Historic Gardens in Wales - A Top Five selection
The National Botanic Garden near Carmarthen is an unbelievable range of gardens; it is however, a very recent creation and the following is our selection of the top five historic gardens for Wales Holidays cottage visitors. Created by five generations of one family, the 80 acre Bodnant Garden, with plants from all over the world, is superbly located to the south of Conwy. From expansive lawns to intimate corners and an impressive terrace to a steep wooded valley, Bodnant is full of contrasts - including a 60 yard long enclosed laburnum arch and giant redwood trees. One visit provided a rather different sight - the gift shop has a full length mirror to assist visitors trying on a range of outdoor clothing but it was being used by a peacock to admire itself displaying its tail feathers!
In Mid Wales near Welshpool, the garden of Powys Castle is often described as one of the greatest surviving examples of Baroque garden design in Britain. With a 30ft high yew hedge sheltering rare and tender plants, the garden has a theatrical mix of dramatic terraces, sophisticated flower borders, fantastical topiary and superb views. There is also informal woodland and a deer park; in autumn, the tranquillity may be broken by the sound of the stags locking antlers as they battle over the females.
Still in Mid Wales but near the coast to the east of New Quay, the 18th-century minor gentry’s estate of Llanerchaeron has walled gardens with dozens of veteran fruit trees; some were planted in the early 19th century. Also there are traditional vegetable and herbaceous flower beds - open the door and step inside the garden of self-sufficient estate that has survived virtually unaltered as it was never modernised.
After attending an open air concert some years ago by Kathleen Jenkins at Aberglasney Gardens, this has to be a top five selection - but even without Wales' favourite mezzo-soprano, these gardens are a worthy inclusion! Located to the west of Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney has been an inspiration to poets since 1477. The parapet walkway is a unique survivor of a style of garden architecture that is now found only in records of lost gardens; the Cloister garden dates from the late Tudor and early Stewart era and the Yew Tunnel is thought to have been planted during the 18th century and is possibly unique in the UK.
Picton is the setting for extensive woodland gardens in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Close to the Cleddau Estuary and surrounding a13th century castle, Picton has an enchanting walled garden with a fountain, formal borders, a maze, a large herb collection and some of the largest and oldest trees in West Wales. See Wales Holidays ‘Castles and Gardens’ pages for more information about these and other gardens.