Lletty's Blog

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

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.

 

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:42 pm
Tags: , ,

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:21 pm
Tags: ,

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 4:15 pm
Tags:

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.

 

July 18 Aberglasney and Seaside Wishes Completed! July 18, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 12:39 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s a jolly good idea to have something to look forward to in life and my wishes over the last months in lockdown have been to visit Aberglasney and the seaside again and see our family. Just like Aladdin two of my wishes have come true already…the third wish to see our family will have to wait a while until next year …so it’s good to keep something very special to look forward to!

Aberglasney is looking amazing with borders brimming over with plants that have just been waiting to show themselves off to visitors. The cafe is now also open with a limited menu and sitting outside under the canopy with social distancing in place is perfect.

The wildflower meadow is a highlight in the garden at this time of year and this year it is the best!

The Sunken Garden is looking beautiful too!

Alongside the pool there’s a pretty view of the border leading to the cafe.

Elsewhere in the garden there are delights around every corner for everyone to enjoy.

After some visits to the Gardens it was time to be granted my second wish of a visit to the seaside. On the day the sun shone we headed for New Quay, which was much quieter than normal for this time of year. The holiday makers are returning to the area now so businesses will be feeling happier as they hope for more sunny days to bring in the visitors.

New Quay has a delightful harbour and usually one can see dolphins and seals out at sea when one walks along the harbour wall…but we didn’t see any!! We did enjoy looking at all the rock formations and the crushed shells on the beach though.

New Quay was one of the stopping off places for Dylan Thomas as he moved around locations and it is said that New Quay was the basis for his “Under Milkwood” 1954 radio drama….it certainly has all the features and characters…even now!

Interesting to read the tolls and charges that were applied years ago and to see the memorial erected to commemorate the men/women lost in the WW1 and 2

The National Trust have just started opening up their properties properly in Wales but some of the places have kept their walks available. We enjoyed a walk around Llanerchaeron woods which were open but the cafe is closed .

Back home the wild flowers are still bringing colour to the Pond Field.

Sadly we didn’t have any swallows nesting this year but we did have a little wren who has made good use of an old swallow’s nest under the carport! We do have numerous swifts though…we reckon there are at least six different nests under our eaves!

The garden keeps me very busy with trying to stop it turning into a jungle! I haven’t succeeded! The weather with its alternating rain, humidity and sunshine creates a perfect combination to make the grass grow and plants to expand!

It looks as though life is resuming slowly so I can see that I will be making a few more wishes soon. The mermaid at New Quay certainly looks as though she is blowing all her good wishes to everyone…thank you for reading.

 

July 3rd Damp but getting Sunnier Soon! July 3, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 2:56 pm
Tags:

Life motors on just the same as the weeks before….but definitely a feeling that it’s getting slower and slower! I feel like the little tortoise on my garden table…happy and safe in my home but a bit of a plodder! I’m sure energy levels will be revitalised when the 5 mile limit on travelling is lifted next Monday…I’ll be off then …hopefully in the week to a beach and the promise is fine weather too! Also on Monday Aberglasney Gardens are reopening and I’ll be back to volunteering on some days…hooray!

After keeping up with our local walks the most exciting thing we have done is visit our recycling centre in Ammanford…over 5 miles away! After booking a visiting slot online we drove there and found it all very organised and a relief to leave our rubbish behind.

Checking through our rubbish before we left home I discovered that Jim was discarding his metal toolbox as it was broken. This was swiftly removed from the pile and after a bit of remedial work it is now a lovely plant container!

Although there have been some periods of sunshine it has also rained and been chilly. Flowers have been unsure whether to fully open or stay down-headed and closed!

I’ve always like gates and little pathways and luckily I’ve a few in our garden to enjoy. ( Just found our again how to do circles!)

Our house plants are enjoying a break in the fresh air although they have complained about the cold wind!

The veg garden is at last beginning to speed up after the loss of so many plants in the frost. Some lovely friends brought some extra plants and they are doing well. The peas show lots of promise…hope the pods fill out soon!

The garden keeps surprising me with flowers that suddenly bloom and flowers that just keep on going and going!