A season of new beginnings at Bodnant Garden

Magnolias MarchSigns of spring are all around us, Easter will soon be here and a season of new beginnings is dawning at Bodnant Garden.

Around the garden trees are greening, blossom and flowers opening and birdsong filling the air. It’s a great time to see new beds and borders created last year, now flowering for the first time, and to watch gardeners at work planting new schemes too.

Our early spring garden highlights include the native and the exotic, from massed displays of camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons to swathes of daffodils and bluebells.

You’ll find many mature Chinese magnolias dotted throughout the garden, which were brought to Bodnant from their native lands by famous plant hunters at the turn of the 1900s. They light up the garden  from March to May; some, like the grand old Magnolia campbellii mollicromata on the Croquet Terrace (seen above), began flowering in February.

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

Bodnant Garden is famous for its Asian rhododendrons, including unique hybrids bred at the garden from the 1920s. It’s said that there’s a rhododendron in bloom every month of the year here, even in winter, but they reach a dazzling peak in April and May. Herbaceous beds are filling out too, with tulips, iris, and early flowering perennials.

For a special spring treat, wander through wild daffodils in the Old Park meadow (you can also watch gardeners and volunteers deadheading the flowers to keep the display looking good – that’s dedication for you.) Following hard on the daffodils’ heels are native bluebells which run through the garden’s woods and glades.

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Volunteers deadheading the daffodils

This year you can see gardeners starting work on new planting schemes – sowing annual flower seeds in the Pin Mill borders for a summer display and beginning work on the renovation of the Deep Bath, which is being replanted with tropical species.

You can also see beds which were created just last year now coming to life; the Poppy Bed near the terraces was replanted with Himalayan primulas and poppies and the large Vanessa Bed near the Front Lawn, formerly shrubs and rhododendrons, was redesigned by our student gardeners as a mixed bed of plants with year-round interest.

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Of course Easter is a family time, and our wildlife-inspired activities will engage little hands, hearts and minds over the holiday period (Friday, March 25, to  Sunday, April 10):

  • Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt: Sunday March 27 and Monday March 28, search the garden for clues to discover a chocolate surprise, 10am to 3pm (cost £3 per child)
  • Pond Dipping Tuesdays: March 29 and April 5, 12pm-3pm (no extra charge)
  • Wildlife Garden Wednesdays; March 30 and April 6, 11am-2pm (no extra charge)
  • Make a Kite Thursdays: March 31 and April 7, 11am-2pm (no extra charge)
  • Teddy Bear Trails: Friday April 1-4 and April 8-10, all day (no extra charge)

Whether you want to bask quietly in nature or bring the family for a day out, there are 80 acres to explore and enjoy at Bodnant Garden this Easter time. Don’t miss springtime in Wales – with a little taste of the East thrown in for good measure!

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.

The Skating Pond at Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales

The tranquil lakeside at the Far End in spring.

 

 

 

 

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Easter treats at Bodnant Garden

The daffodils are out, the blossom is bursting…and we’re looking forward to a fabulous, floral Easter at Bodnant Garden.

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Daffodils in The Old Park

Throughout April visitors can enjoy swathes of daffodils in the meadows – a sight not to be missed. The result of around a century of planting by generations of gardeners, they now stretch as far as the eye can see across acres of the Old Park, Chapel Park and Glades, and throughout the whole garden.

Magnolias

Magnificent magnolias

You can marvel at the garden’s National Collection of magnolias, some more than 100 years old, and the emerging array of rhododendrons for which Bodnant Garden is famous. Also coming into flower are scented viburnums and cherry blossom trees, while tulips and herbaceous plants are filling out beds and borders with colour.

There’s an extra treat for visitors this year too, who can be among the first to explore a new area of the garden – the Far End, ten acres of tranquil riverside haven which is opening on March 28, for the first time in the Bodnant’s 140-year history. Until now visitors have not been able to walk further than the famous Waterfall Bridge in The Dell but soon they can discover what lies beyond…waterside walks, a skating pond, boathouse and arboretum of Champion Trees.

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The Far End

Horticulturalist and broadcaster Christine Walkden is performing the official opening at a special day of celebration on Saturday, March 28, at 12 noon. There will also be harp music, Morris Dancing, coracle making and guided walks for visitors to enjoy on the opening day.

There will be a new refreshment kiosk in the Far End serving hot and cold snacks, plus seating and toilet facilities – you’ll be able to picnic in the new area too. Special mini-buses will be running to take people from the garden’s main car park to the Far End during Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend.

Residents of the neighbouring village of Eglwysbach are being invited to the garden free for the opening day – free entry tickets are available from the village shop.

An Easter Egg Trail day at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.

The following weekend at Bodnant Garden it’s all about the chocolate! There will be a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail on Sunday and Monday (April  5 and 6) from 10am-3pm (£2 per child, no booking needed) plus art activities for youngsters in The Old Mill in The Dell.

On March 31, there’s a rare opportunity to look inside the Poem mausoleum, which is open on the last Tuesday of each month, starting this month.

