A Tale of Two Welsh Gardens

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of enjoying Karen and Shedman's hospitality...

...how lovely to find fresh flowers from the garden in my bedroom in this dotted blue vase :)

And how fantastic it was to have time to watch the early morning sunlight gradually creep through and light up the garden. I marvelled at how quickly the willow has recovered from its major haircut last year and how much the garden has changed and matured since I first visited it 3 years ago. It's also the first time I've visited in the autumn. As you can see there is still plenty of interest.

Later on it was even nicer to sit outside in the sunshine... In a T-shirt... In October... IN Wales!

When I showed NAH this photo he said Ooooh I'd like to go there. NB He has never expressed a wish to visit a garden ever.

Karen is gradually gathering all her Schizostylis into one spot. Mine seem to have disappeared from my garden :(

Karen caught me taking this picture of her grass. Oh how we laughed about that. The direction her garden faces is perfect for the light to slant through their fluffy heads at this time of the year. I doubt I can get the same effect in my garden. Or if I can, not for such a long period each day.

Naturally I had to admire Shedman's hard work in the vegetable area and say hello to Digger. I rather liked the snazzy new nursery area too, but sadly didn't take a photo to show you.

After our seaside walk on Saturday with Dobby, on Sunday it was time to head inland to visit Elizabeth. On the way over we paused for a while on top of the moors. I rather like how the subtle variations in the vegetation's colours create a tapestry-like effect in this photo.

When we arrived at Elizabeth's, I couldn't stop looking at the view. Her garden is very large and blends in nicely with its surrounding landscape.

It also needs to accommodate Gwenoldy, their holiday cottage plus various outbuildings. I photographed the cottage for future reference so I can tempt NAH for a break in north Wales.

I spent so much time drinking in the view at Elizabeth's (and just chatting away to be honest), the only detailed area I took a photo of is the vegetable garden. I envy her two greenhouses, plus delightful chickens. Elsewhere she is working very hard to create a garden out of an unyielding mountainside. I loved her edible hedge, which echoes the surrounding hedgerows. Plants here need to be tough and windbreaks provided, even though we realised later her cottage's builders centuries ago had selected a relatively sheltered place on the hillside.

After lunch (another day of al fresco dining in Wales, in October!), our brisk walk up to the top of her hill revealed just how breezy it can be as well as giving us further magnificent views.

All too soon it was time to take our leave and head back through the mountains via a slightly different route. The stormy skies meant the sunset slanted right through to colour the very air itself. This photo doesn't do its intensity justice, but it does give you some idea.

Thank you Karen for making such a grand day out happen as well as allowing me to be let loose in your garden. Thank you Elizabeth for your hospitality and willingness to show me your part of the world. It was great to have some time for a proper chinwag with you at last :)

Update: As Karen has gone to the trouble to put it into her comment, it's only fair I refer you to the post about the time we first met, so you can see how her garden has changed :)


  1. What a lovely part of the world - I am not really familiar with Wales, must rectify that. It's also nice to see a normal garden rather than a famous one. Glad you had a good visit.

  2. Hi, Sounds like a lovely weekend, what fantastic gardens to spend time in. It was a wonderful weekend in our part of Wales too; with family staying we spent most of it out in the garden enjoying the sunshine also.

  3. I read Elizabeths blog too, VP, and view her garden with the same envious eyes! Gwenoldy looks like a nice place to stay.

  4. Oh, it looks wonderful! Karen sets very high standards as a hostess - I can see I'll have to sharpen up my act next time you come to stay. A bed strewn with rose petals, perhaps, and a chocolate on the pillow. Can't do much about the view, tho!

  5. Elaine - thank you. In view of your comment I've added them to my Garden Visit list!

    Hillwards - it was the best weekend I've had this year :)

    Chris - fingers crossed I can persuade NAH. He perked up when I told him about the mountain biking possibilities

    Victoria - I'm hoping Luigi and/or Mario will creep in for a cuddle ;)

    BTW readers - Luigi and Mario are cats!

    Your view is fine - I love looking out at your garden over breakfast :)

  6. Thank you for sharing photos of your visits. I enjoyed all the photos - the landscape is so different there than here in the southern United States - but I must say that the sunset photo is the best of all - Beautiful!

  7. Karen's looks wonderful - wonderful garden.

    Gwenoldy is a lovely place to stay too - the holiday cottage is gorgeous, and there is lots to see and do in the area, and the view .... Have spent a very happy week there a couple of years ago.

    Glad you had a good time and def persuade NAH to go.

  8. I am so glad that you enjoyed "The Two Welsh Gardens", it was lovely to have you here.

    I was interested to know how the garden looked last time you visited, so I trawled back through your old posts, it has changed a bit!


    I am still chuckling about catching you photographing the grasses in the garden.
    With love from me and Shedman

  9. What did I tell you about not looking at that view? Impossible not to I know.
    I count myself as very fortunate that I get to visit one of these gardens most weeks. OK, I had to move over 130 miles to do it, but it was worth it:-)

  10. Lea - you're welcome :) I'm pleased you like the sunset photo - the one burned in my memory is even better!

    Zoe - I'm working on him :)

    Karen - thank you for trawling through my archive to come up with my original post. I've added it to the post itself. I also clicked through and read your fab post about my visit. Hasn't the way we blog changed!

    Dobby - how right you were :) NAH is due back from Tywyn tomorrow - I'm anticipating our usual conversation re how far away it is...

  11. It was really good to see you and have a bit more time to talk, walk and wander about! I do hope you and NAH will make it up here sometime. The cottage is booked up until the end of March but we will definitely have some time in the spring and summer and the mountain biking opportunities are considerable, as are the garden visiting and cake eating opportunities. x

  12. Elizabethm - will keep that in mind. Better hold off persuading NAH until next year then. We're thinking about a weekend away soon - might need to see how Barks Cottage is faring then :)

  13. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend VP - must make my way to both gardens in the near future - they are bound to be as delightful as their respective owners :)


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