The formal gardens of Tredegar House

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The formal walled gardens at Tredegar House, Newport are some of the most important early 18th-century garden landscapes in Wales. Over the years they changed and developed as new fashions took hold, and they bloomed or suffered as the Morgan family’s fortunes rose and fell.

The gardens are split into three distinct areas enclosed by red brick walls and linked by one large central gravel path which runs parallel to the house.

The Orchard Garden

The first garden that you enter is the Orchard Garden. This is the largest of the three formal gardens and houses the glasshouses, the gardener’s cottage and an orchard. During the Victorian period the glasshouses would have had raised bedding plants and exotics, including pineapples. You may also get a glimpse of the old pipes from the long-gone hothouses as you walk through. The kitchen garden was the other key element from the Victorian period, consisting of several acres. It was located behind the laundry but, unfortunately, no longer survives.

The Cedar Garden

Dominated by a cedar of Lebanon, and framed by huge herbaceous borders, is the next garden that you walk through. In the centre of the garden is the stone obelisk erected to the memory of ‘Sir Briggs', the horse that carried Godfrey Morgan, later the first Viscount Tredegar, at the famous Charge of the Light Brigade. Two further headstones were also erected to the memory of three of the family's much-loved dogs, Peeps, Friday and Barry. The Cedar Garden is directly overlooked by the finest of the ground-floor and first-floor rooms of the house.

The Orangery Garden

The third and smallest garden enclosure is the Orangery Garden. During the early-18th century this garden was laid out in a very formal pattern with parterres. The surface of the parterres was covered with different coloured materials including sea shells, crushed lime mortar, brick dust, coal dust, white sand, orange sand and grass, all arranged in a formal pattern. They were sometimes bordered with low clipped box hedging. The Orangery Garden today is an impression of how this area would have looked. The garden appears like an intricate carpet, and clearly relates to the formality of the Stable Court behind it and the State Rooms within the house itself.

Fruit trees

The Orangery Garden was where fruits, including apples, pears, peaches and cherries, would have been grown, the trees horizontally trained to grow against the high brick walls. Varieties of fruit trees and herbaceous plants known to have existed in the early-18th century have been searched out and replanted. The curious stone tiles which project from just below the tops of the walls help to protect the blossom and fruit from frost and cold winds.

The Orangery Garden was used by Evan, Viscount Tredegar, during the 1930s and 1940s not only for his infamous garden parties but also as a place where he could keep his birds.