Take a walk in our Winter Wonderland

Bodnant Garden January 2015 Web Size - Joe Wainwright-40We hope you’ve all had a great Christmas Day…maybe you’re getting ready for round two today?! By tomorrow many of us will be in need of a good walk and some fresh air. Well it so happens we have the perfect solution for you…get yourselves down to our Winter Garden.

Bodnant’s Winter Garden is now three years old. Four years in the planning and two years in the making, it opened in New Year 2013 and is coming on in leaps and bounds. Plants have bulked up and filled out, now putting on a wonderfully colourful display of leaves, flowers, bark – and scent too. And for those of you who don’t want to walk too far after the festivities, it’s all in the upper garden!

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The site of our Winter Garden was a former Edwardian rockery which for many years had been a densely overgrown forest of azaleas and rhododendrons, closed to the public. The renovation cost £35,000 and the garden attracted 10,000 visitors in its opening three months. It was so popular that, instead of closing it to the public in March as originally planned, we kept the ropes down all year.

In redesigning the area our former head gardener Troy Smith made the most of the light, which at midday shines from the south across the Old Park backlighting the plants.  The design of the garden followed the former layout of stone beds, but paths have been slightly altered to give a more sinuous sweep.

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Existing Lawson Cypress were retained to give structure to the planting scheme, as were many of the old shrubs such as rhododendrons, garrya, camellia and the stunningly gnarled old Acer palmatum. Other taller structural plants were added such as the white birches Betula utlis and the silky red cherry Prunus serrula.

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Forming the middle level are shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne and sarcococca for scent, viburnum and camellia for flower, cornus and rubus for stems and skimmia for berries. A lower layer of small shrubs and herbaceous plants include red leaved bergenia and pittosporum, arching grasses and ferns, heathers and hellebores, with a colourful underplanting of bulbs such as snowdrops, iris, cyclamen and crocus.

Here’s a little gallery of pictures to tempt you. If you can’t make it in person we hope you’ll curl up on the sofa and enjoy them (along with that other mince pie). If you’re feeling more energetic there’s the rest of Bodnant Garden to explore, including our new area The Far End which is open to the public for the first time in winter.

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The garden opens again on December 27. 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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Bring out the bubbly! Bodnant Garden makes history with 200,000 visitors

The team at Bodnant Garden downed tools recently to welcome our 200,000th visitor this year, who was greeted at the gates by staff and volunteers bearing bubbly and cake.

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Staff and volunteers greet the 200,000 visitors to Bodnant Garden – Simon, Samantha and Emily Hardman

We reached this milestone in a blaze of autumn colour, months ahead of target. It’s the first time in the garden’s 140-year history that visitor numbers have reached this level.

The lucky guests were Samantha and Simon Hardman, and their baby daughter Emily from Sheffield, for whom it was their first visit.

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They said: “We came here to Bodnant Garden on a relative’s recommendation. We were expecting a beautiful garden, but we were definitely not anticipating the shower of confetti, the huge cake, the bubbly and the crowd of staff, volunteers and visitors that greeted our arrival! This was our first ever visit to Bodnant Garden, but it won’t be our last – the garden is absolutely magnificent, and the autumn colours are stunning. We will be back, and we’ll be recommending it to all our friends.”

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The garden has attracted around 180,000 visitors per year for some years but visitor numbers have been steadily rising since 2013 with the opening of new areas – the Winter Garden, Old Park meadow, Yew Dell and Far End – and new initiatives like dog days, garden events and family activities.

General manager William Greenwood says: “It’s an absolutely amazing achievement and a stunning tribute to so much hard work and dedication in all weathers from our hardworking staff and volunteer team. I can’t thank enough every single one of them.

“I find it difficult to grasp just how many visitors 200,000 really is. Apparently we’d have to empty the Millennium Stadium over 2½ times, and then we’d need 3,175 double decker buses just to bring them all here!”

It’s been a proud moment for everyone at the garden, staff and volunteers, from the gardens to the tearooms and offices:

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Ann Smith, Visitor Services Manager

“Having worked at the garden for many years I’ve been privileged to see all the changes and developments as they’ve happened. I’m full of admiration for our gardeners who passionately and creatively work in harmony with nature and often have to battle with the elements. I’ve seen their sorrow when they’ve had to take down a very old tree which has come to the end of its life; their stoicism as they’ve tackled the devastating damage caused by floods and high winds, and their joy when a new area they’ve worked so hard to restore is finally opened to visitors.

