portmeirion, gwynedd, LL48 6ET. Tel: 01766 770000
Portmeirion is as much about the gardens as it is about Clough William-Ellis’ Italianate architecture. Or cult ‘60s TV show The Prisoner, for that matter. The village was opened in 1926, but the gardens are much older than this. In fact, conifers, Wellingtonia and Himalayan Firs from the mid-1800s are still here. The gardens have been added to since, and now enjoy a cult following all of their own. Y Gwyllt, meaning ‘the wild’, has an unusually warm climate, which means species like Gunnera manicata (usually found in the Brazilian rainforest) and tender scented Rhododendrons (usually found in conservatories) are going wild. Along with probably the largest willow-like Maytenus boaria in the UK.
plas tan y bwlch
maentwrog, gwynedd, LL41 3YU. tel: 01766 772600
You’d expect the gardens of the Snowdonia National Park Environmental Studies Centre to be something special. And they are. The 18th century mansion and gardens fell into the hands of the National Park Authority in the 1960s. Today, it’s one of only 2 such centres in the UK. Not your average study centre, Plas Tan y Bwlch. You don’t have to be a student at the Centre to enjoy the 13 acre gardens, either. They’re open to everyone. The higher parts of the gardens have formal terraces and a water garden, a Japanese garden, rhododendron and azalea walks, a fern nursery and a wildlife garden. With a mix of native and exotic plants, ornamental shrubs and coniferous trees. Some of which were planted in Victorian times. They’re surrounded by oak woodland with views of the valley of the river Dwyryd below. There’s a network of walks and paths through the woodland gardens and semi-wild areas, too. Which, not-surprisingly, are bristling with birds, insects and small mammals.
llanfrothen, gwynedd, LL48 6SW. tel: 07880 766741
Sir Clough William-Ellis inherited the house and gardens in 1908. And when he wasn’t busy at his day job, the project at Plas Brondanw took up all his spare time. “A passion, and obsession if you like” he wrote. At only two acres it’s small. But it’s perfectly formed. Hidden up a single-track lane, it’s like a diminutive private version of Portmeirion. Clipped topiary of box and yew is everywhere. Kept low for regular glimpses of the mountains. Towering Italian cypress divide the sloping garden into a series of rooms. No ostentatious borders here, though. Mostly understated planting of hydrangeas, ferns and the like. With some of Portmeirion’s home-bred rhododendrons. And just like the gardens at his more famous creation, Portmeirion, Plas Brondanw has decorative painted metalwork, ponds and statues. And a folly. Well, did you expect any less? Climb the stairs of the lookout tower for one of the best views around.
Caerau Uchaf Gardens
Caerau Uchaf has the highest private garden open to the pubic in North Wales at over 100ft. The Gardens were started in 1994 and are being added to all of the time. They are the home of Toby and Stephanie Hickish of "Summers Gardens" award winning Garden Designers, always happy to give advice or talk to keen gardeners.
"We have 3 or 4 acres of different gardens, rhododendrons and azaleas, woodland walks and much more. We have a Cafe serving excellent home-made teas and cakes and really good lunches".
Open: from 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week through the season. Please ring if you have any questions.
Tel: 01678 530493
Llanrwst, LL26 0PN. tel: 01492 641687
The historic gardens at Gwydir Castle are amongst the very few in Wales accorded Grade 1 listed status. They represent an important example of the formal Renaissance garden of the Tudor and Stuart periods, with later overlays and plantings from the nineteenth century. As well as two fine 16th century garden arches and associated walls and terraces, there are many fine early trees, including fourteen pre-1700 yews and three surviving Cedars of Lebanon from the original twelve said to have been planted in honour of King Charles I's wedding to the French Princess, Henrietta Maria in 1625.
The Old Dutch Garden is famous for its yew avenue of 22 huge yew trees, while the Knot Garden, in the Courtyard, was laid out in 1828 by Sir Charles Barry, the famous architect, in the form of a Tudor Rose.
The fine wisteria, which adorns the Hall Range was planted in 1828, the same year that peacocks are claimed to have been introduced to the gardens. Gwydir's sweeping views and formal vistas make it one of the most romantic gardens in Wales.
