the Sunderland Flying Boat. The centre is full of fascinating models and displays.

There are some wonderful boat models and one is of the car ferry the Cleddau King which I went on as a child.

One of the other displays shows the Millennium Falcon!!

From Wikipedia:

In spring 1979, Marcon Fabrications, a heavy engineering firm that served the UK’s petrochemical and oil industries,[7] was hired to build a movable full-scale external model capable of “moving as if it were about to take off.”[7] Built in secrecy under the project code name Magic Roundabout,[7][8] the company leased the 1930s Western SunderlandFlying Boathangar in Pembroke DockWest Wales.[8][9] The model, which took three months to construct, weighed over 25 long tons (25 t), measured 65 feet (20 m) in diameter and 20 feet (6.1 m) high, and used compressed air hover pads for up to 1.5 inches (38 mm) of hover-height movement around the set.[8][10][11] It was then disassembled and shipped to Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, for filming.[7] Today, the Pembroke Dock museum has an exhibit about the project.[7][8]

It’s amazing what gets built in Wales!

Across the road from the Centre a shop has a display of Star Wars Lego in their window.

Leaving the Centre we went for a walk down to the harbour and enjoyed a lovely stroll along the beach. The ferry to Ireland was getting prepared for departure- wish we were on it!

The garden was still waiting for work to be done but a chance just to sit and enjoy it came along when the sun popped out for a while!

At last we have butterflies in the garden! Not as many as usual but early days yet…hopefully!

We also have some ‘lost’ baby birds! This baby robin wouldn’t leave my potting shed until a mouse ran out behind it!

Not quite ready yet but getting redder by the day and juicier even Snow White would be impressed with these apples!

Thank you for reading. Have a great August wherever you are!

May the force be with you!

 

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!