Magical May at Bodnant Garden

The Upper GardenWe’re all set for a magical May at Bodnant Garden. The month brings a crescendo of spring colour, from exotic rhododendrons to native bluebells and a riot of blossom in between all crowned, of course, by the show-stopping Laburnum Arch.

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This year we’re pulling out all the stops to make the experience a memorable one for everyone. From the beginning of the month we’re opening the garden gates early, and late, so visitors can make the most of the spring flower show.

We’re also offering breakfasts in the tearoom for early birds and have recruited a team of special volunteers, Laburnum Archers, to help visitors coming here for the famous floral spectacle, which attracts around 50,000 people over three weeks.

The 55 metre-long Laburnum Arch was created by the garden’s Victorian founder Henry Pochin in 1882 and is the longest and oldest in Britain. The display of golden flowers in late spring is the most visited, photographed and anticipated event of Bodnant Garden’s year.

We put ouGetAttachmentt an appeal earlier this year for volunteers to help with the display and our events and engagement officer Charlie Stretton has been busy recruiting and training the merry band, who will be in special Laburnum yellow uniforms.

Our Laburnum Archers will help direct visitors, answer queries, take photographs for people, hand out brollies if the weather’s wet or drinking water if it’s hot, and help make the Laburnum Arch experience fun, friendly and enjoyable for everyone.

To give everyone extended access to the garden, people will be able to visit from 9am in May and June and stay until 8pm on Wednesday evenings (from May to the end of August.) Dogs are welcome on Wag Wednesdays evenings too, from 5pm-8pm.

And fueling all those hungry visitors will be our award-winning Pavilion tearoom, which has recently undergone a makeover by staff and volunteers and will be providing breakfasts from 9am throughout May and June.

Azaleas and rhododendrons near the Shrub Borders at Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales

Other horticultural highlights to enjoy at this time are the rhododendrons. It’s said there’s a rhododendron in flower every month of the year at Bodnant Garden, but they are at their peak in May. The garden’s oldest were brought here from Asia by Victorian and Edwardian plant hunters. In the 1920s and 1930s some of these plants were cross-bred at Bodnant Garden to make new hybrids which are now beloved by gardeners all over the world.

Adding color to the palette is the blossom of cherries, viburnums, late flowering magnolias and many other shrubs and trees; herbaceous plants are filling beds and borders and drifts of native bluebells run through the grass glades and wooded areas of the garden.

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Now is also a great time to see garden projects underway – the renovation of the Bath poolside garden and the Canal Terrace borders – and to see the new Himalayan Poppy Bed near the Pin Mill, created last year, flowering for the first time.

The Laburnum Arch is the icing on our spring cake. We’ll keep everyone updated here, on or website, Facebook and Twitter, about its ETA. We’re all set, so watch this space!

For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or catch up with us on Facebook  or Twitter.

 

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Autumn’s so bright you’ll need to wear shades

There’s plenty to warm the cockles of your heart at Bodnant Garden this autumn. We’ve got 80 acres of autumn glow, plus events for all the family and a warm welcome in our tearooms.

Bodnant Garden is a firework display of colour in autumn, with the dazzling leaf colour of trees and shrubs, ripening fruit and berries and late flowering plants putting on a show to rival the bright colours of summer.

The garden’s 140-year-old collection of trees are at their finest at this time of year, especially in Chapel Park (seen below) where you can enjoy the reds, purples and ambers of Japanese acers plus many others – some exotics collected by plant hunters more than a century ago along with other beautiful native trees.

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For the first time in the garden’s history this autumn, visitors can explore the arboretum in the newly opened lakeside area, The Far End, which includes some of the garden’s Champion Trees.

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In the formal gardens on The Terraces roses are still in bloom and herbaceous beds are full with late flowering asters, sedums and dahlias; in The Dell our swathes of hydrangeas are changing all the colours of the kaleidoscope as they age; and in the Shrub Borders plants are laden with berries and fruit.

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Look out for the weirdest fruit of the garden, the blue pods of Decaisnea fargesii (Dead Man’s Fingers), and giant raspberries of Cornus kousa (seen above). Birds are loving the autumn too as they make the most of the fruits on offer. There’s a chance to see them on October 9 with our Birds of Bodnant Walk at 11am. This is a free guided tour with an expert from Birdwatching Trips.

