Feature image: Sarah Wint.
Daisybus Gardens near Solva – An unusual garden inspired by the book Sunshine over Clover
Plant a Garden – Grow Happiness!
This month our gardening correspondent, Jim Saul visited Daisybus Gardens near Solva; a very different Pembrokeshire garden and one that is only just beginning to take shape. On the St Davids peninsula near Llandeloy, Sarah Wint and her husband William are busy creating an unusual garden. Gardener Sarah wants to show and share with others, “… how easy it is to get started on a garden and why you should bother.”
Sarah spent most of 2015 travelling the length and breadth of the UK visiting private gardens whose owners had stories to tell of how their gardens have affected their lives.
Having written a book that documents her adventures, called Sunshine over Clover Sarah is now engaged in creating nine themed gardens and six mini-flower meadows for others to take inspiration from. She will also be publishing a regular garden coaching newsletter and providing a ‘Mindful Gardening’ correspondence course.
When Jim visited and chatted with Sarah early in June, the gardens were still very new and the plants young. Like all Pembrokeshire growers, Sarah is finding the particular climate here and frequent winds provide some challenges but, ever the optimist, Sarah says, “If one thing doesn’t work, something else will!”
As you can see from the video, Sarah is keen to enable others to discover how beneficial gardening can be for mind, body and soul. When the gardens are open later this summer, you can also enjoy wandering in the woodland, where tree-bathing is recommended, as well as relaxing in the gardens and taking tea in the tearoom or herbal tea garden.
For those new to gardening there are examples of how to get started, with lots of tips and plenty of inspiration. Some of the plots are inspired by gardens that Sarah visited on her trip, as well as those that reflect her passion for the Earth, shared by husband, Dr William Wint, an ecologist. William also tends beehives in the centre of the woods – although, there are paths to meander along well away from the bees.
In the tearoom there is a library which will include a range of reading, along with gardening books to browse and some will also be available to buy.
William sums up Daisybus Gardens as, “… a Show How, not a Show Off garden!”
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Jim Saul talks with Sarah Wint of Daisybus Gardens of Wellbeing.
JS: How long have you been here near Solva?
SW: Since September, so all the plants are very young and we started with just mown grass into which we have made a series of circular gardens representing various themes from my book.
JS: How did you end up here in Pembrokeshire?
SW: I have always loved Pembrokeshire and feel especially drawn to the St Davids Peninsula – I have found out about the word ‘hiraeth‘ since moving here and it expresses what I have always felt about this place; a real sense of belonging and, when I wasn’t living here, a kind of homesickness even though I had never lived here.
JS: Tell me about ‘wellbeing’ – this is such a strong feature in your book – and your garden.
SW: When I garden I always feel a sense of peace and nurturing and I thought that as it helped me through some hard times, there must be others that felt the same.
JS: How many gardens did you visit on your UK adventure in Daisybus? You seemed to have covered so much of the country… It must have been quite a trip in a campervan!
SW: The National Gardens Scheme allowed me to contact their members with my idea and over 400 replied – they all responded to my request to hear the story behind their garden and how it helped. Yes, Daisybus did struggle a bit and I was quite glad that some owners offered me a bed for the night. I managed to see about 50 gardens and made contact with many more, some of whom get a mention at the end of the book.
This garden shows that you don’t just start with a Chelsea-style garden. It takes time and sometimes you need to save for the more expensive elements. But anyone can do it – and most importantly anyone can benefit from the process.
Some of the Daisybus Gardens featured…
The first of the nine themed gardens that visitors will see is ‘Grandma’s Garden’. This will evoke so many memories for gardeners who first started gardening with their grandparents – On my tour of UK gardens I heard about the flowers and fruit grown by grandparents and have included some examples of these. The runner beans and sweet peas are important reminders for me, as well as the smell of tobacco in ‘Grandpa’s Shed’, which I hope to re-create; maybe I need to ask someone to smoke in there!
Next is Gaia’s Garden, representing Mother Earth – this will also have a ‘mini-planetarium’ – and local poet, Steve Thorp, has created a beautiful piece inspired by the feelings astronauts get when looking back at earth.
The Artists Garden will be a colourful array to inspire artists and there will be a public art project from next spring.
Creativity is good for wellbeing – whether it’s painting, writing, singing, gardening…
The TWIGS Garden was inspired by the horticultural therapy project in Swindon. I have created a labyrinth for contemplation with a path lined with pollinator plants.
The Memorial Meadow has poppies for remembrance and the Sunshine and Moonlight Meadows attract moths and other insects.
The Larks Meadow planting is the old cornfield style beloved of larks.
The ‘How To Do It’ Garden is divided into four sections to show exactly how to get started and give folk the chance to actually try some digging!
The Herbal Tea Garden of roses underplanted with herbs, which I have never tried before, leads on to the tearoom.
The Pot Garden will inspire those with only a small patch, maybe outside their back door – to show what you can grow in a small area and to use a variety of containers and props to create a garden to reflect your interests.
The Surfside Garden is a gravel garden with light breezy planting while the Blue Zones Garden is inspired by what I learnt about the 5 places in the world where people live longest and happiest lives and will be full of 5 essential herbs that do well here.
The Family Garden will have an area for children to play, a bar and BBQ patch with chairs to relax around a huge table and share food.
Visitors to Daisybus Gardens are welcome to tree-bathe in the woods and we’ll provide blankets for anyone who would like to come and relax, gazing up at the foliage in the woods.
With a warm welcome and so much to explore and to indulge your senses, perhaps take some restorative time for yourself, practice some mindfulness, art, enjoy reading in the garden or go for a quiet stroll amongst the trees, Daisybus Gardens of Wellbeing will be a ‘must visit’ in Pembrokeshire.
I’m looking forward to Tree-Bathing and Reading in the Herbal-Tea Garden…
Daisybus Gardens of Wellbeing, near Solva.
Hours of opening:
10:30a.m. – 5:30p.m.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.