Joint Landscaping Group - 2015 Working Parties

2015 was the final year of the Joint Landscaping Group's activities before the stations and halts were allocated carers who adopted them to carry on the work the JLG had started. The three reports here represent the sort of work the group carried out to keep the stations looking well cared for.

SPRING MAKEOVER 2015

After visiting all the sites in mid January to assess works required for the Spring Makeover,
I prepared a comprehensive programme of work concentrating most of the planting work at Dinas. We had a good turnout on the Friday and Saturday but we were a working party of two on the Sunday and Monday and those are the days when we always need more support.

WAUNFAWR

On Friday 13 March the weather was cool but bright with a little light rain in the middle of the morning and occasional sunshine later in the day. We started on site at 10.15 and we were joined by Howard Stuckey and Martin Kressman. In the morning we concentrated on the North Bed which we did not touch during the November visit. A deep weeding and de-grassing effort in the cesses and under the shrubs was necessary before we could cut the Cranesbill Geraniums, the Irises and Schizostylis down to the ground. The shrubs did not require attention as they had been given an extensive pruning at the 2014 Spring Makeover.

At the same time the remainder of the group worked in the Twin Shelters Bed and started by removing winter debris. The Field Maples were crown lifted and all crossed branches were removed. Shrubs that required spring pruning were dealt with and any shrubs overhanging the back edge of the platform were trimmed back to a safe distance and height. The platform cesses were cleared of weeds, grass, runners and self sown plants. Then the Schizostylis, Irises and Crocrosmias were cut down and the Cranesbill Geraniums that were left in November were trimmed back. The waste vegetation was removed to the eco-piles and the platform swept before we took our lunch break.

After lunch the group started by tackling the Footbridge Bed, removing wind thrown branches and general winter debris. Any weeds, grass and self seeded plants missed in November were removed from the platform cesses. The Cranesbill Geraniums left after the Autumn Blitz and Schizostylis were cut down to the ground. The newer shrubs facing the main caravan site were pruned and shaped.

The group then moved onto the Water Tower Bed and dealt with more wind thrown branches and other debris from the winter storms. Work then followed the same pattern clearing the cesses, cutting back herbaceous plants and Irises, Schizostylis, Crocosmias and Cranesbill
Geraniums left at the Autumn Blitz. This also involved cutting back hard last years growth in the Grass Garden. Towards the end of the afternoon shrubs requiring spring pruning were dealt with appropriately and any branches overhanging the platforms were removed.

I returned to the Rock Garden in the Twin Shelters Bed which had been missed in the morning to cut back the alpine plants which had become straggly and unkempt and to remove any dead alpines, replacing them with other alpines lifted from the more congested parts of the Rock Garden. Finally we carried all the garden waste we had produced to the eco-piles and swept the platforms clean before leaving site at about 17.15.

DINAS

Five of us assembled at Dinas just before 10.00 on Saturday 14 March. It was a beautiful crisp sunny day and Jane, Juliet and Patrick Ewing, who were keen to take advantage of the weather, joined us for the day. The day’s work was to be concentrated around the entrance to the North yard. We split into two groups for the morning. A group of three tackled the Twin Bridges Border giving it an intensive weeding and de-grassing after removing winter debris. Those shrubs that were left untouched at last year’s Autumn Blitz were vigorously pruned where required and the remainder were re-shaped and tidied up.

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Left to right are Jane Ewing, Margaret, Juliette and Patrick Ewing planting Lenten Roses in the Bungalow Border at Dinas.

The other two prepared the Bungalow Border for planting herbaceous plants in the afternoon and in particular a significant number of mature Hellebores In addition a major effort was made to bag woodchip mulch at the north end of the yard, load it, transport it and then spread it over about half of the Border. Patrick Ewing then moved to the Bungalow Border
to dig a shallow trench in the turf in front of the edging stones along the front of the Twin Bridges Border, a margin that has always been difficult to strim or mow.