“But what I’m most proud of is the commitment and enthusiasm of all staff and volunteers to sharing their love of the garden with visitors, ensuring that they have a fantastic time here, that they come back again and again, and that they become ambassadors for Bodnant Garden.  And, clearly it works – reaching this amazing milestone of our 200,000th visitor in under a year is a tangible testament to the dedication and success of the team at Bodnant Garden.”

Gardener working in August at Bodnant Garden, Conwy, Wales.

Mark Morris, gardener

Mark has been working at Bodnant Garden for around 30 years, man and boy, and is font of all knowledge for everyone on the garden team.

He says: I’ve been lucky enough to work with both the third Lord Aberconway and with head gardener Martin Puddle in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then we welcomed around 140,000 visitors a year – we thought that was a lot of people! But Bodnant is a large garden with so many different areas for people to explore and it never feels crowded.

“There have been massive changes in that time, the garden has completely changed – new areas have opened up and the planting which used to be more conservative is now more contemporary – but to me it is equally as magical now as it has always been. This place is who I am. It’s just really pleasing to know more people are now enjoying and appreciating this special place.”

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Visitor Services Volunteer Richard Berry

Richard helps meet and greet visitors and organise a whole range of events in the garden. Over the past two years he and fellow ‘Voles’ have been the brains and the brawn behind transforming part of the Old Mill in the Dell into a hub for visitors, including an Elves Workshop in winter. He says: “I love my role as a volunteer working alongside my colleagues in our varied activities and now seeing another achievement in having our 200,000 visitor this year. Another highlight has been to help clean out part of the Old Mill which is now used for family activities and garden presentations.”  

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Student gardener Jess Mehers

Jess has been at Bodnant Garden for the past year training with the Heritage Horticulture Skills Scheme. She and fellow trainee Jaette Nielson have redesigned and replanted the Vanessa Bed on the Top Lawn, which was decimated by an oak tree which fell in storms of 2013.

Jess says: It’s been such an exciting time to be at Bodnant Garden with new areas opening and new projects going on. It’s been wonderful to work alongside such a vibrant team of skilled gardeners, staff and volunteers, and I’ve loved meeting all the visitors. It’s particularly special to be here for the 200,000th visitor. That’s quite an achievement.”

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John Baxendale, Visitor reception assistant

John is one of the team at the ‘frontline’ who welcomes visitors at reception and has been here for around four years. He says: It’s wonderful news to reach 200,000 visitors – we’re just glad they don’t all come on the same day! I get to meet people from all four corners of the world – in many different languages which makes for interesting scenarios! There’s never a dull moment. People are always just amazed by this internationally acclaimed garden. I wouldn’t be here unless I loved it. And I really do love it.”

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Michael McLaren, Garden Director

Michael McLaren, of the donor family, said: “I am delighted that this month Bodnant will be welcoming its 200,000th visitor – the first time ever that we have had more than 200,000 visitors in one year. My grandfather, Henry 2nd Lord Aberconway, who gave the garden to the National Trust in 1949 and who more than anyone else was responsible for the creation of the garden, loved seeing visitors appreciating the beauty of the garden and learning about horticulture and garden design. He too would have been thrilled to see this record broken…and with the prospect of further milestones being passed before the end of the year.

“Huge thanks from me and all the donor family to the staff and volunteers who have made this great achievement possible, and particularly to the gardeners for ensuring that the garden looks better than ever.”

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Helen MacDonald, tearoom assistant

Helen has worked here for three years, also on the frontline making sure visitors get that leisurely lunch in the bustling tearooms or much-needed snack in the new al-fresco kiosks down in The Dell and Far End.

She says: “It’s a beautiful place to work and I feel very lucky. It gets busy in summer mind you, but I like that. I enjoy meeting all the different people who come in, from all over the world, and having a chat. Some more familiar faces come regularly and pop in to say hello which is nice. 200,000 visitors is quite something.The gardeners do a wonderful job and that’s what people come to see, it’s a real credit to them.”

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John Rippin, Head Gardener

John joined the team in January this year, coming from Castle Drogo in Devon, another National Trust property.

He says: “The rich gardening tradition at Bodnant stretches far back into history. When the Statue of Liberty was being dedicated the first giant redwoods were being planted in The Dell.  Despite many triumphs and tragedies including two apocalyptic 20th Century world wars that changed the economic and social landscape of this nation, the celebrated team of Bodnant gardeners here have always continued with what gardeners do best – getting on with what they know and love.

“The spirit of resilience and pride continues with the present Bodnant Garden Team and has seen them through their own share of challenges that a garden of this size and significance will always encounter. After years of hard work, change and periods of uncertainty however, the taste of success is always sweeter and more satisfying than if there had been no struggle.

