We are back from our annual trip to Wales to see my husband’s family and have returned to a garden that resembles a jungle. The grass in the meadow seems to have grown about a foot in our absence and some of the vegetables (though not all) have grown too. But more about the garden later in the week.
First some highlights of our Wales visit. Grandma and Grandpa’s garden was awash with flowers, the roses in particular caught my eye.
Meanwhile, in the hedgerows and banks along the Welsh roadsides, foxgloves with their tall pink spires, seemed to abound.
One of the visits we made was to Dinefwr Park, a National Trust property and home to a herd of White Park Cattle. This is a very old cattle breed but it is also very rare with only about 1000 animals worldwide. The breed is descended from Britain’s original wild white cattle. Because the white cattle look so noble they were enclosed in parks by the nobility during the middle ages but when these estates started to decline so too did the cattle. The cattle are white with black spots and black on their muzzle, ears, eye-rims and feet. The wide-spreading horns are usually black-tipped. As they are an ancient breed the animals still have a matriarch system, i.e one of the females is in charge. In Dinefwr the matriarch is Miranda – she is the oldest female in the herd (at about 16 years of age). During the Second World War a small number of the cattle were shipped to the USA, where today two herds still remain – one in Texas and one in Montana.
The park is also famed for its ancient trees. They have nearly 300 trees that are thought to be over 400 years old. One of the oak trees is estimate to be 700 years old. We didn’t get time to see that one, so will have to make a return visit.