Carrie Thomas is opening her cottage garden in Gorseinon, near Swansea, to the public throughout May to raise money for the ME Association.
A renowned seedswoman, Carrie used to hold two recognised national collections of different types of aquilegia – otherwise known as Granny's bonnets or columbines.
She is inviting people to make appointments to visit by phoning her in the evenings on 01792 522443 or using the email link on her Facebook page ‘Carrie’s Garden’, where you can find more information. You may also email email@example.com
“I’ve had ME for 22 years now and am still shielding. I don’t go into any buildings and no one comes into the house. The only place I see people nowadays is out of doors”, said 66-year-old Carrie this week.
“But people mustn’t come expecting a tidy garden. It’s been very much a work-in-progress since I took it over in the Spring of 2018, soon after moving here.
‘Someone had loved the garden a time ago and left a beautiful inheritance of flowering shrubs, climbers and trees. I cleared brambles , sumach, ivy and couch grass; dugs beds and planted.”
Carrie was a pharmaceutical company rep covering South West Wales before she went down with ME after becoming severely ill with food poisoning. “I’d never known anything quite like it. It floored me for weeks and I later had a mildish flu illness from which I never recovered. Yes, ME had started!”
An equally rotten run of bad luck also hit her national collections of aquilegia when they were wiped out a few years ago by a mould called aquilegia downy mildew. Carrie quickly became an expert in that disease, too.
You will find Carrie’s garden on a corner plot at 1 Heol Elfed, Gorseinon SA4 4GH, with a wooden veranda by the side of the house.
“Much is on the flat but the side garden is sloping. Visitors should only go where they feel safe and watch their step especially when looking at the lovely flowers.
“Hoses and roses can trip and rip, uneven stepping stones can cause tumbles! I can’t afford open-garden insurance so I ask everyone to take responsibility for themselves or please do not visit. I’m sure you understand.”
Don’t forget: before visiting, please make an appointment . And, if you can afford to pop a fiver into the donations box, the ME Association would truly appreciate that.