There’s plenty for younger visitors during half term week – from Monday October 26 to Friday October 31 we’re hosting Wild About Gardens Week with craft activities in the Old Mill in The Dell, from 11am to 2pm.

There will be environmental art around the garden and families will be encouraged to make their own from items like leaves and cones. There will also be a trail of pumpkins to lead people to the Old Mill. On Saturday, October 31, there are Halloween activities at The Far End and the Old Mill from 12am to 3pm including Making a Witch’s Hovel. These are free events so drop in at any time.

On Wednesday November 18 there’s a Walk with the Head Gardener – this is an opportunity to meet John Rippin, who took over in January, and find out about his vision for the future (cost £10, call 01492 650460 to book a place.)

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And talking of walks…Dogs Welcome starts again in November (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), with the garden now open to our four-legged friends every day from January until the end of February.

If the candyfloss scent of Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura Tree) gives you an appetite there are refreshments on offer every day in the Pavilion and Magnolia tearooms throughout the autumn, plus the kiosks in the Dell and Far End at weekends.

For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or catch up with us on Facebook  or Twitter.

Jewels of July at Bodnant Garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASummer at Bodnant Garden means roses, water lilies and formal beds and borders …and now, for the first time, wildflowers. We’ve created a mini-meadow next to the Pin Mill and it’s been a real success, with visitors and with butterflies, bees and dragonflies. The long border is being renovated and the idea was to sow a wildflower mix to create a summer display while we plan a new design. By popular request, we may be doing it again at other places around the garden in future.

Elsewhere, the garden is looking splendid is all its summer glory, from the rose-tinted formality of the Terraces to the drama of The Dell with it’s swathes of blue hydrangeas and the lakeside tranquiltiy of the Far End. Here’s a little tour in pictures:

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Hot colours in The Range border

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Calceolaria integrifolia (left) alliums and campanula on the Top Lawn

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Dierama pulcherrimum (Angel’s Fishing Rod) on the Terraces

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Water lilies and roses, roses, roses…

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Also causing a stir on the rose terraces, Lilium regale

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Shrubs and perennials mingle in the shade of the Shrub Borders

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Lilium martagon and Hemerocalis lilioasphodelus  

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Sprawling Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (left) and Desmodium elegans

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Lovely all in white, the Poem beds

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Blue hydrangeas and Cardiocrum giganteum in The Dell

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Astilbe and campanula light up the shade

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You’ll even find a late flowering Rhododendron ‘Argosy’

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Lush lakeside in the Far End...you may spot an otter

Back to the upper the garden, and the subject of meadows…as well as out little ‘experiment’ at the Pin Mill we’re developing three wildflower meadows. The Old Park is already open to the public and we’re hoping to open Cae Poeth and Furnace meadows in the next few years. When last surveyed we identified 26 species of wildflowers in The Old Park. Come along and have a look for yourself; sit and enjoy the birds, butterflies and bees, even have a picnic. After your grand your of the garden, what nicer way to relax on a summer’s day?

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For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or catch up with us on Facebook  or Twitter.

 

 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Skimmia japonica (2)It’s going to be a cracker of a Christmas at Bodnant this year, with more than ever to see and do during the festive season. We’ve joined forces with our neighbours Bodnant Garden Centre to make Christmas 2014 a spectacular seasonal event.

Enjoy frosty garden walks in the garden, shopping at the garden centre (which now includes a new Edinburgh Woollen Mill) and craft units, bring the children to meet Santa and the elves and top the day off with Christmas fare – from a sit-down turkey lunch to al fresco chestnuts and mulled wine.

??????????????????????????????? Bodnant Garden is now open all year-round (apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with 80 acres of frosty winter landscape to enjoy, including a Winter Garden. Every weekend through December in the run up to Christmas visitors can enjoy guided winter walks with a gardener and, for the kids, an Elves’ Workshop in the Old Mill in The Dell. Visitors can also bring their dogs for a walk on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through the winter.

