From spring bulbs to blowsy summer roses, jewel-coloured autumn leaves to rugged trees in winter, savour year round delights in the dynamic gardens of South Wales.
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Ancient cloisters, superb views, visiting wildlife, and a splendid mansion, Aberglasney blends ancient and modern with a glorious garden at its heart.
No ‘keep off the grass’ signs here, just a wonderful feast of fun for children and adults alike, where everyone is encouraged to enjoy all things natural.
Soak in the abundance of water in our South and West Wales gardens. It may sit in limpid pools, rush over waterfalls, or ripple along streams, but it always stamps its individual look on each garden.
All four seasons pack a powerful punch in South and West Wales
Spring: There’s a spring feast of blooms in South Wales. The golden yellow Tenby daffodils, Narcissus obvallaris, a true South Wales native, flower magnificently in March at Aberglasney. There’s colour at Colby Woodland Garden, close to Tenby, where 40,000 bulbs of daffodils, crocus and fritillaries have been planted for a kaleidoscope of spring colour. Spring brings a mass of cherry blossom at Cwmdonkin Park in Swansea and a little later comes a haze of bluebells at nearby Penllergare, definitely a sight to see. Not far away, in the 1,000 acre estate at Margam Country Park by Port Talbot, a froth of pinks and reds erupts as the giant rhododendrons burst into bloom. At nearby Bryngarw in Bridgend spring arrives as early as February with the snowdrops, follows up with primroses along the river banks and finishes with a flourish of bluebells at the end of April. Quite a show.
Summer: Aberglasney, Llangathen, shows off its camassia meadow in early summer while the productive walled vegetable garden is a feast of ‘greens’ in many colours – and a spread of fruits. Check out the shop for cut flowers for sale from the garden, so you can take a little bit of Aberglasney home with you.
Bluebells carpet the ground at Penllergare Valley Woods, Swansea, while down the road at Margam Country Park, Port Talbot, thousands of rhododendrons cover the hillside with a pink and red glow. By high summer there is colour everywhere in the walled garden at Aberglasney where flowers and vegetables are picked to sell at the shop and the café, while at Cwmdonkin the flowerbeds are filled with thousands of colourful annual plants. The valleys at Colby boast a host of wild flowers. Pride and joy are the wild orchids just establishing themselves in the recently sown wildflower meadow. Visitors are encouraged to help cast the wild seed for the meadows.
Autumn: Don’t miss the spectacle of jewel-coloured maples along the hillside at Colby, and at the Japanese garden at Bryngarw look out for the 100-year-old Ginkgo biloba whose every leaf turns into an ingot of pure gold.
Winter: The flowers have faded – although Colby boasts December flowering rhododendrons – and the trees take centre stage. Peep into the 25-metre evergreen yew tunnel at Aberglasney, and look for the huge ancient spreading beech and the knobbly cork tree at Margam. Admire the tall champion redwood cedar tree at Colby and the giant sequoia at Penllergare, every one of them a centenarian and each a living work of art.