The garden in winter

Red berries against the glossy green leaves of a plant in winter

There's something to enjoy in a garden every season and the Winter Garden at Bodnant offers a journey of surprise and delight for the senses.

Whether you're looking for relaxtion, to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas, or inspiration, activity and fresh air as you stride out into a New Year, we have 80 acres of landscape in which you can wander, taking in formal gardens, woodland and meadow, and panoramic mountain views.  

The jewel in the crown is our Winter Garden. Four years in the planning and two years in the making, the Winter Garden opened in New Year 2012 and has matured into a richly colourful display of foliage, flower, bark and scent too.

It was once an Edwardian rockery, which became overgrown and was closed to the public for decades. The renovation cost £35,000 and the redesigned garden has proved so popular that, instead of closing it to the public in March as originally planned, we now keep the ropes down all year.

Midday light

The new garden makes the most of the winter light, which at midday shines from the south across the Old Park backlighting the plants. The design of the garden followed the former layout of stone beds, but paths have been slightly altered to give a more sinuous sweep.

Existing mature trees were retained to give structure to the planting scheme, as were many of the old shrubs such as rhododendrons, garrya, camellia and the stunningly gnarled old Acer palmatum. Other taller structural plants were added such as the white birches Betula utlis and the silky red cherry Prunus serrula.

Colourful planting

Forming the middle level are shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne and sarcococca for scent, viburnum and camellia for flower, cornus and rubus for stems and skimmia for berries. A lower layer of small shrubs and herbaceous plants include red leaved bergenia and pittosporum, arching grasses and ferns, heathers and hellebores, with a colourful underplanting of bulbs such as snowdrops, iris, cyclamen and crocus.

Located in the upper garden, it is accessible to all, and if you fancy a longer walk the Winter Garden is a great place to begin an exploration of Bodnant Garden's 80-acre winter wonderland.