After lunch the trench in front of the Twin Bridges Border was filled with slate waste to create a grass free strip in front of the stone edgings. The process of mulching the Bungalow Border continued until two thirds of the Border was covered with wood chips. Jane Ewing planted the red and white Hellebores in the Bungalow Border adjacent to the turning space and beneath the overhanging trees along the Water Authority boundary. Margaret and I cleared weeds and grass from the remaining section of the Border and infill planted extra Montbretias, Crocosmias, some sedums and euphorbias, while Juliet Ewing weeded the Bank Border giving special attention to the Dinas sign. All of the day’s plantings were watered and extra mulch was added to the areas of Heleabores. The kerbside areas of the North Yard access road and turning space were swept clean and we left site at about 17.30.

Sunday 15 March was still sunny with some cloud and Margaret and I started working on the Trackside Border just after 10.00. The woody branches of the flowering shrubs in the hedge alongside the cycle path were pruned back hard where they were overhanging the taller herbaceous plants. This enabled us to grub out weeds and rank grass along the Lon Eifion fence wherever these could be reached. The remainder will have to be dealt with on the footpath side of the fence at the Summer Trim working party. A deep weeding and de-grassing of known problem areas in this border was undertaken in anticipation of replanting these areas at the Summer Trim working party in July.

In the afternoon the dead roots of the Japanese Anemone infestation spot sprayed in July and October were dug out. There were still signs that some living remnants of these plants emerging again and common salt was applied to these as it was too windy to spray them.

We cut back the dead vegetation on the Iris Sibiricas, Schizostylis and half of the Cranesbill Geraniums along the track bed margins. The areas cleared of Japanese Anemones were dug over and made ready for planting later in the week with herbaceous plants potted up over the winter. Finally we tipped the day’s cuttings in an eco-pile and left the site at 15.45.

We returned to Dinas on Thursday 19 March at about 10.30 and continued in the Trackside Bed. We infilled planted the gaps among the Cranesbill Geraniums along the edge of the trackbed before planting the part of the border that had been overrun with Japanese Anemones. This area has now been filled with rows of White Flocks, Red Hot Pokers, White Valerians, Michaelmas Daisies and Schizostylis planted in echelon to the Lon Eifion fence. A single row of Japanese Anemonies has been retained to test whether they can be kept under control when the other new plantings become established. We watered the new plantings and then moved to the Bungalow Border where we watered in all the plants put in on the Saturday and spread additional bags of woodchip mulch before taking lunch and moving to Rhyd Ddu. I finished off the mulching of this border at the Real Ale weekend.

RHYD DDU

On Monday 16 March Margaret and spent the day at Rhyd Ddu, working on the Car Park Border for most of the morning. We cleared wind thrown branches and other winter debris from the border and then cut down Iris Sibiricas and Iris Foetidissima at the back of the Border. The Cranesbill Geraniums and Schizostylis were also cut back hard and we were then able to remove the weeds and grasses revealed. The grass along the back edge of the Border was trimmed. We dug out the trampled Red Valerians, Blue Cornflowers and Convolvulus that were smothering other plants in front of the Slate monolith direction sign to the Rhyd Ddu Path and prepared the ground for planting.

After lunch we moved to the three platform beds and weeded and de-grassed them and tidied up the planters. In the Station Shelter Bed Alpine Garden we extricated the moorland sedge that had self sown in the Thrift and Pinks and removed a number of dead alpine plants. We filled the gaps with Alpine Wallflowers and Sedums of various types. We split and replanted some Saxifrages that had become rather straggly. We then cut back the wind burnt areas of alpine shrubs and removed one that could not be salvaged. In the Heather Garden we relocated some self sown heathers into new groups and tidied up the disturbed areas of slate mulch.

In the Mid Platform Bed we replaced a few dead alpines with Alpine Wallflowers in the Raised Rock Garden and we cut back sedums which were suffering from peripheral dieback. We then cleared several clumps of moorland sedge that had infiltrated the Grass Garden and cleared space for planting new grasses and re-slating with fresh slate chippings at the Summer Trim Working Party.

In the Bus Bay Bed we removed areas of dead saxifrages, split some others and then replanted them to fill gaps in the Scree Garden. In the Heather Garden we trimmed back the wind burnt areas of purple leaved Ajuga planted to provide wind protection for the Heathers in this exposed location at the end of the platform. We removed the dead heathers and repositioned others into tighter groups in more sheltered locations. Finally we pruned both of the Gorse bushes, removing crossed branches to make tidier shapes and denser lower bushes. We left the site at 16.15 as rain was threatening to roll in from the west.

