We took a short one hour drive out into Wales today to visit a National Trust property, Erddig which we hoped would afford us the opportunity of exploring a garden with winter interest, interest found in its formal structure, its topiary and imaginative pruning as well as planting. We knew that it holds the National Collection of Hedera (Ivies), so we had something specific and extra to look for too.
After too many wet weeks the day dawned bright and we were to be treated to a day of bright winter sunshine, which would play with shadows and light throughout our walk. We were surprised to discover that the whole place, buildings and gardens were in a state of disrepair bordering on dereliction in the 1960’s when a new owner decided to rescue it and awaken a real jewel of a property.
Two welcome signs greeted us as we entered, a rustic overhead design and another with a beautiful quote which read, “Where fragrance, peace and beauty reign ….”. We would soon see if this were true.
The garden is Grade 1 listed and is based around the 18th Century design. Amazingly it works well today! Even the car park and courtyards on the way in had points of interest to us gardeners, some of the Ivy cultivars, ancient wall-trained fruit, a beautifully carved wooden seat featuring carved horse heads and a vintage garden watering cart. We soon met our first Hederas (Ivy) in the collection, an unlabelled specimen which grew to frame a window, and one with beautiful foliage, Hedera hiburnicum variegata.
A feature we were looking forward to at Erddig was the huge variety of creatively pruned trees, both fruit trees and conifers. Some of these fruit trees must be decades old but are still skillfully pruned. Really well pruned and trained fruit trees are really beautiful. It felt good to see these age old gardening skills carrying on so professionally.
We discovered this double row of pleached limes after spotting an orange glow as the winter sun caught the new twigs and buds.
Beautifully topiarised conifers were presented in neat rows and as hedges throughout the formal garden area.
Not all the conifers were trimmed and controlled though, some were left to mature and become tall proud specimens.
We loved this tall double row of pollarded Poplar trees towering above our path, their network of silhouettes highlighted against the blue sky. This added to the strong structure of the garden.
We love to see a touch of humour in gardens and points of interest for children and we enjoyed a few here as we wandered around Erddig.
Erddig holds the National collection of Ivies, growing a huge selection of Hedera, but it took us along time to find the organised and well-labelled display of them growing along an old brick-built wall. We were amazed by the sheer variety, from plants with plain green typical leaves to those with the most beautiful and subtle variegation.
Don’t you just love to see what gardeners are up to when you visit a garden? Here hedge cutting and mulching borders with rich well-matured farmyard manure were keeping the gardeners on their toes. We were very impressed with the quality of their work and the evidence of a sense of pride in everything they did.
From the front of the house itself we found some wide views over the surrounding countryside.
I have only briefly mentioned the Ivy collection at Erddig so far but I will change all that by sharing a collection of my pics of the Ivies as a gallery. Please enjoy by clicking on the first photo and using the arrows to navigate.
Hollies feature too with a lovely varied collection sadly with no labels but here are some to enjoy anyway.
Each photo of an Ilex tree is matched with a close up of its foliage.
So you can appreciate just how impressed we were with the gardens at Erddig on our return visit after many years. We will be returning more often in the future!