There will be hot lunches at the two garden tearooms plus al fresco refreshments in front of a roaring brazier in the Dell, a barbecue in the garden centre and a roasted chestnut stall. Visitors can also do some Christmas shopping in the new National Trust Gift shop.

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Bodnant Garden Centre (seen above) has a huge range of Christmas ideas for shoppers, from cards, decorations and gifts to plants, and of course Christmas trees and wreaths. There will be a chance to do some late night shopping on Friday, December 19, and Santa will also be popping in to the grotto every weekend in December up to Christmas. A big new addition to the site is the Edinburgh Woollen Mill – perfect for those winter woollies! What’s more there’s a unique collection of local arts and crafts products at Bodnant Craft Centre, from jewellery, paintings, ceramics and furniture.

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 Meet Santa and the elves…and stroll in the Winter Garden

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Events November 29-December 21, Saturdays and Sundays

Bodnant Garden:

Elves’ workshops 11am-2.50pm. Book on 01492 650460. Free event, normal garden admission.

Winter Garden walks, 12 noon and 2pm. Free event, normal garden admission.

Bodnant Garden Centre:

Santa’s Grotto 11am-4pm. Free entry, donation to charity.

Friday, December 19

Late night shopping until 8pm, Bodnant Garden NT shop, Bodnant Garden Centre, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Bodnant Craft Units.

Magnolia Tearoom open until 8pm.

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For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT

Spring puts on its best bonnet this Easter

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  Happy Easter Bank Holiday everyone! It’s not all about the chocolate though…it’s about new beginnings, and where better to celebrate that than in the garden. If you make it along to ours this holidays there are some wonderful spring sights in store – and if you can’t make it we hope these pictures will bring you closer.

  We’ve got beautiful blossom as far as the eye can see but the rhododendrons are the stars of the show right now, like this Rhododendron davidsonianum framed perfectly against Magnolia x soulangeana and a blue sky.

  You might also like to join our celebration of these dazzling plants in our Rhododendron Festival, from April 17 to May 22,  which includes walks talks and workshops from April 17 to May 22.

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Pulsatilla halleri subsp. slavica and Tulipa ‘Maytime

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Ceanothus ‘Trewithen Blue’ and Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’

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Kerria japonica and Osmanthus delavayi

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Erithronium ‘Revolutum,’ and Amelanchier lamarckii

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Viburnum carlesii and Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

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Chaenomeles ‘Spitfire’ and Prunus ‘Shirotae’

For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT

 

Autumn at Bodnant Garden – Bring it on!

 in flower oct2 090 lowIt’s time for conkers, hot fires, hot soup and crunching leaves – and we’ve got them all.

  The garden is being transformed by the colours of autumn.  Late blooming flowers are accompanied now by eye-catching foliage, berries and fruit and our garden’s mountain backdrop provides some breathtaking panoramas. In the upper garden the rose terraces and herbaceous beds are still giving their all, climbing wisteria is still perfuming the air and now vines, too, are scrambling across walls in a spectacular cascade of green and bronze.

  1266335_563790697001810_1811904171_oOn The Range lobelias, heleniums and long serving dahlias provide a firework display of colour, in contrast to The Lily Terrace which is a pastel picture of swaying grasses and perennials. Elsewhere in The Terraces phlox and asters fill out borders now also peppered with Autumn Crocus and cyclamen.

 Chapel Park in all its autumn glory low res The Shrub Borders are at their full glory; astilbes, crocosmia and Kaffir Lily light up beds beneath glowing acres, rowan, prunus and many other deciduous trees, native and exotic. The best include the pink-leaved Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura Tree), with its heart shaped leaves which smell of burnt sugar, the flame red oak Quercus coccinea, a Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’ (Purple Leaved Plum), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) and Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Ruby Glow’. 

  bodnant nov12 020 lowThere are berries and fruit with wow factor too, including Sorbus hupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’, a pale green Styrax japonica (Japanese Snowbell), the aptly named Symplocos paniculata (Sapphire Berry) and a red Viburnum lobophyllum…and the fruit of Decaisnea fargesii (Dead Man’s Fingers) seen right, have to be seen to be believed.

