The climate of North Wales is remarkably mild. Sheltered by its mountainous landscape and gently warmed by the Gulf Stream it’s the perfect haven for an incredible variety of plants. Tropical palms, exotic Oriental blooms and delicate Alpines mingle with lush, ancient woodlands. Amidst spectacular views, discover exciting, adventurous nature trails teeming with wildlife and parterres overflowing with colour.
1. Haulfre Gardens – Llandudno
The gardens are set amongst the dramatic scenery of the Great Orme, Llandudno’s magnificent rocky headland. They are easily accessible with wide, gently sloping paths that lead upwards through a colourful maze of tumbling flowers, ferns and trees. There are rewarding views of the coast and the Conwy Mountains but the most dramatic are reserved for those adventurous enough to follow the Zig-Zag Trail to the summit. Alternatively, pause for homemade cakes and refreshments at the hillside teashop.
2. Plas Newydd – Menai Strait, Anglesey
Covering forty acres with views of Snowdonia, this National Trust property has many horticultural delights for plant enthusiasts. Amongst the woodland there is an arboretum devoted to Australian eucalyptus trees and beeches from Chile. The brilliant colours of Chinese rhododendrons are at their best in June, during Wales’ Festival of Gardens. Admire banks of Alpine phlox, sedum and dianthus on the terrace. Seasonal highlights include the daffodils, tulips and catkins of spring to the fiery glow of autumn’s acers, chrysanthemums and rudbeckias.
3. Bodrhyddan Hall – Denbighshire
There is much to admire in this compact but beautiful eight acre wildlife haven. There are natural pathways twisting through mature woodland to explore while looking out for native frogs, birds and squirrels. Dragonflies swoop over the lily ponds and butterflies cover the colourful, scented bedding plants in the Victorian parterre. There’s a formal tree-lined avenue and a decorative bridge over a stream where you are sure to find minnows. Refreshments are available at the hall which has a fine collection of Mediaeval armour.
4. Plas Cadnant Hidden Garden – Anglesey
This beautiful garden with its curved, red brick walls has a wonderful blend of formal and wild vegetation to enjoy. There are fan-trained fruit trees and herbs in the traditional, Victorian kitchen garden. The rugged terrain of the area has winding paths threading through shrubs and trees plus three picturesque waterfalls tumbling down craggy rocks to the river. Enjoy an adventurous expedition to locate the ruined nineteenth century folly.
5. Bodelwyddan Castle – Denbighshire
With 260 acres of rolling parkland there are attractions to please everyone. There’s a picnic area and a children’s playground. The nature trails through the extensive woodland are such great fun to explore that there is even the challenge of joining an orienteering course. A formal area with its sun-warmed Victorian walls is packed with seasonal perennials and bedding plants. One of the highlights is solving the puzzle of the large, traditional maze of tall hedging.