On the afternoon of Thursday 19 March we returned to Rhyd Ddu to finish work left over from Monday afternoon. In the Car Park Border a mixture of Pulmonaria and pink Cranesbill Geraniums were used to replace the Red Valerian and Cornflowers in front of the National Park sign. At the opposite end of the bed new violet coloured ground cover Cranesbills were planted to replace winter losses at the bottom of the wheelchair ramp. Five or six gaps throughout the bed were filled with deep pink Cranesbill Geraniums which will give support to the taller blue Cranesbills during any windy weather over the summer months.

In the Station Shelter Bed on the platform, where two large clumps of self sown moorland sedges were removed from the Grass Garden, we replaced them with three less aggressive bronze grasses before a new slate mulch was re-applied to the area. Space has been left for more planting in the summer.

In the Mid Platform Bed fresh slate was added to disturbed and thin areas in the Grass Garden and the Heather Garden and more was added over the Real Ale weekend. We swept up the gardening debris on the platform and watered the new infill planting. Finally we swept the ramp and the steps and watered the new planting in the Car Park Border before loading all the tools and equipment into the car and leaving site at 18.00.

 

SUMMER TRIM 2015

The weather at the 2015 JLG Summer Trim working party was, for the most part, kind to us this year and the volunteer turnout paralleled the recent working parties.

WAUNFAWR

On Friday July 10, Howard and Angela Stuckey, Martin Kressman, Margaret and I assembled at Waunfawr at 10.00hrs. It was a bright warm day and a little later we welcomed Eirwen Crowther back after a long illness from which she is recovering well. We worked together and began by tackling the North Bed and the Twin Shelters Bed. We trimmed the shrubs where necessary especially along the edge of the platforms. We dealt with a number of areas requiring intensive weeding and de-grassing although these beds were not badly infested this summer. Particular attention was paid to clearing the platform cesses of self sown plants as well as weeds and grasses. The spring bulbs and Irises were cut right back. The Cranes Bill Geraniums were cut back approximately one metre from the platform edge. A number of the Geraniums that were crowding the back of the Rock Garden were lifted and potted to infill gaps elsewhere in the Twin Shelters Border. The Rock Garden was given a hard trim as it was not looking its best. We cleared the platforms of the rubbish and stopped for lunch slightly later than normal.

After a rather longer lunch break than planned (I shall say no more) we began work in the Footbridge Bed. This took most of the afternoon as the lush growth this year required a lot of trimming and in particular Cranesbill Geraniums and Ladies Mantle had spread over the cesses and needed trimming back neatly to the rear of the cesses. Spring Bulbs and Irises were cut back and overhanging branches on some of the shrubs were clipped back. Geraniums and Wild Strawberries growing under five or six young shrubs were grubbed out to avoid choking the shrubs before they get established. Flowering long grasses were more of a problem than the willow herbs and had to be carefully pulled out before they went to seed. Dandelions, Buttercups and plantains were spot weeded as were the Docks and large Rose Bay Willow Herbs which are all deep rooted.

Unfortunately we only had thirty minutes left to tidy up the Water Tower Bed. We decided to de-grass and weed the Ornamental Grass Garden and dead head the Iris Sibericas in it and then to trim back the Cranebill Geraniums and dwarf Euphorbias that were spreading over the cesses. We pulled out as many self sown plants, weeds and grasses as we could from the gravel in the cesses, in the time available before removing all the waste and taking it to the eco piles and swept the platform clean. The last of us left the station and packed our cars by 17.15hrs feeling rather tired.

DINAS

Saturday July 11 was a warm sunny day and we were a group of four. Eirwen, Margaret and I met at 10.00 and we were joined by Alan Tringham for the first time. He works as a part -time gardener since retirement. Eirwen needed to begin the task of restoring all the platform planting boxes which looked rather neglected after her absence and she started on the larger sleeper box by the road frontage fence.