  In the Dell you can warm you hands on Acer japonicum ‘Aureum’, the golden hues of Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern) and the muted pinks and mauves of hydrangeas. As herbaceous plants wane the eye is drawn upwards to the towering evergreen firs, cedars, hemlock and redwoods.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Special mention must go to the hydrangeas of every variety which can be found throughout the garden right now; tall ivory H.paniculata grandiflora, delicate mauve lacecap H. aspera villosa, the fat nodding blue and pink mopheads of H.macrophylla, white H. arborescens, the oak leaved H. quercifolia, seen left, and the small but perfectly formed H. involucrata ‘Hortensis’ with flower heads like a bouquet of roses.

  In the new Winter Garden there are tantalising glimpses of what’s to come – spot the red and yellow Cornus stems, peeling white Birch bark, heathers and emerging hellibores as you pass by.

  As for other things to see and do this autumn…come and have a look at the renovation work on the Waterfall Bridge, the first in its 100 year history. You can bring your dog too! This autumn visitors will be able to bring their four-legged friends for walkies every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from November to March and we’ve got special events on November 1 and 2 to mark the start of our dogs welcome policy – displays by dog agility and rescue groups, dog competitions and a visit by the Dogs Trust who will be doing free microchipping.

 bodnant nov12 058 low Half term events for families include a Mystical Creatures Trail, autumn crafts, conker fights, a night-time Halloween walk and, in the lead up to Christmas, we’ll have an elves toy making workshop. For the grown ups there will be a series of gardening workshops and talks including a Propagation Walk and Champion Tree Walk with the experts. We’ll also be challenging ourselves and visitors to take part in the Great Leaf Rake on December 1 – help us set a record for the most leaves collected in one hour!

  And don’t forget to enjoy special warming winter menus at the Pavilion tearoom, or some al fresco refreshment stop in The Dell – hot drinks and soup by a brazier…perfect for that autumn walk.

See our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT for more details about all these events at Bodnant Garden.

Welcome to pastures new

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Bodnant Garden is slowly giving up its secrets as the gates open to areas which have, until now, been closed to the public.

From Monday (July 1) the gates to the Old Park will open to visitors who can, for the first time, enjoy a stroll through this picturesque meadow brimming with wildflowers and mature native trees. Work is underway to open other parts of the garden in the near future too.

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The Old Park is the oldest area of Bodnant Garden. It is thought to have been landscaped when the original house was built in the 1700s in the naturalistic style of the day, with native trees, rolling fields and a ha-ha (a type of ditch) to keep sheep and cows away from the house. The estate was bought by Victorian industialist Henry Davis Pochin in the 187os who remodelled the original Georgian style mansion and set about shaping the rest of the garden, but the Old Park has remained unchanged over the years.

The area has always been visible from the public garden, offering visitors open views of swathes of snowdrops in winter, daffodils in the spring, wildflowers in summer and, in autumn, a tantalising vista across to the acers in Chapel Park. However, from next week the gates to the Old Park will be finally open and people will be able to amble through to the Shrub Borders beyond enjoying the sights up close.

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Visitors will also be able to see the work being done to preserve the area’s wildlife. When surveyed in 2010, the meadow contained 23 species of grasses and wildflowers. It will be cut in August, the hay removed to keep soil fertility low, which encourages wildflowers to grow, and then grazed by sheep in the autumn.

Bill Warrell, area supervisor at Bodnant Garden, says: “We are delighted to be opening the Old Park for the first time. One of Bodnant’s three species-rich meadows, visitors will now have the chance to spot some of the 23 varieties of flowers and grasses present, as well as butterflies, day-flying moths and bees. We hope that the public will also enjoy the new views of the house, garden and Snowdonia, whilst strolling through gently swaying grassland.”

Next year we will be opening another part of the garden which has been closed to the public. The Yew Dell at the far south of the garden is a tranquil wooded area planted with rhododendrons, reminiscent of a Himalayan valley. Following this, in 2015, there are plans to open the area known as the Skating Pond at the far end of The Dell.

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The Old Park through the seasons

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For more information see our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT or website http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnantgarden

By gardener Fran Llewellyn