Group discount 10% groups over 30+. Closed occasionally on Saturdays for weddings - please phone for details. Limited openings at other times.
bodelwyddan, denbighshire, LL18 5YA. tel: 01745 584060
Bodelwyddan Castle is set in 260 acres of parkland and formal garden originally designed by Thomas Mawson in 1910. The garden wall was built in the 1830's and was heated to encourage the growth of fruit trees. The grounds include formal gardens, woodland walks, historical sites and even a maze to negotiate.
Within the grounds is a reminder of the Great War years. Training was done here during the First World War (1914-1918) helping to prepare newly recruited soldiers many of whom had never considered the intricacies of "modern" warfare.
chapel house exotics
Village Road, Northop Hall, Flintshire CH7 6HS. tel: 07840 868271
Hot plants for cool climates. Many plants to choose from: Hedychiums, Cannas, Bananas, Bamboos and Brugmansias and many other exciting exotic, architectural and tropical looking plants.
Mail order also available - see website for details
Open to the public on Saurdays and some Sundays - please ring to check.
tal y bryn
Llannefydd, Denbighshire. tel: 01745 540208
Terraces, fountains and colourful arches nestle in the shelter provided by a row of Golden Leylandii at Tal y Bryn. The terraced borders are full of herbacious plants; scabiosa, rudbeckia, salvia, phlox delphinium and pyrethium. Close by a sunken garden paved in old flag gives the garden an italianated feeling enhanced by lupins and geraniums.
loggerheads country park
Alyn Valley, 4 miles west of Mold tel: 01352 810614
The Loggerheads area is one of "Wales' Best Kept Secrets" surrounded by the Clwydian Range of hills. The country park has 80 acres of tree lined limestone valley with heather moorland, wild plants and riverside walks.
The Great Orme, Happy Valley Road, Llandudno LL30 2QL
The Happy Valley is a beautiful tiered garden with many rare tropical plants and spectacular views. It is nestled in a sheltered hollow on the eastern side of the Great Orme. Listed by CADW as a public park it was dedicated to the town of Llandudno by Lord Mostyn in 1887. The lower slopes of the park consists manly of informal gardens.
Llandudno LL30 1RS. tel: 01492 584466
The gardens at Bodysgallen are situated on high ground on a peninsular facing south with a series of descending terraces which have been carved out of the hillside.
The garden is well known for its 17th century boxed hedge parterre which is colourfully planted with herbs. The lower gardens are surrounded by high stone walls, the largest of which has a rose garden with a courtyard and lilly pond at its upper level.
Open: hotel visitors only including those who want high tea!
Please ring before travelling far.
the garden house
Erbistock, Wrexham LL13 0DL. tel: 01978 781149
The 5 acres of garden at The Garden House overlook the Welsh river Dee. The main features include shrub and herbaceous planting. A long rose avenue underplanted with Hydrangeas crosses the gardens leading to Sculpture garden, Parterre, large Lily pond and secret garden.
RHS free access Mon - Wed
Groups and coaches welcome by appointment.
Rhuddlan, Denbighshire LL18 5SB. tel: 01745 590414
The historic gardens include a formal Victorian parterre designed by W.A Nesfield. The parterre and the avenue, the Pleasance and the Dingle cover approximatley 8 acres. The parterre is re-planted every summer and is at its best in July.
Open: Tues and Thurs 2pm - 5.30pm. Also open other times by appointment for parties over 30.
centre for alternative technology
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ. tel: 01654 705950
Not really calssed as a garden but many gardners will find something of interest here. There are extensive and very different gardens to walk around, growing everything from artichokes to azaleas and using a variety of organic methods. You can find out about permaculture and organic growing, composting and pest control, and you can even buy some of the plants.
Open: 7 days a week except Christmas and New Year.
10am - 5pm (10am - 4pm in winter).
anglesey model village and gardens
Newborough, Anglesey LL61 6RS. tel: 01248 44047
Set in an acre of landscaped gardens with water features and a range of plants and trees, in a position overlooking the Menai Strait to Snowdonia. The gardens are dotted with models of Anglesey landmarks.
Open: early Easter - end October.
Model village closes after the Easter school hols until the end of April.
Closed from mid Sep - re-open for the Oct half term
plas cadnant gardens
Group visits are available by prior appointment from April to the end of September (minimum 20 people).
Every Wednesday afternoon in July and August at 2pm prompt we are again having GUIDED PREVIEW TOURS at PLAS CADNANT GARDEN. The cost includes a guided tour and light refreshments. The garden is situated between Menai and Beaumaris. Visitors are advised to allow approximately 2 hours for the tour. Pre Booking is Essential.