There is a house on our street with a laburnum tree in their garden. It’s perfect for gauging when to visit Bodnant Garden’s laburnum arch, so when we noticed it was in full bloom at the end of May we decided to go for a visit. We weren’t disappointed!
We had no other plans for the day, so after seeing the arch we wandered through the winter garden. A couple days earlier there had been a heavy rain overnight, and we noticed that many of the rhododendrons had lost their blooms — the petals lay in a thick carpet on the ground.
As always seems to happen on my visits, I discovered a plant I had never noticed before. This time it was Leucothoe Axillaris “Curly Red” in the winter garden — a shrub with curly red leaves (true to its name) and, at this time of year, clusters of tiny white flowers.
I also noticed this fern unfurling right at the edge of the winter garden, before entering the Old Park meadow.
We decided to meander from the Old Park down through the Yew Dell, which we often skip because we tend to walk through the garden counter-clockwise and are heading quickly from the Far End to the exit. As we got near the Far End, we encountered a Silent Space — a trail with a sign encouraging you to walk through silently. I was keenly aware of all the birds around us there, and I enjoyed taking the time to quietly appreciate the trees and flowers around us.
At the Far End we picked up sandwiches and crisps from the refreshments stand and found a table for a light picnic. Although we visited on a week day, it was during half term and there were plenty of families also stopping to eat. I did a bit of people watching and enjoyed listening to one dad negotiating with his kids to get them to all eat their lunches.
After lunch we strolled along the skating pond, where I stopped to watch a cluster of dragonflies, and then continued past many of the garden’s champion trees along the river toward the Old Mill. (We skipped Furnace Meadow and Furnace Hill, since we visited it shortly after it opened last year, but I like the area and plan to go back and see how it looks at another time of year.)
From there it was up the Magnolia Walk to the Pin Mill, and then up the terraces to the Rose Garden where the roses were just starting to open. As we went up I meandered around the wisteria, which was gorgeous and smelled amazing.
We stopped by The Bath, but the entire area was roped off as they are renovating it. So we found a shady spot on the Front Lawn to sit for a rest, and then made our way out to catch the bus home. Until next time!