Thank you Cothi Gardeners

On what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far (and the longest day), I was invited to give a talk, Scents and scentsability – gardening led by the nose to the Cothi Gardeners.

After a fab pie dinner at the Dolaucothi Arms opposite we assembled in the corrugated Coronation Hall in Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire for 7:30pm prompt.

This group of enthusiastic gardeners meets once a month drawing people down from their remote hillsides and adjoining villages to talk gardening and swap plants.

Thank you to everyone for their warm welcome and enthusiastic response.

Also thank you to Brenda Timms and Martin and Angela Farquharson-Duffy for letting me have a nose around their gardens the following morning. Especially as they were in the final stages of preparation for a joint Sunday opening for the NGS. Bwlchau Duon | Sculptors Garden

Chairman Julian and Fiona Wormald’s garden was also recently featured in Gardens Illustrated. Gelli Uchaf.

Long may the Cothi Gardeners grow and prosper!

Kari’s garden in late August

Le Vonne Splinter Giant Semi Cactus Dahlia (and I mean big!)
Le Vonne Splinter Giant Semi Cactus Dahlia (and I mean big!)

It was my birthday so I thought I’d look at what’s hot now,  some plants are a bit tired others are just ramping up (if I continue to feed them!).

Meet dahlia Le Vonne Splinter. This great big semi cactus was introduced in 1978. The internet can be a wonderful thing, there is a suggestion that this is named after Ruby Splinter, a hobby dahlia grower who died aged 90 in California, but I have got no further. Not being an assiduous sort of grower I would think that this first flower will be the largest, it’s been opening out steadily for a week so far. It took last Saturday’s blasting winds and rain in its stride. I have it growing in a pot although there are some in the garden all flowering too, including Soulman, Dark Desire and Fidalgo Blacky (all from the National Dahlia Collection).

Dahlia not Black Monarch
Dahlia not Black Monarch

I also have this one in a pot, it’s supposed to be Black Monarch but isn’t …

A selection of Crocosmias are cycling through their season. I ordered a number from Trecanna in the spring, Buttercup was the first to open some weeks ago. I think at the moment my firm favourite for sheer flower size is Star of the East. I neglected it in a dry corner of my previous garden, it got overgrown and the area steadily shadier,  it stopped flowering and moped (quite justifiably) for a number of years.

Crocosmia Star of the East
Crocosmia Star of the East

I hoicked it out and potted it on last year in readiness for the move and it has come back to life in this garden, hoorah! Seen here with Lilium sargentiae (from which looks like L regale but flowers considerably later and produces bulbils up its stem which can be grown on

Gladdy Hastings with wayward Verbena bonariensis
Gladdy Hastings with wayward Verbena bonariensis



Gladdies can be hard to accommodate in a mixed planting but these G primulinus are much easier I think.  This is Hastings. I bought these some years ago now from Cotswold Garden Flowers, I also have Mrs M Rowley which is a rich ruby red but she has already gone over.

Last Hurrah of scent late summer Nicotiana sylvestris
Last Hurrah of scent, late summer Nicotiana sylvestris

I’m always amazed at how some plants grow from the tiniest spec of seed, make little wispy seedlings and then grow on to be such thumping great plants in a season, these are nearly 6ft.  They’re richly scented in the evening. I planted one end of the cream/yellow/blue (now it’s got mauve and pink as well by mistake) border for scent, and so far this year starting in early summer, we’ve had Hesperis matronalis, Zaluzianskya, Mirabilis longiflora, Sweet Peas, Nemesia Wisley Vanilla, roses and Lilies various (the final lilies, L speciosum are just finishing). The nicotiana are providing the final scent alongside heliotrope before we slide into autumn proper.

I’ve been putting off potting on for weeks, so much to do so little enthusiasm for tasks that must be done!

And another conundrum, I love spring fruit blossom but the trees are now laden with plums, damsons and apples, far too many to process or eat! Off to Compost Corner I guess.