North Wales Festival of Gardens ready to bloom

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Denbighshire Free)

A host of local gardens will take centre stage in a spectacular 16-day event.

Among the gardens with a starring role in the Festival of Gardens North Wales will be Plas Newydd in Llangollen, Caerau Uchaf in Bala. Nant Clwyd y Dre in Ruthin and Dibleys Nurseries just down the road in Llanelidan. Other highlights in Denbighshire will include the annual plant fayre at Bodrhyddan Hall in Rhuddlan on June 11.

Last year’s inaugural festival brought almost 44,000 visitors flocking to the beauty spots involved.

And based on Welsh Government figures for average tourist spend per head, this reaped a dividend of over £1.7 million during the festival.

According to organisers North Wales Tourism, this time the event is spreading over four extra days with even more gardens taking part.

From Saturday May 27 until Sunday June 11, a total of 24 stunning gardens across the region will throw open their gates to thousands of visitors during the second Festival of Gardens North Wales.

The festival, which is being supported by the Welsh Government, will be officially opened at the beautiful Plas Tan y Bwlch gardens near Maentwrog in Gwynedd by Gardener’s Question Time chairman and former TV weatherman Peter Gibbs.

More than 100 unique events are planned over the 16 days of the festival at gardens taking part including musical performances, orienteering sessions, treasure hunts, bug hunts, gardening lectures, family treasure hunts, children’s trails and plant sales.

The festival dates have been arranged to coincide with late-spring flowering displays, which will include rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, tulips and flowering cherries, making this one of the best times of the year to visit the great gardens of North Wales.

Special advisor to the festival once again is gardens guru Tony Russell, renowned as one of Britain’s leading experts on trees and shrubs who also makes regular appearances on the BBC’s Gardener’s Question Time and famously put the Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire on the international tourism map.

He said: “Having worked in horticulture for over 30 years, I can honestly say there is nothing quite like the festival held in any other part of Britain. North Wales has some of the finest gardens in the UK and the festival is a way of telling the world all about them.”

Gardens taking part in the festival from the county of Gwynedd are: Plas Yn Rhiw at Pwllheli, Caerau Uchaf in Bala, Treborth Botanic Garden in Bangor, Crug Farm Plants in Caernarfon, Parc Glynllifon in Caernarfon, Aber Arto Hall in Llanbedr, Plas Glyn y Weddw in Llanbedrog, Plan Tan y Blwch near Maentwrog, Portmeirion in Penrhyndeudraeth, Plas Brondanw at Penrhyndeudraeth, Nanhoron in Pwllheli and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.

In Anglesey it’s Plas Newydd in Llanfairpwll and Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens in Menai Bridge.

In the county of Denbighshire it’s Plas Newydd in Llangollen, Bodrhyddan Hall Gardens in Rhyl, Nantclwyd y Dre in Ruthin and Dibleys Nuseries near Ruthin.

In the county of Powys there’s Powis Castle and Gardens near Welshpool, the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth and The Dingle Garden near Welshpool.

Taking part from the county of Wrexham are Chirk Castle near Chirk and National Trust Erddig near Wrexham.

Gardens from the county of Conwy involved in include Bodnant Garden at Tal y Cafn and Gwrych Castle in Abergele which will be open on May 27, 28 and 29.

Highlights of the Festival of Gardens North Wales:

In Wrexham, throughout the festival the National Trust is holding Big Bug Hunt where visitors can look for big cuddly bugs in the house and cast their eyes over some creepy carvings outdoors by international chainsaw artist Simon O’Rourke. Both parts of the hunt take place daily from 10am to 5pm in the garden and 12.30pm to 3.30pm in the house.

Among the highlights in Conwy is the Dawn Chorus Walk at Bodnant Garden near Colwyn Bay on May 29, starting early from 5.30-7.30am at a cost of £20. It includes a magical tour of the garden at dawn, including an exclusive viewing of the Laburnum Arch and expert birdwatching advice. A full Welsh breakfast will be available afterwards at a cost of £5.

In Gwynedd there is a vintage car rally at Parc Glynllifon, Caernarfon from 10am-5pm on Sunday June 11.

Highlight in Denbighshire comes on Sunday June 11 with the annual plant fayre at Bodrhyddan Hall.

This year for the first time there will be a Friends of the Festival Discount Card costing £5 which will include offers such as free tea/coffee and discounted admission. For more information about the festival go to www.gardensnorthwales.co.uk.

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