Alan started by tidying up the Twin Bridges Border clearing out weeds, grasses and untidy undergrowth and then cutting back spring bulb foliage and seed heads. Finally tidying up and thinning the larger shrubs. I concentrated on tidying up overgrown sections of the Bungalow Border. There was very little general weed growth or grass to remove but there were a few pernicious deep rooted weeds that required spot spraying. In addition there were six or seven self sown Acanthus’ which are so deep rooted they too had to be dealt with by spot spraying. They need to be killed off promptly as they are extremely invasive. The large leaves of the Acanthus’ spread over adjacent plants and smother them and they needed to be cut back hard to enable light to get to affected plants. The old dying leaves on the Hellebores were cut off to encourage the full growth of this year’s new foliage. Margaret tidied up the slightly overgrown appearance of the Herb Bed before joining me in the Bungalow Border.

After lunch Alan weeded and de-grassed the Bank Border and the area around the Dinas sign and cut back wind damaged foliage. Then he started relocating the boulders that surrounded the Rhododendron behind the border to create a new stone edging to the slate mulch in the Bank Border. Margaret and I infilled gaps in the planting in the Bungalow Border and enlarged some areas of block planting. As part of that exercise we hammered five steel stakes into the ground adjacent to the timber fence to create a stake and wire support frame for the tall Crocosmia Lucifers planted adjacent to the fence. Plants including Crocosmias, Day Lilies, Sedums and bulbs were planted towards the back of the border. Eirwen continued work on the planters on the Caernafon platform in the afternoon. We cleared away the rubbish we had generated and left the site at 16.00hrs to get ready for our Group Dinner at the Goat Inn near Garndolbenmaen.

Sunday July 12 was cloudy but bright and we met Eirwen and Alan at around 10.00. Eirwen continued working on sorting out the planters this time on the Porthmadog platform which kept her busy for the rest of the day. Alan completed the relocation of the stone edging around the Bank Border and spread slate chippings under the Rhododendron behind the Bank Border which had been pruned to lift the largest branches to about a metre above
ground level. After our coffee break, he spent the rest of the morning cutting a trench in front of the new lines of the stone edgings to provide a trimming strip for strimming the grass, similar to trenches established in the Bungalow Border and the Twin Bridges Border.
Margaret and I continued planting and tidying up the Bungalow Border. Margaret cleared the undergrowth and a creeping unidentified weed from the border at the end of the turning head and prepared the ground for planting a block of Harts Tongue ferns. Several plants in this area of the station gardens are affected by rust so I finished the morning spraying them with a fungicide.

During our lunch break we were joined by Christine and Bernard Price who immediately took on the task of weeding and de-grassing a fallow area in the Trackside Border. Margaret and I cleared all the rubbish accrued during the mornings work in the Bungalow Border and then moved to the Trackside Border. As the planting has matured in a large part of the border, weeding and de-grassing has become a less significant chore over the last few years. However we still have to spend a lot of time dealing with several problem plants put in during the 1990’s which tend to smother everything else unless they are trimmed back severely. These include Honeysuckle which not only spreads over the flowering shrubs adjacent to the fence but also sends runners off in all directions to establish new colonies. The Japanese Anemonies still require harsh management to stop them re-infesting large parts of the border. As well as cutting shrubs back from the track edges, weeding and de-grassing some areas of the border, we spent much of the afternoon dealing with the attractive bullies as part of our programme of developing a broader range of attractive plants for low maintenance borders which can only receive comprehensive attention on three or four occasions during the year. Alan finished cutting the turf edging trenches in the Bank Border and then filled them with slate waste which makes life easier for those who do the strimming. He then joined us in the Trackside Border and prepared the ground for and planted a large box of Cranesbill Geraniums along the side of the track at the end of the Caernarfon platform.

Christine and Bernard finished clearing their garden waste to the southern ecopile and left us after about two and a half hours. We continued for another half hour and then took our tea break, after which Eirwen swept the platform clear of waste from the planters before leaving us. We finished what we were doing, watered in the new plants and collected and barrowed the rubbish from the Trackside Border took it to the northern ecopile. Finally we packed our cars and left the site at about 17.00 hrs.

