Between a Bog and a Hard Rock

Christina Shand with her husband David spoke to Reading Gardeners captivating her 50-strong audience with the story of her garden. In 20 years Christina has created a garden in Pembrokeshire, starting from wilderness. It was the story of the development and inspiration of Dyffryn Fernant Garden. Christina’s garden is a personal response to the landscape under the Preseli hills, in which it sits. She told us of how she dealt with various inhospitable environments, some of her triumphs and disasters, and her desires for the future.

She moved into a semi-derelict stone farmhouse on a Welsh hillside at a time of personal and financial crisis, with no thought of making a garden. She has thin rocky acid soil and a mild wet climate. After designing and planting her front garden and vegetable patch, bit by bit she incorporated more of the surrounding yards and fields into her scheme. She now has a meadow, an orchard, grass garden, “magic garden”, a pond, a bog garden, and several other areas each of which has its own character.  There is a definite spiritual and poetic quality to the place, echoed or amplified by the numerous sculptures and the glorious backdrop of the Preseli Hills.

The garden is open to the public, and has been featured on Gardener’s World and in various articles, most recently in Gardens Illustrated.

Should you be in West Wales, make a point of including Dyffryn Fernant in your visit. Like Roy Lancaster, Joe Swift, Stephen Lacey and many others, you’ll probably be glad you did.