Gardens to Delight
With the fabulous backdrop of beaches and hills, mountains, majestic castles, stunning waterfalls all attract our visitors attention. This can easily distract from the many delightful gardens in the area.
Only created in 2000, this relative newcomer was created for the New Millenium and it is fascinating to plot the progress in it’s development over the two decades.
The garden consists of 568 acres and has many varied topography from the Walled and Boulder Gardens , the Landscaped Vistas, the Meadow Walks and the Widflower Areas.
A day can easily be filled with interest for all ages. It is a great place for 3 generation families to visit, appealing to both avid gardeners and relaxing families.
There are many areas to interest the visitor, enjoy the warmth and tropical planting of the Great Glasshouse, the Double Walled Garden is a must see, then the Butterfly House is a welcome change of temperature on cooler days, everyone enjoys spotting the sometimes camouflaged and exotic butterflies.
In recent years, there has been the addition of The Bird of Prey Centre, tucked away at the back end of the garden, but a very worthwhile addition. The demonstrations that are regularly staged each day are a delight and well worth aiming for.
Specifically for the children there is a Willow Tunnel, the Playground, Meadow and Woodland Trails and many aspects throughoutthe garden that add interest and encourage play.
Enjoy a slower pace for a day, explore all corners, enjoy the planting, visit the gallery, exhibition centre, shop and restaurant.
We have observed the development from that first Winter of 2000 visit, likewise we hope guests will return over the years and seasons to delight at the developments.
Today Aberglasney is seen as one of Wales’ finest gardens. This reputation has been achieved in very recent years, back at the start of the Millenium both the Grade 2 listed mansion, the Elizabethan cloister garden and surrounding 10 acres were in a decrepit and very sorry state.
The gardens and the mansion are of equal interest and over the last 500 years has had a very chequered history and has been home to many a colourful character.
However in the decades prior to the restoration, the grandeur of the past times were hard to recognise. The mansion house had been uninhabited, neglected and vandalised, farm animals had been grazing the surrounding land including the gardens and used the dilapidated building as a shelter!
It was fortunately rescued and set up as a charity with many enthusiastic supporters and its grandeur has been re established and developed.
An important and enhancing feature of the house and gardens is the Ninfarium, a very unique garden only completed in 2005. It is a glass atrium constructed above the ruins of rooms that remained of the once central mansion. The openings where once were internal doorways and windows are visually very pleasing with a backdrop of exotic, tropical plants and provide lovely photo opportunities.
The 10 acres that surround this fine mansion has a wealth of interest for gardners, historians and leisurely walkers, plus of course the great tea rooms have to be visited.
In the grounds, numerous gardens have been beautifully re created with specialist interest. From the Sunken Garden, the Pool Garden, the Asiatic Garden, an Alpinium Garden, , the Asiatic Garden to the Cloister Garden all captivate interest as the visitor explores. There are leisurely strolls from the North Lawn and Yew Tunnel to Bishop Rudds Walk onto the the Rigger House Wood through the Jubilee Woodland into the Stream garden , all exhibiting different and ever interesting planting aspects.
This Swansea garden sits proudly overlooking Swansea Bay, a haven of tranquility from the surrounding road network. Park behind The Woodman’s pub on Oystermouth Road to access the gardens.
These gardens are a delight with the main planting having been done in the mid 1800’s and later enhanced fro the 1920’s through to 1952 when “the Admiral”sponsored several plant collecting expeditions overseas.
He greatly influenced the landscaping and planting of this sloped site with many Japaneese elements to be seen. There is a Japanese Bridge, the Admiral Tower and Gazebo plus a simply stunning collection of rhododendrons.
Very near to Clyne is Singleton Park, once the estate of the Vivian family. It is 250 acres in size, much of it grassland and now mature deciduous woodland.
However to the North of the site are glasshouses, now known as the Botanical Gardens. I have fond memories as an art studentof sitting in the hothouses sheltering from rain and finding inspiration in the tropical hot house planting. The Arid House, the Temperate House and the Economic House each have specific collections, all worth a visit if in the vicinity.
Colby Garden is now a National Trust property but named after John Colby. He was the Pembrokeshire landowner back during the 1790’s, subsequently had many owners, each leaving their influence. This hidden wooded valley is full of surprises, there are hints of it’s coal heritage, a walled garden and floral displays. Every Season has it’s interest but it is renowned for the magnolia blossoms in Spring and Summer, then acers and Japanese maples and viburnums in Autumn and Winter.
There are opportunities for children to play in nature, opportunities for pond dipping, building a den and rope swings to try! Explore the Colby Estate, it is 900 acres and in the furthest reaches there are woodland and stream walks, wildflower meadows and sea views.
Whilst possibly not worthy of aspecial visit, if in Neath then victoria Gardens is a peaceful scenic site in the centre of town in the shadow of St David’s church.
It is an ornamental park of the Victorian era, created in 1856 to provide an open space for the residents of Neath. Ornamental well planted and colourful flowerbeds radiate from a central bandstand where musical events are held on occasion during the Summer months. There is a very small play area for young children in one corner – a welcome haven from the shopping.
Enthusiastic gardeners have been known to plan their stay around the many Open Gardens across england and wales.
There is generally an entry fee with the money being donated to charities. Of course there is always tea, coffee and cake – lots of cake!