Flow of generosity could save grand garden fountains

Water trickling from a fountain on the Great Lawn at Dyffryn Gardens

Dyffryn Gardens, in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Bodnant Garden, near Conwy, have both launched fountain fundraising appeals, to restore the focal points of their formal Edwardian beds and borders.

The damaged fountain pool at Dyffryn has lain empty for many years and the team wants to bring the ornate feature back to its former glory. The project is estimated to cost around £75,000 and it's hoped half of this can be raised by donations. At Bodnant Garden around £50,000 is needed to replace the crumbling CroquetTerrace fountain. Both properties hope that appeals launched this year will kick-start much-needed conservation work in 2017.

Stately Dyffryn House was built 1893–94 for coal magnate John Cory, and the 55 acre gardens designed by Thomas Mawson were laid out from 1906. They feature a collection of intimate garden rooms including a rose garden, Pompeian garden and Great Lawn, intersected by long canal and fountain.

Chris Flynn, head gardener at Dyffryn, says: “The fountain should be a grand spectacle in the middle of the great lawn; instead it is a disappointing concrete hole. From photographs we can tell that it had one tall fountain in the middle with smaller fountains around the outside. It was also filled with many different species of water lily."

Dyffryn Gardens is appealing for public donations to help restore the Great Lawn fountain
The fountain at Dyffryn Gardens

The once-impressive baroque fountain at Bodnant Garden stands on the Croquet Terrace, one of five Italianate terraces designed by owner Henry Duncan McLaren from 1904-1914. It is thought to date from around 1700 by French sculptor Bouchardon, and was brought to Bodnant Garden in 1940.

An elaborate design of dolphin, fish, nymphs on a scalloped edged clam shell, surrounded by waves, has almost completely worn away over the years and the team wants to make a new fountain based on the old design. The first stage will be making a maquette, a 50-60cm scale model of the fountain in clay, from which a full scale version will be produced in stone, which will cost around £2,000.

All money raised from raffle sales at the garden will go towards this initial cost. Gardeners are also busy collecting 'wishing' coins thrown into Bodnant's many pools and ponds for the cause.

To find out how you can support the Dyffryn Appeal see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens/features/dyffryn-gardens-fountain-project and for more information about the Bodnant Garden appeal see https://bodnantgarden.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/polishing-perfection

Gardener David Green collecting wishing coins thrown into the Croquet Terrace fountain at Bodnant Garden, which will be put towards replacing the crumbling water feature
Gardener standing in pool holding coins recovered from fountain
" We aim to restore the fountain and bring some of the grandeur back to the Great Lawn. We’d love for the local community to get behind this project so we can conserve this amazing place for them for the future."
- Chris Flynn, head gardener, Dyffryn Gardens

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