We started a week of garden visits, based in Chester, with a visit to Bodnant Gardens in north Wales. It had been quite a few years since we visited – a planned visit two years ago had to be cancelled as I spent the holiday in hospital in Chester!  – and we had previously only visited in spring or in May to see the iconic Laburnum Arch which is one of England’s gardening wonders.

We  had never visited in Summer and were a little apprehensive that the gardens might not live up to their spring standards. Rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias give a great display early in the year but we wondered if the summer show would be a match and worth the visit.

We need not have worried at all as the gardens most certainly filled that garden description to perfection – a garden with all year interest. We were delighted with the state of the garden, the level of colour and plant interest, the extraordinary level of maintenance and that it is obvious that ongoing renovations and new developments will ensure that this garden not only continues to be excellent but will even improve with each passing year. Despite the almost fashionable habit of garden commentators complaining about the work of the National Trust, which cares for these gardens, I  must say that their work here in Bodnant is outstanding and deserving of recognition and great praise.

Let me give you a peep at the gardens through my photographs and suggest you pay a visit yourself. You will enjoy it.

Immediately on entering the garden the visitor is greeted by a very colourful border of mainly herbaceous perennial plants. 
The house is imposing but not daunting and garden and house fit together perfectly 
The rill and pond on the terrace below the house opens to wonderful views to the surrounding Welsh countryside. 
The rose beds were in excellent condition with all plants growing well and providing a wonderful display of colour. 
A view over the Rose Terraces to the lower parterre
One of the Rose Terraces 


One of the picture postcard views at Bodnant

The walk to The Dell is quite steep but provides enticing glimpses of the delights below 
The Dell is home to a fabulous collection of impressing trees and an area where great clearance work has been carried out and significant improvements made – The Dell has been cleared and extended and provides an excellent contrast to the more formal areas of the garden near the house. 
Trees, water, dappled sunlight, bridges and trees make The Dell a very special place. 
The rebuilt and restored boathouse on the pond at The Far End, an area being cleared, developed and planted which will add wonderfully to the woodland, riverside walk along The Dell. 

Paddy Tobin 

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