daisies at Dyffryn Fernant

Gardening with Jim Saul – Dyffryn Fernant revisited.

How the Garden has changed in three and a half months !

After our visit to the wonderful gardens of Dyffryn Fernant on a warm May day, owner Christina Shand kindly invited Jim Saul and I to return in August to see how things have grown during the summer. This time our visit coincided with a muggy misty day , when the very first hints of autumn can just be seen in the plants and scenery around the valley.

Jim pointed out some of his personal favorites to be found here and some of those are very unusual and distinctive – well worth a visit before autumn sets in. Of places to visit in Wales this far west Dyffryn Fernant is highly recommended.

Almost unrecognisable in parts, the boggy garden and grasses are now in full resplendant glory – the obelisk is almost hidden from view. The cottage front garden is as full of blooms as in May, but the colours are very different with  the richly coloured dahlias in  dominance. Up in the magic garden the autumn hues are well evident already and the eucolyptus in the car park is shedding its bark.

After Jim had highlighted some of the most remarkable plants in the garden and explored the summer floral displays , we were glad to enjoy a cup of tea in the library and browse the books and magazines – plenty for the gardener to check some facts and any reader to find a volume or two to enjoy. Jim was chuffed to find some of his own gardening photographs featured in a huge RHS encyclopaedia!

Christina regularly gives a talk about her creation, entitled, ‘Between a Bog and a Hard Place’. Group visits are welcome and National Garden Scheme (NGS) Open Days are held, too. There is one remaining NGS days this year – on Sunday 3rd September. Teas and lunches can be pre-arranged for groups, who will be shown around by Christina, herself.

One of the most interesting areas of Christina’s horticultural areas is that of the grasses – many rare and special varieties waving their multi-hued seedheads in the warm air…

If you would like to spend more time at Dyffryn Fernant, there are opportunities for volunteers – Contact Christina via her website, here.

There is a holiday cottage in the grounds – your well-behaved dogs are welcome, but only guide dogs are allowed in the gardens.

Entry to Dyffryn Fernant Garden – FREE for children; Adults pay £6 – Season tickets are available and gift vouchers, too.

Sign up for the newsletter at the Dyffryn Fernant Garden website for seasonal updates.

To coincide with 2017 Year of Legends, why not take part in the Dyffryn Fernant short story competition – for adults and children  – A booklet and the website has details of mythical plants to inspire the writer, click here or the image below.

Competition deadline extended until 17th September!!

Pembrokeshire Life Online’s own creative writing group members have submitted some entries and will be reading them in the garden in September – subscribe now to enjoy this later.


Mythos legendary plants at Dyffryn Fernant Garden short story competition

Send us a picture from your garden and we’ll feature it in a Readers Gardens Gallery

We’ll also add your name to a monthly draw for a gardening prize!


Suzanne Ashworth of West Wales Web and Pembrokeshire Life Online
Words & Images by Suzanne Ashworth

Jim Saul at Dyffryn Fernant Garden

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