Firstly a brief mention that next Sunday, June 28th, at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW), the third annual Wales wildflower day will be hosted. By way of a sneak preview, we were fortunate to be able to visit this Friday for a members’ coffee morning and guided walk through a tiny section of the wildflower meadows at the Garden’s Waun Las National nature reserve, as well as being given a preview of the new beds located by the biomass heating complex. These have been developed to showcase selections of different habitats from round the country, and the unique flora that these different environments support.
Huge swathes of native wildflowers, including masses of orchids.And with the weather warming up, lots of interesting insects around too – we got close to colourful Five-spot Burnet moths, Zygaena trifolii, in the meadow.Whilst looking at the more artificially created, but now diverse ‘meadows’ surrounding the Great glasshouse, there were also large numbers of beautiful Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus, and Large skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus butterflies now around – though these are a little more camera shy.
If you want to check out the differences between Cat’s-ears, Hypochaeris radicata, and Rough Hawkbits, Leontodon hispidus, go and have a look – there are thousands of flowers to examine. Or just stand and look, open-mouthed in amazement.
There will be guides on hand and lots of information and advice for visitors about the garden’s spectacular collections of wildflower meadows.
Secondly, the following Sunday July 5th, there is a unique event held to raise funds for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Jane Holmes is an inspirational fellow member of our local Cothi Gardener’s Club (CGC click here) who, whilst battling the disease herself through surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, has also set herself the target of raising over £10,000 for further work in this challenging field. Fellow CGC members are very generously hosting a weekend of fundraising at their lovely gardens at Glan-yr-Afon near Pumsaint.
For those who would like more information about Noel’s work and interests, he describes himself as a writer about gardening, garden designer, horticultural consultant and teacher. Being a much travelled garden writer, click here for a link to some of his many wonderfully written and illustrated books on a diverse range of gardening related topics. The workshop will be a fantastic opportunity to tap into the breadth of his knowledge gained from looking at garden planting and design from around the world over the last 2 decades.
During 1986-1993 Noel ran a nursery near Bristol, growing herbaceous plants and tender species suitable for conservatories. Undertaking a number of garden design projects during the 1990s, Noel began to explore the possibilities of growing plants in ‘artificial ecosystems’. The problem he recognised was:
“People were wanting wildflowers, but often had a hopelessly romantic notion of what that meant. The fact is that we (in Britain) have very few garden-worthy native plants, indeed we have a pretty restricted native flora anyway, so I began to be interested in combining natives and non-natives, in combinations which would require minimal intervention from the gardener”.
Realising that there was very little knowledge about such planting in Britain, Noel looked overseas to Brazil, the US, Germany and Holland in particular, to see what other countries were doing. A close association with planting ideas from Germany and Holland (with Piet Oudolf) has been a central part of Noel’s life ever since. The whole field of ‘ecological planting design’ also drew him into working with the department of landscape at Sheffield University, a world centre for the integration of ecology, landscape and horticulture. In 2009 Noel was awarded a doctorate for his research on long-term perennial planting at Sheffield University.
More about Noel can be found on his website www.noelkingsbury.com
So given my enthusiasm for photographing plants from a rabbit’s viewpoint, our use of native plants and an increasing tendency in our garden for multicultural intermingling planting, it’s an event to look forward to. It’s also really good value, if you compare it with similar events elsewhere, at a cost of £35 per person for the workshop, including morning and afternoon tea/coffee and biscuits/cakes. And this includes an NGS donation for visiting the garden.
There is a limit of 20 participants for this workshop, and there are now no places left, (as of 08/07/2015), but if you’d like to go on a reserve list, or are interested in any future workshops which we might hold, then do please get in touch via phone or email. It would be really lovely to welcome a few blog readers to see the garden in the green, visit a traditional Welsh longhouse and small holding, and share this workshop. If you’re coming from a distance we can suggest accommodation options, and other attractions in the area, as well as Noel’s lecture to the CGC the previous evening on
“Women, Men and Gardening”