A world of gardens in Wales
Explore five continents of plant life at our castles, stately houses and country homes, whose gardens also chart centuries of horticultural history – from formal French and Italian styles of the 1600s, through naturalistic landscapes of the 1700s and Victorian exotica, to contemporary design. Share your discoveries with us at #NTWorldGarden
Powis Castle is an awe-inspiring garden of grand, classical European style dating back more than 300 years, in the heart of the mid Wales countryside. The hillside terraces were blasted from solid sandstone to create a classical Baroque garden of yew hedges, topiary and dancing statues combined with lavish herbaceous borders.
At Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire you can see an example of the naturalistic English Landscape Movement of the 18th century at its finest. The Capability Brown parkland is now a National Nature reserve home to native plants and wildlife.
Many of the exotic plants to be found at our gardens hail from the ‘golden age’ of plant hunting in the 1800s and early 1900s.The growth of the British Empire, alongside advances in science, industry and transport, saw intrepid explorers bring an influx of curious new plants to our shores.
Plant hunting heyday
Great landowners created gardens and glasshouses in which to grow and show off these curiosities, like Victorian industrialist Henry Pochin, who created Bodnant Garden near Conwy. He and his family filled the garden with plants from America and Asia creating what is one of the world’s finest gardens, noted for botanical collections including rhododendrons and Champion Trees.
The Edwardian gardens at Dyffryn near Cardiff were designed by landscape architect Thomas Mawson in 1906 for Reginald Cory, who sponsored plant hunting trips around the world. Here you’ll find trees in the arboretum sourced from these original expeditions – and a greenhouse which contains orchids, American cacti and Asian carnivorous plants powered by a new 21st century biomass boiler.
Natives and exotics
Elsewhere in Wales are gardens combining wonderful native plants with exotic species. The Grade I listed gardens of Erddig near Wrexham, landscaped in the 1700s, contain old native trees alongside Deodar Cedar from the Himalayas, Welingtonia from North America and Monkey Puzzle from Chile.
Plas Newydd on Anglesey overlooks the Menai Straits, a rugged Snowdonian mountainscape and rolling coastal countryside. Its sweeping formal gardens include an arboretum where Chilean beeches and Australian eucalyptus mingle with native giants.
Colby Woodland Garden in Pembrokeshire is rooted in an industrial past. Originally a coalfield in the 1700s, it was developed as a garden from the late Victorian period and today is home to examples of summer-flowering Eucryphia from South America and Davidia (The Handkerchief Tree) from China.
Start your exploration with our World of Gardens guide:
Better still, come and see these wonderful gardens and plant collections and watch our gardeners at work conserving them for future genrations.
This is your guide to exploring the world of botanical treasures at our glorious gardens in Wales. Explore the world with us without leaving Wales.
Dyma’ch canllaw i archwilio’r byd o drysorau botanegol yn ein gerddi godidog yng Nghymru. Archwiliwch y byd gyda ni heb adael Cymru