Wednesday, 7 September 2016

An Autumn Visit to Bodnant Garden

It may be 90 degrees and humid outside today, but it’s September and fall is just around the corner, or autumn as they call it in the UK.  We call it autumn as well, but generally speaking, here in the USA we use the term fall when conversing about this last full season of the year.  During our time in England, I never once heard someone use the term fall.  Apparently, it's a North American English term (I'm serious - there is such a thing as North American English).  In the UK, it’s simply and solely called autumn, just one example of the many, many terminology differences we noticed. 

The reason I bring this up is because I just glanced through the photos from our visit to the beautiful Bodnant Garden in Wales last fall, or autumn if you prefer, which is nestled back in Conwy Valley just a short drive from the charming walled town of Conwy and it’s castle.   

And it is those photos that I will share with you today to wrap up our weekend in Wales.  While the weather feels like fall for much of the year in the UK, which some people may like while others not so much, one of the nice aspects of this cooler and more moderate climate is that flowers seem to last for a really long time.  To be honest, I cannot remember exactly when we visited this Garden but I do know it was sometime late in September or October, not a typical time for us to visit gardens for their flowers in much of the USA because really, you wouldn’t see much besides mums, but in the UK, things are still blooming.   

While the foliage was turning that deep shade of red that is a telltale sign of the changing weather, there were still plenty of flowers on display that seemed to not want to listen to Mother Nature, but instead share a last few days of their splendid color with us before they go to sleep for the long winter.   

My senses seemed a bit confused by the feeling of autumn in the air, the vibrant fall foliage, and colorful summer flowers.  

But I’ll take it.  What a wonderful way to spend a lovely autumn day.

The Bodnant Estate, which included a Georgian mansion and 80 acres of what was just pasture and lawn at one time, was purchased by a man name Henry Davis Pochin in 1874, an industrial chemist born in Leicestershire (the county we lived in while in England) who made his fortune by inventing the process that turns soap from brown to white.  Interesting!  Mr. Pochin began the work of turning this hilly site into the 80 acres of stunning gardens you can meander through today, including terraces, ponds, a waterfall, some record UK Champion Trees and a gorgeous tree-lined valley.   

His legacy has carried across the years as four generations followed in his footsteps to continue to develop this amazing place.  In 1949, the family turned over the care of the garden to the National Trust, but they continued to play an active role in Bodnant Garden.  Today the estate is stilled owned by this same family and the heir, Michael McLaren, serves as the garden manager. 

We had fun at the Garden.  

There was lots to see and do.  If you have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews or any children in your life and you've never considered taking them to a garden because what the heck would a kid find fun about visiting a flower garden, well think again my friend.  

A garden is the perfect place to bring kids.  It's like a giant playground, and you might just be surprised by how interested your children really are in plants and flowers.  

And it never hurts when there happens to be a lovely little spot down on the valley floor to get a cup of hot chocolate and a sweet snack on a chilly autumn day.  

Who wouldn't love this place! 

So please enjoy the rest of our photos.  The autumn sunshine, the cool air and the colorful leaves and flowers made for a great day at Bodnant Garden.  

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