We left home for a journey up towards Chester and then West along the North Wales coast after listening to the local weather forecast for our destination. It predicted a heavy snow storm passing through early morning and warnings were announced for closed roads and dangerous conditions. The weather was set to travel eastward and weaken, so we hoped we would meet it as it had weakened and arrive at our destination as it cleared.
We got it spot on as a couple of hours later we arrived at the northern tip of Snowdownia, at Bodnant Hall where we wanted the see the Winter Garden. We had explored it before in the summer and it looked good then. We vowed to return in its prime season to see if it lived up to its summer promises.
We were not to be disappointed in the slightest as it surpassed all expectations. It was simply breathtaking. Come with us as we explore along its winding paths.
We entered the garden by following a path cut into the hillside and then down a ramp where we discovered a raised wall with the sort of planting we expected to see in the Winter Garden itself. We also passed two plants with not so friendly foliage, a Colletia paradoxa and a Yucca, both well endowed with points and sharp edges.
The world-famous laburnum arch looked so different at this time of year, exposing its strong structure and the shapes of each trained Laburnum tree.
As we began to follow the meandering paths which implored us to explore every part of the garden, we spotted some beautifully shaped trees and shrubs pruned to expose their lower trunks and branches, sharing their special shapes with us. Conifers sometimes create amazing shapes without the need for the gardeners’ secateurs and loppers.
The paths at Bodnant have been designed and set out to let the visitor appreciate every bit of planting from close up and from a distance to get a variety of views to appreciate. They are beautifully positioned.
Snow isolates flowers in such a strange way. It means we see them without foliage just their colours emerging from whiteness. We are so used to viewing flowers against a predominantly green background.
The beauty of the Winter Garden at Bodnant that is unique where such gardens are concerned is the way it is designed to have overall strength as a whole design but each pairing of plants and each grouping is applicable to most home gardens. Around each corner the visitor can discover an idea easily transferable to their own patch. The design is best described as accessible. Pathways ensure visitors see as much as possible and each feature planting from at least two different viewpoints. Here is a selection of pics showing these paths.
Next time we visit Bodnant Gardens will probably be in the spring when it looks very different again.