Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Portmeirion Echiums

Every time I visit Portmeirion I usually spend a moment or so standing in front of at least one echium having envious thoughts.  This year seems to be a bumper year for their echiums.  To say they are growing like weeds does not explain the scale.
The light was in the wrong place for this photograph, but you get the gist.
They were in full bloom and the bees were loving them.
and next year's crop was on its way.

There is of course more to Portmeirion than stunning echiums, much is written of its micro-climate and they do grow some incredible plants and trees there.
This Crinodendron hookerianum was one of several, flowering away, it was stunning, so much I used one of its flowers for a Wordless Wednesday.

There has clearly been a lot of work on the Village gardens in Portmeirion.  I have written previously about the Gwyllt  and other elements of the Village but I have never particularly focussed my writing on the gardens.  
 Yet the planting is worthy of note.  There has been a lot of work and a lot of improvements carried out on the planting and it is clearly showing.  These alliums outside of Mermaid made a good display.
Similarly these alliums alongside Neptune are good.
These hostas are still bedding in as much of the planting appears to be work in progress, this is a shady spot and it works well.
There are many tree ferns in Y Gwyllt and I thought these were being used well here in the Village.  This area has been replanted since my last visit and looks more clear, more stripped back and I think it is good.
This area that leads down from the bandstand has been in the process of restoration for a couple of years.  There is now the start of a yew hedge and some cypress trees and when they bed in and start to grow properly they should look good.  You can see how rocky the landscape is behind them.
Looking up back to this point is the cascade.  This has been almost completely cleared, I had never noticed the little cave opening to the side before.  The water is red/rusty and it needs planting up, but I am hoping that when I return it will be starting to look more like its original glory. 
Alongside the Bristol Colonnade there is a bed of David Austin Portmeirion inspired roses, the Portmeirion and the Sir Clough rose.  There are also some of the Susan Williams Ellis roses planted in the Village.  Of course I grow all three of these roses, Sir Clough is one of my absolute favourite roses.
Portmeirion also benefits from many stunning stone planters.  These are all planted up well and will soon be in the their full glory.
In front of the Town Hall the planting has been stripped right back to show its construction of rocks.  I really liked this.  It makes such good use of this area and is a great opportunity for some imaginative planting.
The slope in front of Chantry and Dolphin is also making use of its scree terrain.  It is definitely coming along very well.  When I was last here I admit I did not bother photographing this area as, quite frankly, it did not look great.  It is now getting more established and I think next time I visit it should look even better.
So now I find I am photographing the planting in the village itself and thinking how well it is working with the architecture.  Which is good as the whole aim of the village is to fit and enhance the landscape, not jar with it.
The trees at Portmeirion have always been an important part of the Village, but it is good to see a focus to be now on the softer planting.
Some of the most interesting plants are the ones clinging to the rocks.  I think this is Gaultheria shallon, it spreads up along the rocks towards the hotel and is very effective.  I think I just have not noticed it before as it probably has not been in flower when I have been.  
This tiny plant was just clinging on.
The unexpected plantings are always a joy.  That plants are allowed to self-seed and just add colour dotted around is a nice touch.  
There were many foxgloves flowering on this visit, they looked good.
Many of the rock had this Naval Wort growing on them, again I think I had not seen it before as I have not visited in June for quite a while.
I was fascinated by this fuchsia growing out of the wall, clearly a very old plant that had been cut back and re-sprouted.
I finish with the thought with which I started, the echiums.  Just take a moment and appreciate them.  

As said above, it is a real joy to see the gardens being improved and restored.  I am already looking forward to my next visit to see how they progress.

3 comments :

  1. It's a place I've never visited and it looks as though I should, when next up that way. It will be good to see the gardens restored. I bought an Echium when we were down in Cornwall a week or so back. I reckon I'll keep it in a large pot this year, overwinter in the greenhouse and then plant out next Spring which should be its flowering year. Time will tell...

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  2. It is quite a few years since we went to Portmeirion and I can't say that the planting impressed me very much then. It is good that they are replanting, more in keeping with the area they are in. Echiums are so beautiful, I wish we could grow them, they grow on the River Exe, only a few miles away, but then of course, they are at sea level. Jessicas idea sounds good!

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  3. A magical place to visit Alison. My next door but one allotment neighbour has an echium on his plot which is just coming into flower now. It's a mighty specimen.

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