August marks the high point of the gardening year.
The vegetable gardener is reaping the rewards of hard work, soft fruit and vegetables will be ready for harvesting, many herbaceous plants will have developed into tall billowing stands and roses continue to enchant.
You can experience all these delights in the gardens that are open for the National Garden Scheme.
Firstly, we have Penybont, in the beautiful countryside of Llanafan, whose big open weekend is on 3 and 4 August.
The main part of the garden is well-established, though it has been extended so there is a chance to see plants at various stages of maturity. You can enjoy the sight and scent of the mass planting of lavender, the large collection of roses, the hydrangeas that will now be breaking into flower and the vivid highlights of crocosmia with gold and burgundy acers.
There is a well-stocked mature Orfe and Koi pond with a cascade surrounded by a wide variety of foliage. Take a walk up the field alongside the garden to the viewpoint, where you will be treated to the spectacular panorama of the lush Ystwyth valley with red kites and buzzards wheeling overhead, then enjoy a well-earned rest on the unique handmade oak seats.
Just below the property, lean on the footbridge and gaze at Nant Cwm Tarw stream, watch the birds and take in the peaceful ambience.
Penybont, Llanafan, Aberystwyth, SY23 4BJ. Open on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 4 August, 11am to 5pm. Also open by arrangement but please phone in advance, 01974 261737 Homemade teas, partial wheelchair access, plants for sale.
Plas Treflys near Llangwyryfon is new to the NGS and will open to visitors on four occasions during August.
This is a garden which blends the wild with the cultivated. There are areas of woodland with mature native trees and natural ground flora. The bluebells will have retreated underground by August, but the dainty columbine foliage, honesty and foxgloves remain along with many ferns.
There’s a small stream, a pond, terraced banks, various mixed borders and beds. The potager-type kitchen garden is enhanced by nectar-rich companion planting.
A range of vegetables, soft fruit and tree fruit is grown. Grassy paths meander throughout and there are plenty of places where you can sit and unwind, enjoy the pleasant views and watch the abundant bird life.
Some parts of the garden have been difficult to cultivate because of the steep gradient and shallow stony soil, which is impossible to water in dry weather. Here, much use is made of drought-tolerant plants such as sedums, bergenia, cotoneasters, potentilla, and hardy geraniums.
The garden also has some areas which are constantly wet and others which are in deep shade, so particular attention has been paid to finding the right plant for the right situation.
The variety of planting and the different habitats benefit the varied wildlife which makes its home here.
Plants that supply food and nesting sites for insects and birds are favoured, and many of our loveliest native and naturalised plants colonise the more informal parts of the garden with sweet woodruff, violets, sweet rocket, sweet cicely, primroses and sheep’s bit scabious being particularly welcome.
Plas Treflys, Llangwyryfon, Aberystwyth, SY23 4HD. Open on Saturday 10, 17, 24, and 31 August from 12pm to 5pm. Homemade teas, dogs welcome, regrettably unsuitable for those with mobility problems because of steep slopes and steps.
Other gardens in Ceredigion open by arrangement:
• Arnant House, Llwyncelyn, Aberaeron, SA46 0HF Phone: 01545 580083
• Ysgoldy’r Cwrt, Llangeitho, Tregaron, SY25 6QJ Phone: 01974 821542.