Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bodnant Garden - Italianate Terraces

I had a trip to Bodnant Garden yesterday, with fellow students and two horticulture tutors. A very warm day saw the gardens extremely busy, but it wasn't hard to understand why.

Bodnant Garden spreads over 80 acres, with informal lawns and formal terracing close to the house and then the informal picturesque Dell, with veritiginous slopes clothed in a bright tapestry of azaleas and rhododendrons leading down to the river at the bottom of the valley. Not all of the gardens are open to the public (though we were allowed into one closed section with one of the gardeners). There has been a lot of work done in the garden over the past few years, and this continues, with new plantings and renovation work.

Harry, our lecturer (who you've met before when I posted about Tatton Park), gave us a history of the gardens and the family who developed them, as well as lots of horticultural information. The Italianate terraces were dug into the rock of the garden - a plaque states that they were put in place in 1905.

I think yesterday must have been the perfect day to visit (hordes of people notwithstanding). The famous 55 metre laburnum arch was in full flower, the azaleas and rhododendrons were still well in flower and Embothrium coccineum (Chilean fire bush), scattered around the grounds, looked alight with flowers.

A view towards Snowdonia, from the front of the house.

A view to the lily terrace from the croquet terrace.

A reflection of Bodnant Hall in the water of the Lily Terrace

The Pin Mill at the head of the Canal Terrace.

Huge pergolas wreathed in wisteria

A Lutyens style bench in an alcove. The steps, when viewed from above, describe concentric circles. Self-seeded Campanula soften the steps.

View of the herbaceous borders across the lily pool. The planting in the border is relatively new.

Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' trained across a wall. Growing in the walls are Lewisia, which you can just about see.

More wisteria and a very opulent viburnum.

More steps.

The laburnum arch, with lots of people's heads.

We nearly got locked in, we were enjoying the visit so much - the gardnes closed at 5pm, but it was 5:20 by the time we emerged from the Dell. I'll post photos of the Dell in a second post.

If you haven't been to Bodnant Gardens, then go! Earlier in the season there are camellias and magnolias. Later in the season are herbaceous borders and rose borders. But if you want to see it at its very best, go now. I can't describe how amazed I was by the planting in the Dell.


N.L. Lumiere said...

I love the laburnum arch!
I've always been a big fan of wisteria, but laburnum is much more thrilling. Golden stalactites, floral fireworks. Lovely.
Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful thing.

Ellada said...

I love the step, it's so beautiful.
That was a very nice trip for me. Thank you.

easygardener said...

It is a very beautiful garden, I visited it years ago. I like the Laburnum. I've noticed that there are far fewer in ordinary gardens than there used to be.

VP said...

It's on my list...

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

That laburnum arch is so beautiful. All of your photos are great but those draping yellow flowers -- Oh, I would love to have something like that in my gardens. :)

Ms B said...

That brought back lots of memeories. We have been a couple of times on holidays to N Wales, but that is some time ago. I loved the garden & the setting just adds a little extra. Thanks for that.

Arabella Sock said...

Thanks for the tour - Bodnant is now on my list as well!

Helen/patientgardener said...

Its on my list, planning to go to Crug Farm in August so maybe could do a diversion to Bodnant will have to look

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I love Bodnant and try to go every couple of months. I think it has the amazing ability to soak people up. You go into the car park and think it will be heaving in the garden but somehow, as you set off down into the Dell, they melt away.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Fantastic place! I like the steps with campanula, I like that wisteria...., actually I like everything! What great pictures! thank you!