Bodnant Gardens has all the elements I would choose for my own perfect garden; a steeply wooded valley with beautiful trees, a waterfall and a large pond, streams that cascade down the hillside, ferns and mosses, glorious flowering shrubs, interesting nooks and crannies, a wildflower meadow and of course its famous and glorious laburnum arch.
No matter the time of year you visit, there is always plenty to enjoy and the following photographs are just a few of the things that caught my attention during the first visit of the year towards the end of January. I often visit here on my own, but this time it was lovely to be accompanied by a friend who was seeing the gardens for the first time.
It was a cold, snow-on-the -hills, rather overcast day, not too conducive for lingering and gloves were needed between photographs to thaw out fingers, so I didn’t made notes of the species of plants, just enjoyed them.
I was surprised by the numbers of rhododendron and camellias in full bloom, but even this early in the year many are already past their best and the ground beneath was strewn with fallen petals.
Cascading streams and mossy rocks….
As I mentioned earlier, Bodnant is famed for its beautiful and impressive laburnum arch. At this time every year the arch is painstakingly pruned and the branches that will produce this year’s blossoms are individually tied into place. On the day of our visit we spoke to the ladies doing the work, which they assured us is a real labour of love and that its repetitive nature is peaceful and ‘zen-like’. Good to hear as the process takes around six weeks to complete. For visitors the end result is a neat and orderly, beautifully crafted structure that will support thousands of panicles of glorious yellow flowers this coming spring.
This is a photograph taken of the arch on a visit in mid-June when the blossoms were almost, but not fully out.