this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society

4-Day HOLIDAY: 21st -24th JULY 2012


We set off in the warm sun that shone for all of the 4 days despite the attrocious summer weather that had preceded the trip (and continued all summer afterwards)! We were joined near Bristol by our Tour Manager Sarah Hunter.
The first garden visit for our 44 members was to Dyffryn Botanic Gardens not far from Cardiff,where we were also able to have lunch. The gardens have 3 main areas: The Great Lawn and house, woodland walks  and ornamental gardens arranged as "rooms". Close to the house were borders containing amongst others Salpiglossis - very attractive. Amongst the eleven Garden Rooms were the Pompeain Garden, Paved Court, the very colourful Long Border and a walled garden containing a cactus house and Kitchen Garden under restoration. (see the "Gallery" for many more pictures)
We could have spent longer here but we had to leave for our hotel in Camarthen (and dinner!).

The next day, Sunday was spent at two renowned gardens. In the morning we went to the National Botanic Garden of Wales and in the afternoon to Aberglasey. We arrived early before the Botanic Garden had fully woken so had a little wait for the "road train" to arrive and for the fantastic greenhouse designed by Norman Foster to be opened. There was much of interest and many areas to explore in this large garden.
After lunch we found Abergasney to be a more intimate garden though again with many different areas. Bishop Rudd's garden and the zig-zag path leading to it  was a hidden gem. A curiosity was the Ninfarium - a garden built into a ruined part of the house. In the hot weather the tea room with its ice creams proved popular.

After breakfast on Monday we headed to Swansea to visit Singleton Park Botanic Garden. This is located within the old walled garden which was once part of the estate of Lord Swansea. We were taken around by the gardeners - all knowledgeable and enthusiastic. As a public garden maintained by the local council, the quality of the bedding was astonishing. The magnificent and very long double herbaceous border leading from the entrance was originally planted in 1921. This is emptied every 3 years, dug over and the plants divided and returned.

Following lunch we went to Clyne Garden in Swansea.
Here a tour was essential, since at this time the largely spring flowering shrubs were giving only sporadic colour so we needed the gardeners’ interesting talk.

Our last visit on Monday was to Brynyrenfys, a quirky garden, packed (perhaps crowded) with interesting plants. The steep paths needed care - one of number chose to explore the precipitous planting more closely than she had intended!
Before going home we had planned 2 garden visits, but Sara, our tour manager suggested first also visiting Llangain with its castle and Dylan Thomas' boat house. The beautiful weather made this a magical visit. A short coach journey down narrow lanes took then us to The Cors. The garden was laid out in a damp stream valley and had several  sculptures. The owners ran a B&B (attractive and secluded) and gave us morning coffee in the house.
Our final visit was to Westonbury Mill, near Hereford. This amazing/amusing garden was based on a stream which powers a fountain issuing from a tower and a soon to be completed water-powered cuckoo clock!
This was a very successful holiday with many positive comments. Everyone enjoyed it and the general view was there was nothing we could find to criticise. The gardens we visited were all full of interest and of good quality, with a wide  range of contrasting styles. The tour manager, Sara Hunter was excellent. She was calm, organised, ready help with any minor problem and shared our interest in plants and gardens.