This week, I am away from home (with Husband, of course) staying at a hotel in Chester, very close to the Welsh border. This is an ideal place from which I can visit my family in Lancashire and Wales as well as revisiting some of the wonderful castles along the North Wales coast and the Roman and medieval sites around the city of Chester itself.
Oddly enough, our first visit was to somewhere quite unplanned. Whilst visiting my aunt and uncle at Penrhyn (in the county of Conwy) along the coast of North Wales, we decided to take a trip to Bodnant Gardens, nestling in the foothills of Snowdonia, just five miles inland from their house.
Bodnant has been described as one of the world’s most “magical” gardens. The scenery is quite dramatic and there are historic plant collections and awesome trees. Every season presents wonderful species and the changing colours are spectacular.
A single post could not do justice to the history and evolution of the Gardens, and even today, expansion and improvement continue. Regarding the history, I will simply summarise things by saying that Bodnant Hall was built in 1792 and was landscaped with native trees:
A mill was built down in the Dell (valley) to serve the needs of the estate, but it was not until the Hall was bought by industrialist Henry Pochin in 1874, that the gardens began to really take shape. It was he who planted the giant conifers in the Dell, created the famous Laburnum Arch and built the Poem Mausoleum as a resting place for himself and his family.
Since Pochin’s time the Gardens have considerably grown and new species continuously introduced. Plants were brought back by 19th and early 20th century explorers, including towering American redwoods and gorgeous Himalayan primulas, poppies and lilies.
The Gardens were first opened up to the public by Pochin’s daughter Laura, following her father’s death in 1895. On Laura’s death, management of the gardens passed to her son, Henry McLaren and stayed within that family until 1949 when they were handed over to The National Trust.
We’ve visited Bodnant several times before, at different times of the year, and have always been delighted with the displays. This month, the blooms are spectacular and I’ve never seen the Laburnum Arch look better. My aunt particularly loves the many different varieties of roses. Here are some photos we took:
On this occasion we didn’t manage to get down to the Dell, as my aunt was having problems with a sprained ankle, so we stayed relatively close to the Hall and the different gardens there. The following photos show some of the displays and views we saw. The Laburnam Arch was absolutely stunning. And yes, it’s me and Husband ambling along inside…
My next post will be about the first of the wonderful Welsh castles we visited. We’ll be back home on Sunday, so the others will be done sometime next week. Well, that’s the plan…