The days are lengthening and lightening, the birds are singing, there are lovely spring displays and a whole new section of the garden open to the public so put Bodnant Garden on your list of things to do this Easter.

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

Final push for The Far End

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith just over a week to go until the opening of The Far End it’s all hands to the pump. We had a big blitz day this week when gardeners, volunteers and office staff got together for a final push – mulching, gravelling and turfing the ten acres. Everyone was rewarded by luscious lemon cake at tea break and pizza at lunch time, provided by our very own Pietro from the Pavilion tearoom, enjoyed around the brazier in The Dell. There were even chocolatey prizes for the best team efforts.

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Grass seed sowing (left) and gardeners Nathan and Fiona

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Volunteers Joy and Karen 

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Property administrator Rose mucking in, left

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Gravelling the new bridge path

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Pulling his weight, new head gardener John, right

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The massive Williams bed mid and after mulching

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Gravelling before and after

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Nathan and Dell supervisor Maxine, left

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Gardener Paul and property manager William enjoy a paned

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Looking tranquil in March sunshine, The Far End

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It’s taken many years of renovation to get to this point, so don’t miss our big opening day, on Saturday, March 28.

Garden manager Michael McLaren from Bodnant’s donor family will be here to welcome visitors and the horticulturalist and broadcaster Christine Walkden will perform the official opening at 12 noon with a ribbon cutting on the new bridge.

We’ve got harp music at 11am and 1pm in the boathouse, Morris Dancing and coracle making through the day plus guided walks during the afternoon. There’s also a new refreshment kiosk serving hot and cold snacks, plus seating and toilet facilities, and special mini-buses will be running to take people from the garden’s main car park to the Far End during Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend.

Residents of our neighbouring village of Eglwysbach are being invited to the garden free for the opening day – free entry tickets are available from the village shop.

It is the first time in Bodnant Garden’s 140-year history that The Far End has been open to the public so join us for a historic day!

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

Happy Easter from Bodnant Garden!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring may be late coming, but it’s definitely in the air at Bodnant Garden and visitors who come this Easter holiday can enjoy beautiful sights to lift the weary winter heart.

Daffodils, the symbol of spring and our national emblem, are beginning to bloom at last in great swathes in the meadow of the Old Park and through the grassy glades of the Shrub Borders. The impressive display is the result of decades of bulb planting by gardeners – with a little help from Mother Nature who has helped them to multiply!

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Camelia x williamsii ‘Mary Christian’

Other seasonal sights include the camellias – glossy, evergreen and in beautiful colours from pale pastels to vibrant reds and pinks – and the first of the rhododendrons, for which our garden is famous. Many of Bodnant’s rhododendrons were brought here from Asia by plant hunters in the early 20th Century and have been hybridised over the years, creating new plants unique to Bodnant. They can be seen all around the garden and in a special collection in beds on the Lily Terrace such as these two below, Rhododendron ‘Fine Feathers’ and Rhododendron ‘Cilpinense’

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In fact the garden holds a national collection of rhododendrons…and also magnolias (some of which are now towering trees more than one hundred years old) which can be seen here in April and May. Their fat, furry buds are swelling in earnest..a few have been trying to burst open already but have been knocked back by the cold snap; let’s hope slightly later flowering varieties are more successful!

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Euphorbia myrsinites

Roses are beginning to bud up in the Terraces and climbers like clematis and wisteria are slowly but surely making their way up and across stone walls and pergolas ready for flowering. Formal flower beds are slowly filling out as herbaceous plants re-emmerge from their long winter sleep.

In the Shrub Borders trees such as cherries are starting to blossom and a host of flowering shrubs are already lighting up the borders such as berberis, forsythia and corylopsis. Down in the Dell giant conifers look down on lush river banks filling out with greenery. Primroses are popping up and everywhere bulbs are dotting the ground with colour – snowdrops, crocus, daffodils, cyclamen and iris.

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Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’

The Pin Mill is looking stunning after a recent renovation; work is also underway on a new White Garden on the Lower Rose Terrace, and on an extension to the Alpine Garden on the Top Rose Terrace – come and see the works in progress.

There are a host of activities in April – Easter events for families such as chocolate egg hunts, special walks, storytelling and music in the Pin Mill and a specialist plant fair. We’re also launching new events from April such as Walk and Wine evenings and late night openings. There’s so much to see and do, so celebrate spring at Bodnant Garden!  By gardener Fran Llewellyn

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EASTER WEEK EVENTS AT BODNANT GARDEN:

MARCH 29: Quoits in the garden, every day until April 6 (free).
MARCH 30: Story telling in the Pin Mill, 2 – 2.30pm (free)
MARCH 31: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Pavilion tearoom 3pm (booking required), Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trails (£2).
APRIL 1: Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trails (£2), National Trust Egg and Spoon Race, 12 noon, no extra charge.
APRIL 2: Walk with the gardener at 11am, £2
APRIL 3: Falconry, 10.30am-4pm (free)
APRIL 6: Story telling in the Pin Mill, 2 – 2.30pm (free)
APRIL 7: Plant Hunters’ Fair 10am – 4pm

FOR DETAILS CALL THE GARDEN ON 01492 650460