We moved into Llwngarreg in December 1992 to extend our self-sufficient lifestyle, but with 28 acres we got sucked into small-scale farming. This proved satisfying, but exhausting and ultimately impossible.
We had always grown vegetables and fruit seriously as part of the self-sufficient ideal and we had some ornamental plants in our previous garden, but it was not a passion for either of us.
Here is the last calf leaving the spring field before we started the garden:
This changed slowly and then all at once. A group of Paul’s A level students bought him a Rhododendron as a thank you gift at the end of their course. This was planted (in an unsuitable place) and was admired. Paul thought a few more Rhododendrons around the existing gardens would look nice so three more were bought at a huge price and also planted in the deep dry shade of our beech trees (an equally unsuitable place). We took ourselves to some local gardens to look at Rhododendrons; Colby, Picton Castle, Upton Castle and then further afield to Leonardslee, Bodnant and even some less Rhododendron based gardens. The bug had bitten!
We now have many visitors and gardening groups coming to enjoy the garden, and are happy to be included in Tony Russell's new book: Great Gardens of Wales. As a former Head Forester at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tony loved our wide and unusual choice of trees and shrubs.