“I believe the 200,000th visitor marks and important moment in time for the team at Bodnant Garden; it says categorically that the dedication and painstaking attention to detail of the garden team employs in their every-day work is greatly appreciated. Perhaps more importantly it says that the ongoing creative revitalisation of the garden and the opening of new areas has been hugely successful with our visitors and is a winning formula we can all celebrate.

“I’m glad that Bodnant gardeners have been able to step away from their beautiful borders, streams and glades today to take part in the occasion and albeit briefly to reflect on the magnitude of the moment with a renewed sense of satisfaction of a job well done.”

Justin_Albert_webJustin Albert, National Trust Director for Wales

“Quite simply Bodnant Garden is paradise on Earth.  Sublime, restful and inventive twelve months a year it has earnt its place as one of the very best of the world’s gardens.”

“I want to thank the McLaren family not just for the wonderful gift to the nation of Bodnant Garden, a masterpiece they created and nurtured, but also for continuing inspiration and vision that their close involvement brings to its success. 200,000 visitors is a genuine milestone, and I am so proud that we have achieved it without losing the essential tranquillity and wonder of the Bodnant Garden experience.”

“As Director for Wales I am not allowed to have a favourite place, but for me Bodnant represents the very best that the Trust has to offer. A great beauty, a long history of invention, partnership with the family that gave us the garden and most of all extraordinary staff and volunteers who deliver great experiences to everyone who visits.”

“I challenge anyone not to fall in love with Bodnant Garden, well done to all the staff and volunteers on reaching this historic milestone, and most importantly giving so many people such wonderful experiences in the Welsh paradise.”

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General manager William, left, with staff Charlie, Adam, Fran and Rose.

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.

Extending our welcome to dog walkers

Dog walkers…are you sitting to attention? Our summer season of Dogs Welcome may have closed for now but we’ve got good news – we’re extending the welcome in 2016.

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Evie – thanks owner Dan Struthers

Winter Dogs Welcome starts again in November, when the garden is open to pooches on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until the end of the year. From January 2016 the garden will be open every day to dogs (and their owners of course) until the end of February. Going forward, every-day winter entry for dogs will continue each year from November to February.

In summer we’ll continue our special Wag Wednesday, when the garden is open to dog walkers on Wednesday late night openings, 5-8pm, from May to the end of August.

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Since we first began Dogs Welcome in 2013 we’ve seen a steady growth in the number of people bringing their pets to the garden. From several hundred dogs through the gates in the trial year of 2013, we had 1,025 dog visitors from March to March 2014/15.

It has proved especially popular through the winter months, traditionally our quieter period. From talking to visitors, and from comment cards and posts to social media, it seems that winter access is appreciated by local NT members and people living nearby.

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One dog getting a selfie at the Laburnum Arch

Our summer Wednesday evenings is gaining fans too, with holiday makers and people visiting after work for their evening walkies – the numbers of dog visitors rising from 395 May to August 2014 to 473 this summer (and still counting).

We appreciate that not all people are dog lovers! Which is why we limit access times to the garden to make it enjoyable for everyone, and with 80 acres of garden, including new areas like the Far End opening, there is lots of space for all to enjoy. To date there have been very few reported problems of noise, mess, or bad behaviour (human or canine) so this policy seems to be working.

So dog owners…at the risk of getting all Barbara Woodhouse on you… all we ask is that you use a short lead (not extendable), keep to the paths, deposit any dog mess in the bins provided and in the summer please, please do not leave dogs in hot cars in the car park. Enjoy!

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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Bailey – thanks owner Julia Pigula

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.

 

 

Fanfare for the Far End

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The Far End is now officially yours folks – open to the public after 140 years. After all the hard work, worry and a decidedly dodgy weather forecast we had a grand opening day. Hearts sank in the morning when we woke up to gale force winds and driving rain…but somehow, miraculously, as 10am drew nearer the wind abated, the rain dried up, the sun broke through the clouds and delivered a perfect blue sky day (well, at least until late afternoon, for the hours that mattered!)

Perhaps the garden’s Victorian founder Henry Pochin was smiling down on us, but it was a fitting tribute to the hours, months, years of work by gardeners and volunteers which has gone in to renovating this area ready for this day.

Visitors assembled by the new bridge at 12 noon where Michael McLaren from the donor family spoke movingly about the history of the area, and how delighted his father and grandfather would be at people now being able to enjoy it. Our guest, TV gardener Christine Walkden, then gave her own passionate few words about the Bodnant Garden she knows and loves, and cut the ribbon with garden shears – succeeding after three attempts (yes, they were sharp…and we rehearsed…but hey, best laid plans.)

