It was a lovely bright morning on Friday when we decided to come to the Garden as visitors instead of volunteers.
It makes a lovely change to do that because when we come as volunteers we often don’t really have time to just wander. Our daughter was visiting from Scotland and, although she has been to the Garden quite often over the years she hadn’t been this year so had not visited Plas Pilipala. We left home in lovely autumn sunshine but as we approached Llanarthne we drove into rather spooky mist. Well, we were almost there now weren’t we and anyway it could be a heat haze I optimistically told everyone. (‘Yeah right’ was the response to that).
I had been told, by someone who knows about these things, that different species of butterflies fly at different times of day. It pays to visit them at different times so the first thing we did was go to Plas Pilipala. It wasn’t misty in there – well it was but it was because my camera had steamed up – and it was lovely and warm. The orchids as you walked through the door were lovely and, of course, the butterflies came to welcome us. They really are lovely and it occurred to me that when I first went in there back in July, there were just a few glasswings and they were mostly by the exit. In case you haven’t been to see them, the glasswings have wings that you can actually see through – I find that amazing in itself. Now there are loads of them and they are everywhere. I understand that the conditions in the old Tropical House where they live are just right for them and they have started to breed. After spending an enchanting half hour in there we braved the outside only to find that the mist had gone and it was sunny.
It was lovely to see how many flowers are still out and adding their colour to that of the trees.
We went into the Great Glasshouse and, as usual, there were lots of oohs, ahs and wows. There were lots of plants in bloom that were earlier than they should have been. I like it in there because you can always find something exquisite and unusual and Friday was no exception. It’s no good trying to describe a flower because no words can convey what makes a flower so special. You need to go and look for yourself.
We went to look in the shop but before that we stopped off at the Oriel yr Ardd Gallery. We were all so moved by the lovely exhibition called ‘Changing Lives’. It’s a visual commemoration of world war and it was especially poignant because it was actually 11 November. It’s good to have such reminders ‘Lest We Forget’.
After lunch and a walk around the lake we went back to the butterflies with a mission to find the Atlas moth. Apparently this is the biggest moth in the world being the size of a small bird. We found the cocoons hanging around (literally) and were told that they wouldn’t hatch for another week or so. We’ll go back to keep an eye on them. My family were pleased to show me an information sheet with a butterfly called Perrhybris pamela. (Pamela being my given name) There wasn’t an actual butterfly there but I was pleased to learn that although the male is larger than the female, she is far more beautiful. Quite right too.