The gardens of North Wales
Trees planted to mark royal romances hundreds of years ago, and landscaped lawns and exotic guests. North Wales is famous for its gardens. From the National Ivy Collection to listed estates, here are a few places worth a visit.
Devotees of the Italianate vision will love the National Trust owned Bodnant Gardens. Leading up to the Hall, the upper garden has five terraces, featuring brick paths, lily ponds, formal lawns and herbaceous plants. Below, trees and shrubs flank The Dell, passed by the River Hiraethlyn. Homegrown collections include Chinese, North American and Japanese plants.
A touch of Aussie lushness on the Menai Strait, where the 18th century Plas Newydd – already the place for pristine views of Snowdonia – is home to an Australasian arboretum, no less. Elsewhere, there’s a spring garden, a summer terrace and colourful, massed hydrangeas to enjoy. The catkin garden is a highlight.
Acres of wonderful gardens fill Plas Tan y Bwlch, a research epicentre in the Snowdonia National Park. They include a water garden, a Japanese garden, a fern nursery, an azalea walk and a wildlife garden, all teeming with unusual exotic specimens. Valleys and woodlands surround this 18th century mansion.
The Great Orme Country Park was dedicated to local residents by Lord Mostyn in 1887, and it offers splendid views of the town more than a century on. Take a sloping walk to the charming landscaped gardens forming part of them, then lie back and relax under the ancient trees towering above.
There are 260 acres of parkland surrounding Bodelwyddan, and the formal garden, which is part of a site including a maze and woodland areas, was designed in 1910. The walls were the idea of 19th century baronet Sir John Hay Williams, who originally introduced many of the exotic plants here.
Erddig is the place to find the National Ivy Collection, but there are also some extremely rare fruit trees within the hallowed grounds of one of the most important gardens in Britain. Discover why William Eames’ late 18th century design has been deemed worthy of Grade I listing status.
Replenish your spirit with some serious flower power courtesy of a pantheon of plants first established during the 1930s, decorating the grounds of Plas yn Rhiw 16th century house and gardens. Now a National Trust site, the array of public footpaths extend an invitation to discover the rare botany of a historic collection.
Something of a hidden gem, the eight acres at Bodrhyddan are beautiful. They include a formal Victorian parterre, an avenue, a Pleasance and a Dingle, with a maze pattern allowing squares of bright blooms to snake around the central enclosure. Exquisite to visit on a midsummer afternoon.
First planted more than 150 years ago and enhanced ever since, beautiful Portmeirion’s mild climate means that you can see all sorts of trees along the coastline, from Himalayan Firs to Variegated Sycamore. The shrubs, hedges, abundant flowers, lakes and woodland are nothing short of spectacular in any season.
Clough Williams-Ellis was the creator of Portmeirion and Plas Brondanw is the property he inherited more than a century ago. The gardens are the legacy of a man who spent much of his life and every penny he had on them. These days their magnificent landscaping – part of a site built in the mid-16th century – offers yews, an orangery and splendid mountain views.