Magical Bodnant Garden in North Wales
Nestling in the Conwy Valley with the magnificent Snowdonia foothills, Bondant garden is a truly magical place. With its dramatic scenery, historic plant collection and myriad horticultural styles it will capture you heart and live in your memory. It will certainly do with me.
Visitors can enjoy 80 acres of different formal and informal gardens, shrub-filled glades, meadows and woodland as well as dramatic dell and water gardens. The garden is famous for its Laburnum Arch, which flowers in spring.
Unfortunately we were there in July so missed it. For that reason alone we will have to visit again in spring!
About the Garden
The garden’s founder, Henry Davis Pochin, was a typical successful Victorian businessman. He was apprenticed to a chemist. Eventually he became a partner in the firm. His wealth was based on a number of inventions including inventing a process for clarifying rosin used in soap, turning it from the traditional brown to white.
He also invented a process to improve the quality of paper using china clay, acquiring a number of china clay mines in Cornwall to facilitate this. Having made his fortune he established himself in society becoming an MP for Stafford, Mayor of Salford and a Justice of the Peace.
Despite his commercial and social success his real passion seems to have been gardening. Upon buying the Bodnant estate in 1874 he saw its potential. He soon began to rebuild the Georgian mansion house. Pochin then employed Edward Milner, a former apprentice of Joseph Paxton to redesign the existing gardens. Up to this point the land around the mansion had just been lawns and pasture.
His passion for gardening continued in the family. His daughter Laura McLaren, 1st Baroness Aberconwy, and grandson Henry McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconwy made big changes and additions to Bodnant. Furthermore Henry McLaren also sponsored plant hunting expeditions in the far east.
In 1949 Henry McLaren handed Bodnant Gardens over to the National Trust, it being one of handful of places where the trust accepted a garden without a house. The later members of the McLaren family have continued the interest in gardening and involvement in the management of Bodnant Gardens.
The Pin Mill and Lily Pond
The Pin Mill building on the Canal Terrace was added in 1938. Originally built in 1730 in Gloucestershire as garden pavilion it was later turned into a pin making mill. Later it formed part of a tannery. It was very decayed when Henry Davis Pochin rescued it. He dismantled it and rebuilt it at Bodnant, to preside over the Lily pond.
Have a wander around beautiful rose gardens.
Electric blue of mophead and lacecap hydrangeas were just in full bloom on our visit this summer.
There is something for everyone in the garden. Choose from beautiful walks around the garden or in the woodland. There are picnic areas and pond dipping for children. Moreover, the Pavillion Tea Room and the Magnolia Tea Room both offer refreshment. There are also two cafes on the site. Furthermore the vast array of trees, shrubs and plants and flowers to see will keep you entranced for hours. Check their website for updated information on what’s on.
Collection of Champion Trees
Bodnant Garden’s famous tree collection includes natives planted from Georgian times, exotics discovered by Victorian plant hunters and 20th century rarities. There are now 40 of these recognised by the Tree Council as UK Champion Trees, and 130 as Wales Champions.
To be recognised by the Tree Council they must be exceptional examples of their species due to their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance. These include some giant sequoias, which have been known to live up to 2000 years old in their native California! More info here.
Very tall Magnolia tree! ↓
Henry Pochin’s wife, Agnes and his daughter Laura were leading members of the Suffragette movement. To mark the centenary of the women first gaining the vote the National Trust planted a Suffragette garden. This area is in the Winter Garden. It is planted with a dense array of native flowers in colours that were significant to the Suffragette movement. ↓
After a day’s walk around the garden, finally have a well deserved rest with a beautiful view. Nice !
The longest Laburnun Arch, the tallest trees and probably the biggest bench! 😀
I created a video about the Bodnant Garden. Enjoy. 🙂