On Thursday July 15 we spent about 90 minutes at Dinas on a bright but grey morning placing additional infill planting in those areas of the Trackside border that had been cleared of Japanese Anemonies. These included White Stocks, Michaelmas Daises and White Valerians. We watered in the plants and stopped to take lunch before moving on the Rhyd Dhu for the afternoon.

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  Brewtime at Dinas
RHYD DDU

The weather was forecast to be wet all day for Monday 13 July and as Margaret and I were the only volunteers booked that day, the decision was made to take our Tuesday rest day on the Monday.

Tuesday 14 July was a pleasant sunny day and the morning was spent in the Car Park Border dead heading the Irises and spring bulbs, and weeding and de-grassing the front of the Border. This border is now fully established and packed with plants and this has reduced significantly the weed and grass infestation. We were therefore able to move on to the platform beds before lunch, starting with weeding, de-grassing and dead heading the Alpine and Heather Gardens in the Station Shelter Bed. After lunch we gave the Bus Bay Bed to the same treatment in the Scree Garden, the Heather Garden and the Fern Stumpery. Finally as the resident swallows have returned, the inside of the Station Shelter was given a good clean and the wind blown leaves and dead grasses were swept out of it.

Wednesday 15 July a sunny day, was devoted to painting the Station Shelter’s south gable wall and the window frames. However Margaret was able to find time to degrass and weed the Mid Platform Bed. Bernard and Christine Price joined us for a couple of hours after lunch and they trimmed the grass edges of the ramped route and the route from the steps to the car park before sweeping them clean.

On the afternoon of Thursday 16 July we returned to Rhyd Ddu to finish off several areas of weeding in the Mid Platform Bed and in the Grass Gardens in each platform bed. I rebuilt part of the wall on the Snowdon side of the Raised Rock Garden which had been damaged, probably by an over enthusiastic photographer. In the Bus Bay Bed we planted replacement Heathers in the Heather Garden and some more Sedums in the Scree Bank. In the Mid Platform Bed we cut back some straggly Sedums. In the Raised Rock Garden we planted more Alpine Wallflowers and we also filled a gap in the Grass Garden with some transplanted self sown bronze Sedges. At the end of the afternoon we swept the platform clean where we had been working and used up some weed killer on the joints in the platform surface adjacent to the Station Shelter Bed. We loaded the car and left site at 17.45.hrs.

I would like to thank all those mentioned above for all their efforts in July at Waunfawr, Dinas and Rhyd Ddu

Since our first informal working party in October 2009 the JLG has gradually eradicated the heavy infestations of weeds and couch grass and this together with the provision of dense planting, low maintenance herbaceous plants, ground cover plants and shrubs has significantly reduced the level of hard labour involved in maintaining the gardens in the stations at Dinas, Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. Regular applications of woodchip mulch have reduced the opportunities for weeds and grasses to re-establish themselves and the slate mulching at Rhyd Ddu has also been very effective. However nothing is weedproof and this will continue to be a challenge for those keeping the gardens in good order in the future and the railway will need to continually find new volunteers to do landscape maintenance in the coming years.

When you receive this magazine the 2015 Autumn Blitz working party will be long gone. Unless someone volunteers to take up the role of coordinator/organiser by the end of December the Autumn Blitz will be the last JLG working party, as I am standing down from that role. While I will be sad to see the end of the JLG, it has perhaps achieved its primary objective of putting the gardens into good shape ready for others to carry the work forward. So watch this space to see what will happen next year. If there is anyone who would like to take up the reins or contribute to organising the JLG in future years would they please Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone me on 01483 836217, for more information on what may be involved.

Autumn Blitz 2015

The last JLG Autumn Blitz was a quiet affair attended by the regular volunteers who always turn out. The weather was indifferent but it was dry except for one day so we did do enough to make the stations look presentable until the end of the winter.

