March arrived and we celebrated St David’s Day with a wonderful show of daffodils dancing in the breeze. The tulips came out too – adding another welcome splash of colour to the hospice gardens. What a sight and one that makes all that hard work planting them in the autumn so worthwhile.
We have also been thrilled with the lovely comments and thanks from various members of staff who we have bumped into when we have been out and about with the main comment being along the lines of: ‘In all the years we have worked here the gardens have never looked so good’.
As always it has been a busy month with our team on a mission to finish hedgelaying before the birds start nesting. The power-washer was dusted off and powered up and what a difference made to some of the paving slabs at the rear of the gardens near the turning circle.
The dead-hedges continue to be filled with waste and plus we have plans to build more. In addition new signage has been put up around the gardens to help explain to visitors what we are doing.
This month we also repurposed some disused wooden pallets to build some bug hotels.
We have resurrected one of the plant pallets behind the dead hedge to use it as a nursery for growing on our plants for a plant sale in June. We have also acquired some plastic plant pot trays from Wenvoe Garden Centre for the plants.
The perennials in the raised beds are beginning to come through which means there is more colour to come soon. It won’t be long before the peonies begin to flower, and the phlox and fuchsia shrub cuttings are looking healthy. We have transferred the ornamental rhubarb from the sensory garden to one of the raised beds and we have planted up an old wheelbarrow and parked it by the dead hedge.
The benches on the raised beds have been varnished and are now looking splendid.
There are increasing numbers of birds visiting the hospice grounds and we have started to keep a list of visiting birds. The list also logs a visit from a fox who sauntered through the gardens one morning whilst we were hard at work. We are also keen to encourage bats and two bat boxes are positioned on a large tree near the compost bins.
Greenfingers Corporate Clean Up Day
We had an amazing clean-up day with our friends from Greenfingers Charity. Not only did we enjoy the sunniest and warmest day of the year so far but we also benefitted from the help of some amazing volunteers who joined us from Ames. They enabled us to tackle some big jobs which means that Tŷ Hafan’s gardens are now looking even more splendid.
We were also delighted when we saw the amazing donation of gardening tools and equipment from Ames. They will certainly make a difference when we are out and about in the garden.
We were grateful to Tony who shared some of his home-grown parsnips which we turned into soup for the clean-up day lunch. A huge thank you to our volunteers Tony, Tracy, Brian, Alistair and Monica for the cake, soup and bread refreshments – thoroughly enjoyed by all; and many thanks to the Tŷ Hafan kitchen staff for the provision of tea and coffee.
Particular areas which received attention included the:
- race track and nearby path which was given a spring clean
- coastal boundary where the hedgelaying continued
- flower beds around the reception area which were weeded and provided space for the plants to grow.
- removal of weeds on the brick pathway at the front of the bedroom windows
- cleaning of a bench donated by a Tŷ Hafan family
Wild Wales Seeds
Kelly and Rhys visited this month with a donation of wildflower and grass seeds. We have sown them in the area by the garage which we prepared a few weeks ago. This bed, along with our planting of herbs and fragranced flowering plants should help attract bats and other wildlife in due course.
Wild Wales Seeds posted about their visit on Facebook and Instagram and this led to an offer of pressure washing the pathways, kindly donated by C&M Pressure Washing.
- We have swapped some of our mint plants for seeds at the recent Food Vale Festival.
- We have sown some seeds for planting round the garden – cosmos, sunflowers, fritillaria and antirrhinum
- A friend of one of our volunteers has donated some beautiful hydrangeas for the garden
- Wild honeysuckle has been planted on the archways in the sensory garden
- Garden designer Victoria Wade has dropped off some roof tiles – donated by a client. They were happy for them to go to a good home and are perfect for our garden signage
- We are drawing up a portfolio for our neighbourhood entry to Wales in Bloom
- Local artist Carol Bartlett visited the hospice to sketch the garden landscape and has shared some of her resulting works on Instagram
Finally, all of us Tŷ Hafan volunteer gardeners are aware that we could not have have achieved so much this month without the support of the:
- companies who have donated funds and resources
- friends, families, and neighbours who have given their support in so many ways
- Tŷ Hafan staff, particularly the kitchen staff who warmed our soup up for us on 18 March and provided tea and coffee
and not forgetting our volunteer gardeners’ own resourcefulness – lots of yummy homemade cake along with bundles of energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie!