Jillie Hollins, owner and gardener at Waun Llan in Llandyfriog, gave the Gardening Club a witty and fascinating talk, telling us about her life, and the gardens she has created around the globe, as she moved from country to country with her husband Rear Admiral Hollins.
She told us how she created a garden in desert conditions (put a seed into the sand and water it, and it will grow), and on the slopes of Gibraltar; how she dined with Lord Mountbatten and loved and trained horses for most of her life. She told us that, on returning to Britain, they searched everywhere for the right house for retirement; her husband Hugo wanted a river for the fishing and she wanted several acres that would challenge her landscaping skills. They searched the UK, but when they saw the house in Llandyfriog, knew it was for them.
Jillie has a way with hostas, geraniums and climbers. She's diverted a small run of the Teifi to create a natural area of brook and wilder plants and she is, in my view, especially creative with her trees. but I was impressed, not only with her understanding and knowledge, but with her humility as a gardener. She said that she was creating this garden not only for her own joy, but for that of the people in this area of Wales...if the family are at home, it's open to the public...and that Waun Llan's beauty will live after her, which is something she works toward.
We had a lot of questions for Jillie, after the talk. My favourite of the tips she gave us...search charity shops for items that can be used as vases, especially if you plan to give your arrangement away...and she'd taken her own advice. She'd brought with her two attractive and original arrangements of herbs and late flowers and kindly donated them to the raffle; one was in a ramekin, the other in an elegant lidless teapot.