There was even cake. Alex, one of the Dell team of gardeners who has worked so hard on The Far End, and who came in on her birthday for the opening, was surprised by a truly giant sponge, which was shared out among the visitors. That left visitors to enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring this wonderful new area – here’s a taste:

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Before opening, our volunteers ready for duty

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Ducks enjoying the lake to themselves for the last time!

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The first people to arrive at The Far End were Sandra and Margaret Qualters. They had come from Ashton-under-Lyne for the opening and said they had been looking forward to it for months. Behind them came a steady stream of visitors.

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Michael McLaren and Christine Walkden performing the opening

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Third time lucky for the ribbon, and Alex with her birthday cake

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Christine Walkden with Michael and Caroline McLaren

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Coracle making, and sailing (head gardener John demonstrating!)

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Lunch around the brazier, Christine with volunteers Sally and Phyllis

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Music for all tastes! A harpist and Morris Dancers 

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New head gardener John and his family enjoying the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last word goes to visitors Dorothy and Brian Thompson, from Rhos on Sea, regulars to Bodnant who said it was absolutely thrilling to be able to enjoy this magical new area of garden. Thanks to them and everyone who came on Saturday – staff, volunteers, visitors, guests and performers – for making this historic day such an occasion.

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

The Far End – it’s getting closer!

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On March 28, after years of renovation work, we’re opening up a new area to the public and it’s all hands to the pump right now as we make the final push before opening day.

The Far End is ten acres of tranquil riverside. Some of you might have seen it in our Secret Bodnant walks last year exploring private areas of the garden, but until now most visitors have not been able to walk further than the famous Waterfall Bridge in The Dell. Soon everyone can explore what lies beyond…waterside walks, a Skating Pond, boathouse and arboretum.

Horticulturalist and broadcaster Christine Walkden will perform the official opening at a special day of celebration on Saturday, March 28. That day we’ll also have harp music in the boat house, demonstrations of coracle making on the lakeside, country dancing, guided walks, a nature trail for children and refreshments.

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 Then and now, the Skating Pond in the Far End

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The Far End is quite different in character to other parts of the garden – unlike the formal Italianate Terraces or the dramatic Dell with its rushing river and waterfall – here the paths lead visitors to a small lake which is quiet, peaceful and full of wildlife.

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 The smaller Otter Pond

It is one of the oldest parts of the garden, originally laid out by Bodnant’s creator Henry Pochin from the 1870s who envisaged it as The Wild Garden in the style of Victorian garden designer William Robinson. Pochin began by creating paths along the riverside and planting conifers, some of which are now Champion Trees. Pochin’s daughter Laura and grandson Henry McLaren laid out the large Skating Pond and Boat House and continued planting trees and shrubs from all around the world.

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The original thatched Boat House, which has now been restored

The area was never opened to the public but over the last few years gardeners have been renovating banks, beds and paths, creating a new circular walkway and bridge which will give visitors an easy access, level route around this beautiful part of the garden. The work hasn’t been without setbacks. In November 2011 flooding devastated the area, washing away new plantings, damaging paths and leaving a trail of debris…but the next day garden supervisor Maxine Singleton and her team were clearing up and starting again.

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Supervisor Maxine with gardeners Steve and Fiona

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Steve and Alex doing some aquatic gardening

Now, three years on, the Far End has been rejuvinated and is ready to open, though renovation and replanting work will be ongoing. Christine Walkden, a horticulturalist well known for her TV and radio work – and friend and fan of Bodnant Garden – will cut a ribbon officially opening the area at 12 noon. It’s a historic event for Bodnant so be among the first to see this secret garden unveiled!

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Christine Walkden with staff and volunteers at the garden last year

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

What a difference two years have made to our Winter Garden

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Our Winter Garden is now two years old – it opened to the public in New Year 2013 and is already putting on an amazing show.

It’s come a long way in that short time. New plants have bulked up, bulbs have spread and while there are still tweaks to be made and gaps to be filled the riot of colours, shapes, textures and scents on display should inspire anyone looking out on their own back gardens right now.

Our winter garden was four years in the planning and two years in the making. At a cost of £35,000, it has been a major investment but is already paying off; it attracted 10,000 visitors in its opening three months and was so popular that, instead of closing the area to the public in March as originally planned, we have kept the ropes down all year.

