Spectacularly set in the beautiful Tywi valley of Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney House features one of the finest gardens in Wales. Aberglasney Gardens have been an inspiration to poets since 1477. The story of Aberglasney spans many centuries, but, the house's origins are still shrouded in obscurity.
The gardens contain extensive plant collections of the rare and unusual making it a plantsmans preference. Formal walled gardens are neighboured by naturalistic woodlands of native and exotic plants. Kitchen gardens pool garden, herbaceous borders, parterres, ancient Yew Tunnel and the award winning Ninfarium provide a wide range of interest throughout the year.
Bodnant was bought in 1874 and laid out in stages by Henry Davis Pochin and subsequent generations of his family, to a distinct ideal consistently pursued in search of their version of perfection. It has developed into a garden of extraordinary richness that has everything, yet seems to hold it all in balance. Its scale and careful pacing make it appear effortlessly harmonious.
Standing chiefly on a slope facing to the west, the setting is extraordinarily beautiful with mesmerising views through the planted profusion to theConwayvalley and Snowdonia beyond. Below that slope is a pleasant little valley where the river Hiraethlyn runs, chattering and splashing its way down to theConwayRiver. Here and there little streams gush out of the sides of the rocky gorge contributing to the general sound of water passing over rocks.
Sprinkled through the native trees and conifers planted by Pochin are Himalayan and Chinese Rhododendrons in abundance. Plant introductions, especially Rhododendrons, and the subsequent evaluation, selection and breeding are a large part of Bodnant’s raison d’etre. Without this lifeblood the gardens character would wither and die.
A product of successive generations, the garden as it exists today is mostly the creation of Henry McLaren, the eldest son of Laura, the first Lady Aberconway. Henry was an extremely energetic gardener and enthusiastic in all his horticultural activities. With encouragement from his mother, who always approved of change, Henry was entrusted with the care of the garden and continued to develop it over a period of fifty years, until his death in 1953. Whereupon his eldest son Charles McLaren, the third Lord Aberconway inherited the estate and continued to care and develop it for a further 50 years.
Henry’s finest achievement was the construction of a series of stone terraces that march grandly downhill from the house. Though a great plantsman, the first thing Henry devoted most attention to and what he regarded as important firstly, secondly and thirdly was design, design came first.
Much of Bodnant’s beauty lies in the different garden styles that flow harmoniously one after the other. There is immense contrast between the terraces, of formal design, embellished with garden buildings and flower borders and the dell where apart from a little formal touch here and there, inviting winding walks meander through numerous informal delights.
Roath Park, opened in 1894, is Cardiff's most popular public park
The park comprises the Wild garden, a 12 hectare lake, Botanic Garden with its tree and shrub collection, playground and Conservatory, Pleasure Garden, with bowls, tennis and basketball and sports pitches and a second children's playground and trim trail at Roath Recreation Ground.
This was Cardiff's first public park and it continues to adapt and evolve. It has held a Green Flag park since 2002 and has a newly formed Friends Group supporting ongoing restoration and development of the site.
Bute Park is a 56 hectare historic park in the city centre and has held a Green Flag since 2008.
Established in the 1870s as the Castle pleasure grounds, Bute Park has been a public park since 1947. It contains an Arboretum, herbaceous border, the historic Blackfriars site, sports grounds and extensive woodlands and is home to the annual RHS Flower show and the Council's plant nursery. A Friends group was set up in 2011.
A £5.6 million project is underway to restore the historic landscape and features, with £3.1 million support from HLF.
Both parks are Grade 1 on the Cadw Register of Historic Parks and Gardens in Wales.
Dyffryn is an outstanding Grade 1 registered garden featuring a stunning collection of intimate garden roooms, formal lawns, seasonal bedding, a statuary collection and much more. The gardens also boast an extensive Arboretum featuring trees from all over the world, Dyffryn is truly a garden for all seasons.
One of the most enchanting features of the gardens is a series of intimate outdoor rooms, many of which are beautifully framed by clipped yew hedges. This is a typical Edwardian feature and is part of the Arts and Craft movement in garden design.
Thomas Mawson was known for this type of design and in turn was sought by many owners wishing to have fine examples for themselves. Mawson's work is epitomized in his book ' The Art and Craft of Garden Making' first published in the early 1900's and in which Dyffryn appears in the 5th edition, 1926.
All the garden rooms have undergone restoration over the last decade, with further planting of the botanical collections planned for the next decade.
Belle Vue Park, Newport
A century after it opened, Belle Vue Park was in urgent need of restoration.
In 1996 CADW bestowed Grade II listed status on the pavilion, conservatories and terracing. In 2000 they extended this to the gates, gate piers, lodges and rustic tea house.
In 1997 Newport County Borough Council commissioned consultants to submit restoration proposals to the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2002 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £1.5 million towards the restoration of Belle Vue Park.
Restoration commenced in May 2003 and sought to retain and enhance the original character and features of the park whilst respecting Thomas Mawson’s original design.
The restored pavilion and conservatories were formally opened on 8th September 2006.
The park now hosts a regular programme of events including concerts, guided walks, and curricula linked activities for local schools. The pavilion and conservatories provide a venue for community learning classes, talks, exhibitions, meetings, business seminars, and wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.
Other works completed include the restoration of the park gates; planting of the new Friary Garden; replacement tree planting; replanting of the cascade area; the installation of new park furniture; restoration of the terrace; installation of a replacement fountain; and the remodeling of the car park.
Picton Castle is set in the heart of the beautiful Pembrokeshire landscape and is surrounded by forty acres of long established gardens. Much of this is mature woodland that is home to a large collection of woodland plants from around the world including a large number of Rhododendrons, myrtle, Magnolia and rare conifer species. These have been sensitively planted to create one of the finest woodland gardens inWales. There are extensive lawns surrounding the castle. In the walled garden there is an eclectic range of herbaceous perennials, a herb garden, rose borders and a Mediterranean garden. OurJungleGardenand Play Area is full of exotic leafy plants.
We are continually developing and have recently planted a large area of Hydrangeas edged by woodland perennials. In our small nursery we grow unusual plants for the garden and for sale to our visitors. The Gardens are run by a small team and trainees would have the opportunity to be involved in every part of the maintenance and development of the garden.
St Fagans: National History Museum is one of Europe's leading open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth.
From the formal gardens of the upper classes to the cottage gardens that provided food for working families, the gardens are perhaps the best-kept secret at St Fagans, but provide a real insight into the lives of Welsh people throughout history.
The gardens complement the Museum's historic buildings in their interpretation of the past, with teams of garden conservators and gardeners being responsible for developing and maintaining them. Each garden on the 40 hectare site, from the designed Rosery to the smallest informal cottage garden, is an integral part of the Museum's collections, and has its own story to tell.
The formal late Victorian/ Edwardian gardens surrounding St Fagans Castle were once the sanctuary of the Earl of Plymouth and his family, who used the house as their summer home. Approached from the village via a pleached lime avenue, the gardens include the exquisite Rosery, the Flower, the Italian and the elegant Dutch Gardens and castle terraces overlooking the mediaeval fishponds.
The domestic gardens around the re-erected houses on site echo domestic horticultural development from the 16th century to the present day. These gardens reflect the social status of the buildings' inhabitants, with historically-correct plants and gardening techniques outside, echoing the furnishings inside, from the age and original locality of the buildings to which they belong.
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