Public gardens hire full-time gardeners to plan, plant and care for the land; spending a day in one of these places is a great way of discovering new tricks for your own garden. Unless they’re especially busy, gardeners will usually find time to chat to visitors, so don’t feel shy about asking them questions about certain plants or growing techniques.
There are plenty of horticultural things in North Wales, but these take the biscuit for beauty, variety and style:
The grounds at Bodnant are some of the most picturesque in the country and are backed up by over a century of rich horticultural history. The McLaren family have been key in the development of these gardens since their inception in the 19th century. Each generation of the McLarens have contributed to the success of Bodnant, of particular note are the Italianate terraces constructed in the early 20th century.
The ‘Hidden Gardens’, as they’re otherwise known, make for a lovely day out, especially if you’re keen on discovering what has been described as ‘one of North Wales’ best kept secrets’. This historic garden was all but abandoned in 1928, despite being maintained for well over a century beforehand. Today the garden exists in a state of constant renovation and restoration which you can enjoy at your leisure. Should you wish to stay longer, then you can stay at one of five self-catering lodges inside the grounds.
Plas Newydd Country House & Gardens
Plas Newydd is one of a handful of grand country homes that are scattered throughout North Wales that is steeped in national history and now under the protection of the National Trust. In addition to being able to poke around the cavernous surroundings of this historical home, visitors also have access to 40 acres of gardens, parkland and woodland. Sheltered gardens, protected behind massive stonewalls, exist in their own exotic micro-climate whilst atmospheric Australasian arboretum offers a chance to truly escape.
Caerau Uchaf Gardens
Caerau Gardens were started in 1994 by owners Toby and Stephanie Hickish. When they bought the land initially it offered a lot of potential but not much else. A derelict farm house and an overgrown hedge were the only features on the land. Undeterred, the Hickish couple began work on their gardens, using stone from the farmhouse to lay out their structure. Today it’s open to the public and a glorious example of how perseverance and patience can reward amateur gardeners.
Besides having the second largest collection of items in the entire National Trust, Errdig is home to a delightful historical garden that has been completely restored to the specifications of how it once was in the 18th century. Plans for the formal gardens here were discovered by one of the gardeners who decided to climb to the top of the country home to look for ‘frost patterns’ left by previous owners. The gardens here are Grade I listed and offer a unique glimpse back into a long forgotten past.