Gardens to Delight
With the fabulous backdrop of beaches and hills, mountains, castles, waterfalls, South Wales has many places of interest. All attract our visitors attention but there are also many Gardens to Delight.
TheNational Botanic Garden of Wales was first opened to the public in 2000. It is fascinating to plot the progress in it’s development over the two decades.
The garden consists of 568 acres. It has varied topography from the Walled and Boulder Gardens , the Landscaped Vistas, the Meadow Walks and the Wildflower Areas.
It is easy to spend a full day there at the Botanic Gardens. There is plenty to do with interest for all ages. It is a great place for 3 generations of families to visit. National Botanic Gardens appeal to avid gardeners and relaxing families.
There are many areas to interest the visitor. Enjoy the warmth and tropical planting of the Great Glasshouse and the Double Walled Garden is a must to see. 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. This is located at the back end of the garden. A very worthwhile addition. Demonstrations are carried out there every day. They are a delight and well worth aiming for.
Specifically for children there is a Willow Tunnel, the Playground, Meadow and Woodland Trails. Many aspects throughout the 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 our first visit in the Winter of 2000. We hope guests will return over the years and seasons to delight at the developments.
Aberglasney is reputed to be one of the finest gardens in Wales. This reputation was gained in recent years. Gardens to Delight. At the start of 2000 the listed mansion, the Elizabethan cloister garden and surrounding 10 acres were in a decrepit and sorry state.
The gardens and the mansion are of equal interest. Over the last 500 years Aberglasney has had a very chequered history. During this time Aberglasney House has been the home of many colourful characters.
In the decades prior to the restoration but after the House was occupied the condition of the house deteroriated. This resulted in the grandeur of the past times being hard to recognise. The mansion house has been uninhabited, neglected and vandalised for many years. Farm animals have been grazing the surrounding land including the gardens and used the dilapidated building as a shelter!
Aberglasney House and Gardens became a charity. This allowed restoration works by it’s many enthusiastic followers. The former grandeur of the gardens has been re-established.
An important and enhancing feature of the house and gardens is the Ninfarium. Which is a very unique type of garden, completed in 2005. The Ninfarium consists of a glass atrium constructed above the ruins of rooms that were previously the central mansion.
Openings that were previously where internal doorways and windows were now provide pleasing visuals. They have a backdrop of exotic, tropical plants and provide lovely photo opportunities.
Surrounding the fine mansion are 10 acres of the garden’s which have great interest for gardeners, historians and leisurely walkers. The tea rooms are well worth a visit.
In the grounds numerous little gardens have been beautifully re created. 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 proudly overlooks the Swansea Bay, a haven of tranquility from the surrounding road network. Park behind The Woodman’s pub on Oystermouth Road to access the gardens.
This garden is a delight. The construction of the Clyne Gardens was completed in the 1800’s. Enhancements were carried out during the 1920’s through to 1952.
An admiral based in Swansea influenced the landscaping and planting of this sloped site. Japanese elements feature. There is a Japanese Bridge, the Admiral Tower and Gazebo plus a simply stunning collection of rhododendrons.
Singleton Park which was previously owned by the Vivian family is close to Clyne Gardens. It is 250 acres in size, much of it grassland and now mature deciduous woodland.
To the North of the site are glasshouses, now known as the Botanical Gardens. I have fond memories as an art student of 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. The garden was named after John Colby. He was a landowner in Pembrokeshire in the 1790’s. This hidden wooded valley is full of surprises, there are hints of it’s coal heritage, a walled garden and floral displays. All of season have their interests. Colby Garden is renowned for it’s magnolia blossom in the Spring and Summer. Followed by the acers, 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.
Possibly not worthy of a special visit, however if you are already visiting Neath then extend your trip to include visiting Victoria Gardens. Victoria Gardens are 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. During the Summer months musical events are held in Victoria Gardens . 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. All are Gardens to Delight.
The owners donate the entry fee to the gardens to a charity. At most of these gardens tea, coffee and cake is offered.