Nope my blogs havnt become extinct!

Firstly I would like to apologise for the lack of blogs recently! As many of you will know it’s difficult to find the time to blog when life is so hectic and, believe me, my life is quite busy at the moment!

It all started back in February when Ben and I ordered a load of plants from Crug Farm (http://crug-farm.co.uk/), the amazing nursery just down the road from us. We went to pick the order up and got chatting to Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones the owners of Crug (you say it like Crig); during the conversation it became apparent that they needed an extra pair of hands on a Saturday and I jumped at the offer of the job!

So in March I started work for the first time in 9 months! I previously worked for the RSPB but had finished working for them after a period of time off sick. It was really nice to get back to work and it wasn’t very long before I was asked if I fancied doing a few more days. I am now working for them 4 days a week and between that and the rest of day to day life I am suddenly finding myself very short of time!

So, along-side working at Crug, Ben and I have been up to a whole load of exciting things and there has been a lot happening in the fossil garden.

So where do I begin?????

During March I received the first plant we intend to grow in the massive order of angiosperms called the Piperales. They are split between 5 families and there are over 4000 species and they are relevant to the fossil garden because they were probably some of the earliest flowering plants! Many of them are economically important to humans and a lot are very poisonous! There is only one that has true petals, some have super simple flowers and others have incredibly complex ones!

The first Piper that arrived is a plant of Piper auritum or Yerba santé, which is used to flavour tortilla in Mexico. It’s a tropical plant that won’t grow outside in the UK, that’s ok as it will grow nicely as a vine along the beams in our bathroom. (Yep we have lots of plants inside too)

It is fortuitous that I have ended up working for Crug as Bleddyn and Sue have collected together quite a large number of Piperales, and have many interesting species. (Guess where my wages have been going)

We have added Saruma henrii (the one with the petals), Aristolachia macrophylla and many of the Asarums to the garden now which is great as we are starting to fill the gaps between the ferns with some very beautiful foliage and some very weird flowers!

Saruma henrii in the rain!

We have also been doing some garden visiting with trips to Both Brondanw and Portmeirion (http://www.portmeirion-village.com/) (both designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis). Brondanw being CWE’s private garden and Portmeirion being his work! Both gardens are absolutely unique places to visit and the man was certainly a master of his art!

Porthmeirion village

Brondanw house and gardens

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited Bodnant (http://www.bodnantgarden.co.uk/) again to see the Rhododendrons in all their glory! A visit to Bodnant is an absolute treat at any time of year but particularly through April, May and June. I have said it in a previous blog but I will say it again…..The changes in the garden since the new head gardener came on board have been truly remarkable and I am sure Troy Scott-Smith has many surprises in store for us in the future! We will know doubt be visiting again before the year is out!

I learned that all Rhododendrons and Azaleas are now classified as Rhododendron!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also went on a bit of a Crug Farm work trip out.

Cloranthus fortune ‘Domino’

 

The aim of the day was to deliver some plants to the National Trust property, Charlecote (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/charlecote-park/), for their new and delightful woodland garden. But a trip so close to the Vale of Evesham meant we really couldn’t miss out on a spot of retail therapy. A trip to Cotswold garden flowers (http://www.cgf.net/) saw me buying a fantastic Cloranthus fortune ‘Domino’ and a great little Grevillea lanigera ‘mount tamboritha’ but just around the corner was a company called Vale exotics (http://www.vale-exotics.co.uk/) which yielded plenty more!

On the way home a Cyathea australis, Todea barbera, Blechnum nudum and a Polystychum poliferum occupied the space in the van that had been occupied by Polygonatums and Tricyrtis on the way down and my pocket was considerably lighter!!!!

the haul from my trip with Bleddyn to the Vale of Evesham!

The protea bed is looking great with the addition of 2 new species of Ephedra (Ephedra nevadensis and E. distachia). Two Leucadendrons were bought for us, for our birthdays, from the fantastic Trewidden nurseries (http://www.trewidden-online.co.uk/) and have also gone in there (L.laureolum and L.’Safari sunset’) alongside a Telopea truncata plant (bought with hard earned wages at Crug).  We have also added a handful of acorus (remember them from the blog on Monocots?) around the bog garden and a Monstera (Swiss cheese plant) to grow next to the path opposite our main fern bed.

Can you understand why I have been too busy to blog now?

TBC……………………………………..

Ferns unfurling everywhere!

Knuckles of Harts tongue fern (Asplenum scolopendrium)

The newest fern in the garden and our favorite is Adiantum aleuticum 'Japonicum' with the most amazing pink new fronds!

Another Adiantum pushing through and making a heart shape (on the count of 3 everyone say 'AHHH'!

For the life of me i cant remember the name of this one!!!

The lady fern gracefully pushing through (Athyrium filix-femina)Ostrich fern ready to unferl its plumes

Scaly male fern with golden scales (Dryopteris affinis)

Osmunda claytoniana trying its very best, but still a little early for it!

Osmunda regalis, the Osmundas are a really ancient lineage of ferns!

Tasmanian tree fern (dicksonia antarctica) koru unfurling.