25 Sept 2015

Tempus Fugit

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

A blog by volunteer Pam Murden

Last time I wrote a blog as a volunteer for the National Botanic Garden of Wales was July 2014. I’ve had a year off due to ill health but now I’m back and ready to start again with my blogs. I hope you don’t mind. Last time I wrote it was about the arrival of summer, now we’ve had a whole cycle of seasons and are noticing the arrival of autumn. The swallows have gone but only last week I was in Kington, in Herefordshire, and there were house martins feeding their young. That’s a bit late isn’t it?

I’ve been back volunteering for a couple of months but hadn’t had a chance to actually look at the Garden so last weekend we came as visitors and had a good look around.

The colours are lovely – not in many of the trees just yet but the flowers of autumn are resplendent. All golds, orange and browns with the occasional deep reds and pinks thrown in for good measure. The Wallace Garden is beautiful with its mass of dahlias and the bed full of rudbeckias is stunning.

I love these cheerful, sunny plants but so do the slugs who live in my garden so they don’t last long with us. There are some unusual antirrhinums in the Wallace Garden as well, almost finished now but still worth a look if you’re passing. [nggallery id=775] The colours in the Double Walled Garden are lovely, too. Not only flowers but the chard, the curly kale and the red cabbage, to name but a few, are more colourful than we expect vegetables to be. I don’t remember seeing so many chrysanths in the Garden before but they certainly add something special.

We went into the Tropical House and were amazed at how much everything had grown since we were in there last though, to be honest, I don’t remember when that was. There are always interesting things to see in there – house plants we used to have that didn’t live, let alone grow!

The Great Glasshouse is always one of my favourite parts of the Garden one reason being that, for me, it highlights the diverse shapes of flowers. Some of them are totally indescribable. All I can say is “Wow, look at that”. I flatter myself that you may remember that my favourite plant in the whole Botanic Garden is the Phylica pubescens, that lovely bush that looks as though it’s made of feathers. The old plant had to be replaced but I’m delighted to say that the new one is doing very well and looking just as amazing as the old one did.

There were parts of the Garden we didn’t get around to but we will be back. On our way out to the car we spotted a patch of huge fungi which Bruce says is called the Giant Funnel Fungus and it comes up every year. If you missed it this year maybe you’ll be lucky and see it next year.

Pam Murden, September 2015