Before I start please note this post has neither been requested or sponsored by Bodnant, National Trust or any other third party – it is purely me, and a true reflection of my findings, the good the bad and the ugly – if there is any. I am happy to review a location, activity or product (see working with me, but will do so to my own ethically standards and speak as i find 😉 )
Every year I promise myself a visit to Bodnant Gardens in North Wales. More precisely a visit in mid to late May to catch the Rhododendrons in full bloom and the laburnum. ….this year I finally made it for the laburnum at least, by the beginning of June most of the Rhododendrons have gone over. However with over 80 acres to explore and 42 UK Champion trees, formal gardens bursting with colour and fragrance, extensive wild flower meadows, the dappled light of woodland walks, mill ponds,waterfalls, and exquisite planting throughout; I could honestly be in seventh heaven there at any time of the year and any day of the week.
Yes the laburnum arch was a sight to behold ; the rich yellow glow and the heady aroma; but the acres of wondrous garden the exterior of Bodnant House and the Mill house, Poem and other follies, the wildlife; the noise of the bees t; he fluttering and dancing of dragon flies, make a visit here a memorable delight whenever you visit. The National Trust gardening team (and I meant to ask how many there were), were smiling, happy and helpful. (mind you so would I be if I were lucky enough to work in such an environment), They’d pause to chat and explain what they were working on or answer questions about the plants and planting.
We were there about four hours. I could have easily stayed longer; nestled somewhere with a book, perhaps in the rose garden; or laying amongst the grasses and wild flowers of the meadow. I positively dancing and twirling with delight.
From a practical point of view here are the facts. It was about £14 to get in. I thought that was great value for money. Obviously if you are a member of the National Trust its much cheaper or free (not sure how it works). The labelling of the plants is the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve been to a lot of public gardens. It was easy to find the name of most of the plants that took my breath away and got added to my wish list. Which leads me to my only negative comment; the garden centre stocked hardly any of the plants I wanted to buy. It mainly had the same old same old as other garden centres. I was desperate to purchase (see photos) Cornus Kousa (in white), Aquilegia Chrysantha, Magnolia Wieseneri, Embothrium coccineum and Galium odoratum (the scent – omg <3 ) .
However, they did have an extensive collection of well priced plants so, needless to say I came home with a few…. including, of course, a very healthy laburnum…. I might even start my own arch!
I will leave you with these and recommend you visit.