14 – Tegfan, Caerbwdii

Gill & Ian hope you will visit their naturalist’s garden in Caerbwdi

Open Saturday and Sunday

Tegfan is a mature garden, being rescued from recent neglect ……. The garden is about 1/3rd of an acre, packed with different small habitats:  balancing shelter from salt winds with openness to sunshine and the view. You will find a wild orchard, wildflower “lawns”, mixed hedges, vegetables, borders and gravel open to the sea and all the weather it brings!

Most of the layout (and its quirky greenhouse and sheds) was made by Mr Bryn John in the 1960s-90s. We have carried on since ‘93, but work commitments and arthritis latterly meant that less and less was being cultivated or even pruned. It got a bit wild…… in a good way. But new hips and less work have let us get back into it …… in a good way! 

We are very happy to share the garden with wildlife of all sorts, including a rare arable weed.  And Caerbwdi valley that we overlook is a wonderful backdrop of scrub and semi-wild fields, stream, marsh, rock and beach.

You are welcome to come and see what we have here ….. and relax on the terrace overlooking Caerbwdi and the view out to Skomer.

Some notes for visitors

Tegfan bungalow was built in 1937, and we have been here since 1993. The main garden layout was done by Mr Bryn John between 1961 and 1990, and we have benefitted enormously from his energy, enterprise, gardening skills and thrifty DIY.  So the garden is very mature, and we developed it in our own way up until about 2017, when work commitments (and arthritis) meant it was largely neglected. But this year, with more time (and new hips), we have been able to bring it back in a slightly different way … more relaxed, more productive, less ornamental, more wild in places.

Overlooking Caerbwdi valley and down to the sea at Caerbwdi Bay, the garden balances shelter from salt winds with openness to sunshine and the view. Blessed by Bryn John’s foresight forty years ago there is an apple orchard and thick flowering hedges to shelter us. With our interests in nature we have wild areas, flowery lawns, a border or two, vegetables, a small pond and a gravel terrace exposed to the sea ……. all managed organically now for nearly 30 years. But it is a long way from “perfect”, and you may notice a lot of weeds and neglected corners. With a view like this we very often just sit and look, rather than work … and Dandelions are good for bees!

DIRECTIONS:

Location and parking: SA62 6QP. off the main road, half a mile from St Davids towards Solva, first right hand road turning after Texaco garage, signposted  “Caerbwdi”.  Single track lane.  Park on grassed parking area alongside the lane, then walk 200yds to the house. Parking for 2 cars only in the drive, for disabled visitors. 

Walking alternative :  About 25 minutes walk from St Davids Tourist Information Centre (Oriel y Parc) : take Caerfai Road to the carpark on the coast,  then walk the Coast Path eastwards to the next bay, Caerbwdi; turn left after the footbridge then uphill for about 200yds. Tegfan is the bungalow on the corner when you reach the lane.

USEFUL INFO:

Hazards : No steps in the garden, but the ground is sloping in places and uneven. Easy level access to the terrace. There is a small unfenced pond.

Dogs : one dog per group permitted, on a short lead.

Refreshments : Tea, coffee and cake will be available.

NOTABLE PLANTS:

Echium pininniana, Giant Bugloss in front garden : flowering Bugloss with a spire about 3m high of pale pink/blue flowers that bees adore.

Stipa gigantea, Giant Oatgrass : a veil in front of the little greenhouse in front garden and a central feature in the border of the back garden. Flowers from early May can reach 2.5m and last until winter .These tussocks are 25 years old now, and were originally planted as three young plants within 12” of each other, to give bulk and impact.

Rosemary “Tuscan Blue” on path to front door … the first on the right is mostly unclipped and allowed to grow naturally. The one by the front door is over 25 years old and has been clipped into a dome since it was small. From December to early May it is scattered with blue flowers and gives nectar to early bees. It is lightly clipped 2 to 3 times a year.

Crambe cordifolia: an ornamental seakale relative …..in back garden border, behind the Stipa. Huge cabbage-like leaves grow from a chunky perennial rootstock, with the enormous airy spray of white flowers appearing late May into June (it may have gone over). The flower spray hardens into a giant woody array that can be harvested and used for dried decorations.

Glaucium flavum, Orange Horned Poppy : on the gravel terrace. It is an ever-silver perennial with stunning velvety crinkled and crimped silver-blue leaves contrasting with vivid orange poppy flowers. It requires beach-like conditions of gravel, no shade and no competition from any other plants. 

Elsewhere on the gravel there is Verbena bonariensis (Purple top), Mexican Orange Poppy (Papaver rupifragum), Bluewort (Cerinthe majus) and Achillea huteri (white flowered creeping rockery plant with fragrant leaves). Golden-flowered Euphorbia oblongata self seeds around and the annual Sea Holly Eryngium “Miss Wilmotts Ghost” seems to have arrived this year. Dandelions are endemic!