WAUNFAWR

Friday October 9 was a grey warm day. There were four of us, Howard Stuckey, Martin Kressman, Margaret and me. After a slightly later than usual start work got underway in the Water Tower Bed. We cut down all the Cranesbill Geraniums and other herbaceous plants that had died back. Then we de-grassed and weeded out those areas that had consequently been revealed. Martin grubbed out a significant number of self seeded Hazel and Ash saplings as we pruned back the shrubs from the edge of the platform. Some of the shrubs also required thinning to untangle rubbing branches which had been damaged and were in danger of becoming diseased. Self sown plants and weeds in the drainage cesses were pulled out. The Grass Garden was thinned out and two large Blue Geraniums were lifted for relocation. Bed. The tall Crocosmia Lucifers and some Irises were cut down to the ground ready to be lifted and relocated elsewhere during the winter. A number of self sown sedges were dug out and dumped on one of the eco-piles.

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Northern Bed at Waunfawr

After morning coffee we moved on to tackle the Footbridge Bed where a large number of Cranesbill Geraniums and Ladies Mantles were cut back hard and cleared from the ballast in the cesses that they had colonised in great profusion. More of these plants were grubbed out from under recently planted shrubs to prevent their roots being choked by these otherwise useful plants. The mature shrubs were pruned and shaped to tidy up their appearances, while Martin got to grips with removing some really large self sown Hazels and Ashes.

After lunch we cleared all the rubbish produced by our morning efforts and took it to the eco-piles and then moved on to the Twin Shelters Bed. The pink Cranesbill Geraniums, Irises and other Herbaceous plants were cut down and space was made for the Blue Geraniums lifted from the Water Tower Bed. Shrubs overhanging the edge of the platform were trimmed back and the larger shrubs were pruned. More saplings were grubbed up and deadwood was cut out of the trees and older shrubs. The Rock Garden had become overgrown and rather untidy by late September, so everything was trimmed back hard and some of the plants that were in very poor condition and were discarded. The hard trimming exposed previously concealed weeds and grass and these were also removed.

The North Bed was in full flower with Schizostylis and hardy Fuschias providing a profusion of pink and red blooms. Little work was required at this point and any work in the North Bed was deferred until later in the winter. The platforms were cleared of garden waste and swept clean and we finally left site at approximately 17.15 hrs.

DINAS

Saturday October 10 was another grey day but with high cloud and occasional watery sunshine. We were joined by Eirwen Crowther and spent the day working on the Trackside Border. We started by cutting back the shrubs that form a hedge along the line of the fence with the Lon Eifion cycle path with both sides of the hedge being trimmed.

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Bungalow Border at Dinas

Adjacent to the North end of the down platform a 25 square foot area of the bed was emptied and the Bergenias, Schizostylis and Geraniums were set on one side so that the area could be dug over and the remaining couch grass could be removed. Three golden variegated Eleaganus shrubs that were lifted from the Bungalow Border during the Spring Makeover were placed to form a foil behind the replanted block of Bergenias at the end of the platform. Groups of purple flowering ground cover Geraniums and Schizostylis were used to fill gaps at both the front and back areas of the border. The northern edge of the area was filled with early flowering Cranesbill Geraniums interplanted with new naturalising Daffodils.

In the main part of the border, the summer growth of the Acanthus, Irises, Crocosmias and Cranesbill Geraniums was cut down to the ground ready for winter mulching. At the far northern end of the border, where the Japanese Anemones have been eradicated, blocks of Schizostylis and pink Cranesbill Geraniums were planted. The spring plantings of white Valerians and Flocks, Red Hot Pokers, Golden Rod and Iris Foetidus were thickened up and the retained Japanese Anemones were vigorously controlled.

We returned to Dinas at 10.00am on Sunday October 11. It was another grey day but rather cooler and work was concentrated in the Bungalow Border. Some large Crocosmia Lucifers were cut back ready for moving to the back of the border over winter. The Acanthus Spinosas’, Irises and Day Lilies were cut down to the ground. Weeds growing through the yellow and orange Crocosmias were teased out carefully and the Dandelions and Buttercups were spot sprayed as were the Acanthus seedlings that had germinated over the summer. Like the Japanese Anemones, all Acanthus varieties need to be kept rigorously in check to prevent them gradually obliterating all the other plants in a border.