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 The garden team launching the Winter Garden in January 2013 

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The area lies at the south-east fringes of The Terraces. It is believed to have been an Edwardian rockery but in recent memory it had become a densely overgrown forest of azaleas and rhododendrons which remained closed to the public, as seen in this old photo below. In the course of renovation work, shrubs were cut hard back and some removed, revealing the remains of alpine plants and stone beds.

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In redesigning the area former head gardener Troy Smith retained the tall Lawson Cypress to give structure and height to the planting scheme. Many of the old shrubs such as rhododendrons and camellia were retained while some others like struggling and overgrown were azaleas cut back.  Other taller plants were added such as the the white birches Betula utlis and the silky red cherry Prunus serrula, for their stunning coloured bark.

Forming the middle level of the planting scheme are shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne and sarcococca for scent, viburnum and camellia for flower, cornus and rubus for glowing stems and skimmia for berries. Below this was added a lower layer of small shrubs and herbaceous plants including red leaved bergenia and pittosporum, arching grasses and ferns, heathers and hellebores, interplanted with bulbs such as snowdrops, iris, cyclamen and crocus. Where possible we used propagated plants from our own nursery but many were also bought in – in all there are around 350 varieties of plants in the winter garden, and 10,000 new plants in total.

The result has been…well, you can see for yourself in these latest photos, taken for us by local photographer Joe Wainwright…a sight to delight on any winter day:

 

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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

 

 

 

 

Bordering on perfection

There have been changes in the Shrub Borders in recent years and there are more to come. Meet the team who love and care for this serenely beautiful area – by gardener Fran Llewellyn.

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It’s been an old joke here at Bodnant Garden that the Shrub Borders is…well…the bit you go through to get from the Terraces to the Dell! Not because the area has been unloved or uncared for, but it’s fair to say it’s been a little overshadowed by its flashy neighbours in the past.

Literature has traditionally focused on The Terraces, with their Italianate finery, and the grandeur of The Dell, with its towering conifers and waterfall – but through a recent programme of steady renovation the unique, informal and understated charm of the Shrub Borders is being rediscovered. We know this from the delighted comments of returning visitors who pass our way in great numbers.

At Bodnant we are lucky to have three areas with their own distinct character; and if the Terraces offer sophistication and The Dell offers drama, in the Shrub Borders you’ll find tranquility.

The area is brimming with mature and unusual specimen trees and shrubs. In the last four or five years dying, diseased and damaged plants have been removed, some pruned back, some areas redesigned and new herbaceous areas added; views have been unmasked and existing beauty enhanced. bodnant nov12 058Here you’ll find carpets of daffodils and meadow flowers in the grassy Glades, along with mass displays of spring cherry blossom and fiery autumn acers; meandering pathways of dappled shade lined with plants both native and exotic; and architectural surprises around corners such as the Deep Bath, Yew Garden and The Poem.

On the Shrub Borders we are proud of our area and of our team – who are supervisor Bill, gardeners Roger, Graeme, Paul, Katie (and myself), and the volunteers without whom the task of maintaining order would be mammoth. Our work involves a whole range of routine maintenance jobs such as pruning, mowing, weeding and mulching and other not-so-routine roles such as leading guided walks and hands-on gardening events.

To give you a flavour…in the past few weeks we have been doing leaf clearance on an industrial scale, constructing a formidable 250m rabbit fence along our boundary, running snowdrop planting sessions with visitors and next week we will be pulling on the waders and cleaning out the watercourse which runs from top to bottom of the garden. There’s never a dull moment!

One exciting project we have also begun over the winter is the renovation of the Yew Dell at the southern edge of the garden; a lovely secluded, wooded area which will be opened to the public in 2014. Watch this space…

in flower june (2) 084It can be hard work, and the Welsh weather isn’t always on your side, but that’s when the team camaraderie kicks in…that and the songs, and the bad jokes, and most importantly the cakes; savoured with a flask of tea in the Shrub Borders shed at break time as we all sit, wet and gently steaming in front of the gas heater, before setting off again with the motto ‘Push on for Bodnant’.

The hard work is all worth is when the sun streams through the trees again and you see visitors strolling contentedly through our borders – doing a double take at the electric blue Hydrangea ‘Renate Steiniger’ (the best blue in the garden), looking skywards for the handkerchiefs of the Davidia involucrata tree, or stopping in their tracks to take in the candyfloss scent of the Cercidiphyllum japonicum and beaming great fat smiles.

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Come rain or shine…the Shrub Borders team

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The native and the exotic in perfect harmony in the Shrub Borders: South American Embothrium, Asian Magnolia, British Daffodils… and that stunning Hydrangea