Skip to content

Our work in the gardens at Dyffryn

Drone image of Dyffryn Gardens in the autumn of 2024, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Aerial image of Dyffryn Gardens in the autumn of 2024, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Aled Llywelyn

Find out how we look after Dyffryn, from the everyday gardening tasks through to how we’re restoring the gardens now, and what we’ve done so far. Uncover all the ways we look after these gardens for everyone to enjoy.

An Edwardian garden reimagined

Since the sale of the estate in 1937, Dyffryn has experienced changing fortunes where the gardens (and house) have gone through periods of decline and restoration. As a result, much of the original character of the gardens was lost. In 2013, the National Trust took on the lease of Dyffryn with the aim of bringing back the Edwardian splendour to the Grade I listed gardens. Since then, we’ve restored several garden features and have plans to restore many more, including the ‘lost’ garden rooms.

The restoration timeline so far


Replanting the borders lost to bindweed

Lost to bindweed during lockdown, we’re restoring this garden room one border at a time. We’ve restored the first two, focusing on removing the bindweed and removing the soil, then planting a new vibrant planting scheme full of colour and food for pollinators. The final bed is yet to be completed and shows just how much work we’ve done already.

Herbaceous Border in restoration, summer 2023, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Herbaceous Border in the summer of 2023 | © National Trust
Herbaceous Border
Herbaceous Border | © Aled Llywelyn

Understanding the past to inform the future

The gardens as you see them today are the product of a partnership between prominent garden designer, Thomas Mawson, and passionate horticulturalist and owner, Reginald Cory. Together, they created a masterplan for the grounds at Dyffryn that combined tradition and experimentation, centred around the Victorian mansion.

In our approach to restoring the gardens we are building on the spirit embedded in the Cory/Mawson collaboration. Our aim is not to achieve an exact historical recreation but rather to hold the historical Edwardian roots at the heart of what we do and using new and innovative ways to make it work for the future, gardening with biodiversity and climate change in mind.

With much of the original character of the gardens lost to time, we first need to understand what was there before we restore it. You’ll see below a few of the sources we’ve used to help us piece the puzzle together.

A 1923 Edith Adie watercolour of the South Terrace at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
A 1923 Edith Adie watercolour of the South Terrace at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Edith Adie

Watercolour painting of the South Terrace by artist Edith Adie, painted in 1923

We used this watercolour to get a sense of scale and proportion for the yew trees and shrub borders.

1 of 2

Day to day in the gardens

Whilst restoring and developing the gardens is a huge task, routine maintenance of 88 acres of land and garden is also an extensive and ongoing effort. Our team of experienced gardeners and garden volunteers undertake year-round mowing, edging, weeding, deadheading, pruning, sweeping, blowing, skimming ponds, planting, watering, feeding, propagating, seed collecting, potting, tying in, pond maintenance, fencing, drain clearing, pot washing, labelling, plant database updates and more.

Our more seasonal endeavours include hedge cutting a total of 1350m of hedgerows, the management of 15 acres of meadow, staking and training hazel baskets, tree planting, the seasonal pruning of fruit, roses and wisteria, naturalising bulbs in grass and the herculean task of the bedding changeovers which involves lifting the entirety of the current bedding scheme and then planting over 20,000 bulbs and plants twice a year.

Throughout the year we carry out surveys across the gardens to help inform our work, including newt surveys, grassland fungi surveys, annual tree inspections and invertebrate surveys. We also spend time carefully planning garden developments and projects including all our planting schemes for the year.

Gardener with wheelbarrow in a garden
Staff working in the gardens | © Aled Llywelyn

For everyone, for ever

The future of our work at Dyffryn Gardens lies in our commitment to restore the gardens and house whilst underpinning this vital conservation work with a dedication to climate adaptation, the environment and the ecology of this special place.

We’re using the results from the many surveys that have been carried out across the site to curate, maintain and develop this haven of beauty and nature for all the visitors, staff and wildlife who love it.

We know how lucky we are to be the custodians of Dyffryn Gardens, to look after the gardens for everyone, for ever. Thank you for being such a vital part of this journey.

The Dragon Bowl Fountain at Dyffryn House and Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

The North Front of the house at Dyffryn House and Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

History of Dyffryn 

John Cory built the house and gardens at Dyffryn on the wealth he accumulated from his exploits in the coal industry.

Plant a tree at Dyffryn Gardens, Champion Trees at Dyffryn Gardens

Commemorative giving at Dyffryn Gardens 

Find out more about commemorative giving at Dyffryn Gardens.