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Garden in County Conwy: Bodnant Garden

Updated on November 7, 2015

A Garden For All Seasons

Bodnant Gardens are found in Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy, North Wales. They are spectacular in the Spring and Summer but we discovered that a visit on the last day of summer was well worth the visit. Come along with us to this Garden for all seasons.

All pictures are the property of Christine and Peter Broster unless stated

Google Maps

A markerBodnant Garden -
Tal-y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL28 5RE
get directions

Accolades for Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden was voted 'Favourite Garden In The Country' by Daily Telegraph Readers and received 'The National Trust Gardens Award' by National Trust members and visitors - very impressive!

A day out on the last day of summer: - My memorable birthday treat.

Another birthday rolled around this past weekend. To celebrate we decided a visit to Bodnant Gardens in North Wales was long overdue.

We have lived in Mid-Wales for four years now, passing the signpost for Bodnant Gardens several times without stopping. We were either on our way to Mount Snowdon or the very popular resort of Llandudno eight miles north.

On this occasion, I am so glad we took the time to explore this gem of a Garden nestled in the Conwy Valley with Snowdonia as a backdrop. The garden is rich with a full diversity of plant species and is a refuge for many threatened species. We were blessed with good weather and proceeded to follow the path all around the valley that is incorporated into the gardens.

A Bit of History

Bodnant House was purchased by Industrial Chemist Henry Davis Pochin who took on the gardens in 1874 as a retirement project up until his death in 1895.

The Garden, however, was taken over by the McLaren family and the second Lord Aberconway, Henry McLaren, took an energentic interest in making it the world class Garden we see today.

In 1949 Bodnant Garden, but not the house, was given to the National Trust.

A water lily reaching out to the sun

A Garden With Something For Everyone: - Formal and Wild.

The Formal Garden

Bodnant Garden has an upper formal garden with clipped lawns, Italianate Terraces consisting of walls and pergolas with climbing vines, the Canal Terrace, the stunning Round Garden, the Lily Terrace and the imposing Bodnant Hall. The air is filled with the fragrance of the roses in full bloom and blue dragonflies hover and flit just above the water lilies making them nearly impossible to photograph. It is a wonderful place to sit and just absorb the tranquility.

Water lilies

We revisited in early September 2015 and were rewarded with a show of flowers on the water lilies
We revisited in early September 2015 and were rewarded with a show of flowers on the water lilies

The Georgian Pin Mill

The Pin Mill is a Georgian Mill, circa 1730, rescued from Gloucestershire in 1938. It now stands proudly at the far end of the Canal Terrace.

The Pin Mill

The Pin Mill reflected in the pond - September 3, 2015
The Pin Mill reflected in the pond - September 3, 2015 | Source

An anenome - 'anenome hupehensis' is from Western China

Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'

The Laburnum Arch in late summer

The Laburnum Arch is 55 metres long and comes to life in late May/early June putting on a spectacular show of yellow blossoms. I counted 63 Laburnum trees as I walked along the arch, some well-established and some thin stems tied into place ready to overwinter and then burst into flower.

The Laburnum Arch in Spring - In all its glory.

As mentioned, we visited Bodnant Gardens the first time on the last day of summer, which has its benefits for seeing the roses, dahlias, rudbekia, hydrangea etc. but we were too late to see the Spring show. In late May or early June the Laburnum Arch at Bodnant Gardens characteristically displays its finery. Please watch this space for further updates.

An Update - June 10, 2013

We were away until May 29th this year (being 2013 as I write this) and feared that we had probably missed the best of the flowers which usually only last two weeks. However, this year Britain had a very late Spring which delayed everything by about a month. The weather here in Wales became warm and sunny at the end of May and continued into June bringing out the blossoms row upon row until it was in full flower by the weekend of June 8.

photo taken by holly2

The Laburnum Arch

People come from all over the world to see the Laburnum Arch in bloom in late May/early June.

Bodnant Garden - The Laburnum Arch

Troy Scott Smith, the former Head Gardener, talks about the work of the gardening team to keep the Laburnum Arch looking its best. He has made a huge impact during his seven years at Bodnant and has now moved on to be the Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. He created the wonderful 'Winter Garden' before he left in the Spring of 2013.

A Garden In Snowdonia

'The Dell' - with all the hiding places it is a fairy paradise

After a cup of tea and a delicious piece of apple pie and ice cream in the Pavilion Tea Room we returned to the gardens to explore the woodland garden called 'The Dell', which is formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn. It descends down to the Old Mill which was once used to power the flour and sawmill. It is a haven for many varieties of hydrangea, hostas, astilbes and ferns. It is cool and peaceful with the sound of the river trickling and the rush of the water over the waterfall.

I didn't see any fairies this time but they are very adept at keeping a low profile.

Past the Yew Garden and the California Redwood trees, yes those magnificently tall trees usually only seen on the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, you will see 'The Poem', the family Mausoleum.

The Poem

The Poem taken early September 2015
The Poem taken early September 2015

The end of a wonderful day at Bodnant - The best way to spend a birthday

We may visit the Winter Garden, which is under construction at the moment and opens on December 27, or we will be back in the Spring to see all the flowering bulbs, the rhododendrons, azaleas and, of course, the laburnum. We will continue to add to this lens as the seasons progress but until then, Goodbye for now.

A Stunning Azalea

The last time I talked to you I had celebrated my birthday in late September by visiting Bodnant Gardens and I mentioned that we would try to see the ' Winter Garden', which was under construction at the time. We didn't get a chance to visit in the Winter but we did see the completed Winter Garden, a legacy of the former Head Gardener, during our Springtime visit.

It was June 10. It was warm; the sun was shining and the sky was blue with a few fluffy clouds then we saw this azalea soon after entering through the Main Gate at Bodnant Gardens. We knew it was going to be a special day again and it was.

Colour Everywhere

Bodnant Garden is renowned for its active breeding program of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Springtime at Bodnant: - Rhododendrons and Azaleas

We visited Bodnant primarily to see the world renowned Laburnum Arch but were equally impressed by the vibrant displays of rhododendrons and azaleas that take pride of place throughout the property each Spring.

Summer show of glorious dahlias

Dahlias in all their glory at Bodnant Garden - September 3, 2015
Dahlias in all their glory at Bodnant Garden - September 3, 2015

Books About Bodnant Garden And Other Famous Gardens In Wales on Ebay

The books available through ebay.co.uk contain stunning pictures of Bodnant Garden at its best. They are a perfect gift for anyone interested in gardening or for the armchair gardener.

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden at Bodnant Garden in early September, 2015
The Rose Garden at Bodnant Garden in early September, 2015

Let me know about some memorable gardens you have visited.

Have you been to Bodnant Garden?

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    • craiger-m profile image

      The Hatter 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Lovely pictures, it's a great place.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      No, but I am dying to visit next year!