Friday, May 11, 2012

Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Gardens has got to be one of the most impressive places I have seen. In northern Wales, this 80 acre garden is an amazing collection of plants, with an astounding variety of trees and shrubs. The upper section of the garden surrounding the house is more formal, with terraces, covered walls, long views, stately trees, and decorative perennial beds. The lower part is called the Dell and is packed with plant material- it feels like a large, wild park with a crazy assortment of extremely large trees, including US native giants like sequoia and redwood. It is a magical place, seemingly never ending, and a good place to lose track of time.

Asphodeline lutea just coming into flower in the entrance beds. I love the wavy, grassy look against that big, gangly tree hovering in the background.

Holboellia coriacea
It is always exciting to find something you are pretty sure you have never seen before, like this crazy climbing vine. It is called sausage vine or china blue vine and is noted for being hardy to Zone 9. However, it looks like there are a few reported instances where it has survived colder climates- case in point, northern Wales. It is a very slow grower, likes a protected space, and by the looks of it, long lived; this specimen has been growing contently here at Bodnant for a few generations!

 Lewisia 'Ashwood Hybrids' hanging vertically in the cracks in the wall.

Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin' pruned flat against one of the many walls. A very unique way to use (and control) Photinia.

I was pretty captivated by this scene, coming down a grand stone stairway and into the dusky shade of this enormous, old tree.

Dramatic light as the day heads towards evening..

I think this was my favorite part of the garden. It was much less formal than the rest of the landscape and was comprised of some of my favorite plants, including an array of Euphorbias, an unusual Hellebore, grasses and one very large Phlomis fruiticosa. It had a Mediterranean feeling and was a bit more unkempt and weedy- I liked it.

An amazing Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' emerging in a sea of Anemone nemerosa, with a backdrop of early chartreuse Crocosmia leaves and tufts of Stipa-like grass- all standing strong against the black-green of the yew hedge. Heaven!

The lush and wild Dell

Upper meadows aflush in daffodils


  1. Gordon and Mary Haywood recommended your blog recently, when they were staying with me in Montreal. I enjoyed today's post on Bodnant and will read others as time permits. I am heading for England on Wednesday, visiting gardens for several weeks. I won't get to Wales, though, so I'll have to save Bodnant for another time.

  2. Thanks for reading- I appreciate it! Have a wonderful time in England. I have never been this time of year, I hear it is pretty spectacular!

  3. Beautiful. It looks like a wonderful garden to really experience & especially at a slow pace. I totally agree- the whole planting with the E. 'Fireglow' and Crocosmia is just enchanting. Thanks for the views!