Three Erigerons were planted behind the stone edgings on the corner and these will soon spread to provide a continually flowering edge to the border. Margaret planted dwarf Daffodils behind the stone edging around the turning head. The block of Euphorbias planted last year was thickened up. Three more Hellebores were planted to replace some of those that were planted at the Spring Makeover below the trees along the Water Authority boundary. The slate edging strip to the grass verge near the entrance gates was sprayed together with the narrow strip of weedy grass running along the bottom of the adjacent fence.

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The plaque on a seat at Dinas Station attached in memory of Val Holland, the JLG Clerk of Works who died in January 2016

Eirwen spent the morning and early afternoon weeding and deadheading all of the platform planters and the sleeper bed near the plinthed vertical boilered Penmaenmawr locomotive before preparing them for winter planting.

All three of us spent the remainder of the afternoon working on the Bank Border and tidying up the turning head. This was largely an end of season tidy up and involved weeding and tidying up the Dinas Sign and cutting down the Irises and Day Lilies. The slate edge trimming strip was weeded and the adjacent grass was trimmed to a neat edge. Dying lower branches on the Trachycarpus Fortunei and Cordyline Australis palm trees were removed to tidy their winter appearance and encourage upward growth next spring.

The Twin Bridges Border was in good condition with few weeds or grasses so that the planting work planned for this border was left until later in the week. The Herb Bed was also in good condition because Jo and John Morton had weeded and tidied up the bed and the area around it over the Superpower weekend. We tidied the work areas and removed the garden waste to the eco-pile and left the site just after 17.00 hr.

I returned to Dinas on the morning of Friday October 18 to complete the planting work left over from the previous Sunday in the Twin Bridges Border and the northern end of the Trackside Border. More planting to further thicken up the newly planted areas should see the completion of the evolution of the Trackside border to a low maintenance year round planting by next spring.

RHYD DDU

As there were no other volunteers booked to attend and the weather forecast for the Monday was rain for most of the day, we decided to move our rest day forward to Monday. This proved to be a wise decision as the Tuesday was very pleasant.
We started work on the Car Park Border at about 10.30 on Tuesday October 13 cutting down all the herbaceous plants that had started to die back including the Iris Siberica, Red Valerian, Yellow Loosestrife and Blue Geraniums. This enabled us to weed and de-grass the border. Then Margaret planted some variegated Loosestrife to fill gaps in the planting. The Alpine Gardens in the three platform beds were dead headed, weeded and de-grassed. The Day Lilies and Irises were cut down in the Grass Garden in the Mid Platform Bed. Self sown moorland grasses were dead headed prior to removal over the winter. The planters were checked for weeds and grass but there was most nothing to remove. We tidied up the platform and the steps from the car park and left the site at 17.00 hrs

Wednesday October 14 was bright and sunny and we spent most of the day completing our summer decorating programme, but we spent the last part of the afternoon working on the gardens. Margaret planted some naturalising daffodils in the Car Park Border and I completed the de-grassing of the slate mulch in the Mid Platform Bed and the Station Shelter Bed. Finally I spot sprayed the grass growing in open joints in the tarmac surface of the down platform before sweeping up and bagging the garden waste. Finally we loaded the car at about 18.00 hrs as dusk was gathering.

With this being the final working party held under the Joint Landscaping Group banner, special thanks are due to our loyal regular volunteers Howard Stuckey, Martin Kressman, and Eirwen Crowther for their efforts this autumn. They are leaving Waunfawr, Dinas and Rhyd Ddu in good condition for the future. I would also like to thank all those people, gardeners and non-gardeners, who joined one or more of the JLG working parties over the last six years. Thanks are also due to the Society board and the staff of Company for their financial and logistical support; and to the editors the late Roy Woods and Dave Kent for their encouragement and patience. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to my family; to my wife Margaret for her loyal support, not just for gardening but also for typing the these reports and organising the catering logistics for four weeks of self-catering around Arfon and Merionydd every year; and to my son Alistair, our hidden volunteer, who for the last five years has given IT support, sharpened and repaired our tools and acted as loadmaster, squeezing boxes of provisions, gardening materials, plants and tools into the car. Both have made my task so much easier. I hope you have found the JLG reports over the years informative and interesting.

 

Graham Cartland Glover

Autumn 2015