Spring into action with volunteering at Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden is growing – and needs you! We’re making a spring appeal for volunteers to help nurture new garden areas and to tend our rising number of visitors. It’s an amazing time to be at Bodnant Garden…can we tempt you?


Spring at the Far End, taken by our former (much missed!) volunteer photographer Phil Rogers

In the last five years we’ve opened around 30 acres of the garden which were formerly private. We’re taking down the ropes on a further 20 acres, Furnace Hill, later this spring and there are more new areas to open in the next couple of years. Signs are we’re also on target this year to welcome our highest-ever number of visitors – expected to be nearly 250,000 people through the gates by March.

So as the season bursts into life we’re hoping to recruit a spring task force. It’s a great opportunity to join us at a really exciting time – to get out and meet new people, use your skills or gain new ones, and of course to spend time in a breath-taking beautiful garden.


Volunteers helping in the garden and running family events


National Trust volunteers provide vital support to the work of the conservation charity. Bodnant Garden has around 120 volunteers, who give their time regularly or occasionally, to help the garden team and visitor services team.Our existing team have an incredible range of skills and help us with a whole host of things, from gardening to carpentry to photography, from giving guided walks to grown-ups to storytelling sessions for children.

Their hard work has helped Bodnant Garden to unveil almost 30 acres formerly closed to the public over the last five years; in 2012 the Winter Garden, in 2013 the Old Park meadow, in 2014 the Yew Dell and in 2015 the Far End riverside garden. From April visitors will also be able to explore Furnace Wood and Meadow, and this will be followed by the opening of Cae Poeth Meadow in 2018 and the Heather Hill in 2020.


In 2015 volunteers provided the support enabling us to open the Far End lakeside – by gardening and assisting visitors to the new area

Last year we recruited a new team of volunteers called The Laburnum Archers, to help during our busiest time in June when the famous Laburnum Arch is in flower.

Charlie Stretton, Bodnant Garden events and engagement officer, says: “The Laburnum Archers project was a huge success. We had a brilliant mix of people; the youngest was 15, the oldest 74, and their backgrounds ranged from students to retired people (including a retired Wing Commander.) They were invaluable during our busiest time and out of 20 volunteers who signed up for a short period, 15 have stayed on as permanent volunteers.


Our young volunteer Gethin,  who helps us run family activities during school holidays,  and turns his hands to social media too

“We’re gearing up for another busy spring, with the opening of Furnace in April. Whether you’d like to dip a toe in and help for a few days, a few weeks, or would like to join us in a more permanent role; whether you’d like to get your hands dirty in the garden or help meet and greet visitors, give us a call. The hilly terrain can be challenging for some people but we welcome all abilities and can find a place in the garden that’s right for you. All volunteers will get training and support – and our eternal gratitude!”

Contact Charlie at charlotte.stretton@nationaltrust.org.uk 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.


Last summer our volunteers supported us hosting a textile exhibition by North Wales Embroiderers’ Guild – a first for the garden




Calling all proud gardeners

Bodnant Garden invites the people of Wales to share their outdoor spaces in 2015

The Upper Garden

Bodnant Garden is part of the local national heritage…and now your garden could be too with the launch of a new National Trust Wales competition.

#NTWalesGardenProud aims to capture and celebrate the way people in Wales use their gardens and outdoor spaces. The social media competition will encourage proud Welsh garden owners to submit photos to win a day of special care and attention for their garden from National Trust experts.

From sprawling country gardens that epitomise the rural idyll, to innovative urban spaces that make the best use out of every available inch, we want to find out how the people of Wales use their green spaces, be they humble or grand.

JR Pic

One of the judges, our very own head gardener John Rippin

As part of the #NTWalesGardenProud competition, National Trust Wales has enlisted a panel of judges, who will review the entries received and decide on a final winner. The judges on board include our very own head gardener John Rippin; Terry Walton, BBC Radio gardening personality; Chris Flynn, Head Gardener at Dyffryn Gardens, the magnificent Edwardian designed garden in the Vale of Glamorgan; and Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Wales.

Entrants are being asked to submit their garden photos via social media by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #NTWalesGardenProud. At the end of the competition the entries will be added to an online digital archive and published for everyone to enjoy.

Speaking about the launch of the #NTWalesGardenProud competition, Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Wales and one of the judges, commented: “We are proud to be the guardians of such great gardens in Wales as Bodnant and Dyffryn.  And we look after a huge number of outdoor spaces across the nation, including more than 150 miles of Welsh coastline and large swathes of countryside, woodland, rivers and lakes.

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

Bodnant Garden’s famous spring display of rhododendrons

“So, we thought it would be great to find out how Welsh gardeners use and look after their own personal outdoor spaces. It would be wonderful to build up a national picture about what these spaces look like today, and it can be a historical record that future generations can appreciate.  This is a competition that will celebrate the wonderful gardens we have in Wales.”

So whether you are the proud owner of a chic courtyard space, urban rooftop, contained balconette, functioning kitchen garden, woodland wilderness or Zen water garden, National Trust Wales wants to see pictures of your local outdoor spaces.


One of Bodnant Garden’s wildflower meadows

How to enter

Submit your garden photos via social media by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #NTWalesGardenProud.

Alternatively email your entries to gardenproud@workingword.co.uk

Terms and conditions apply. Simply hashtagging #NTWalesGardenProud does not constitute entry. Maximum ten entries per garden. Entries close at midnight on Friday May 8th 2015.

The prize

One lucky winner will have the chance for their garden to receive the full National Trust treatment for one weekend, and much more.

  • A National Trust plaque declaring the garden as the winner of the #NTWalesGardenProud competition
  • A winner’s garden cream tea for the winner and their family and friends
  • Invitation designed for the occasion
  • Branded National Trust deckchairs
  • Annual National Trust visitor pass (for 12 months)
  • An exclusive half day consultation with a National Trust Wales gardener
  • An exclusive photo feature of the winning garden will appear in the Western Mail Weekend Homes supplement
The Lily Terrace

The famous terraces at Bodnant Garden