Lifestyle,  North Wales,  Travel,  UK

Bodnant Garden in February

Hello from National Trust Bodnant Garden on a windy February morning. I’m here with my camera and woolly mittens to bring you all the February highlights which I know you’re excited to see.

You might be reading this because you found my Bodnant Garden in January blog and you’re eager to hear the next monthly installment. I do hope so. If not, it might be a good time to catch up. So pour yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable

Bodnant Garden is my nearest and most visited National Trust Garden, just down the Conwy Valley, a few miles from my home in North Wales.

Today’s forecast was not promising. The relentless wind and rain that has characterised January and February is not showing any signs of abating just yet. According to the BBC weather App, we were due an hour from 11-12pm where it might not rain. So we grabbed our boots and bobble hats, charged up the camera and hot footed up to Bodnant Garden for our allocation of decent weather.

And if you’re wondering – it turned out just glorious. The sun shone pretty much for the whole time.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A MONTH MAKES

4 weeks on from our January visit, the Garden felt properly geared up for Spring. Most of the pathways were open, with just a few closed off for safety reasons after Storms Ciara and Dennis.

If you think the garden will be dull and colourless at this time of year – think again!

We were quite taken aback by the blaze of colour throughout the garden. In the midst of skeletal trees coming into bud, there would suddenly be a massive blossom tree dripping with bright pink blooms.

I hadn’t expected the magnolias to be in bloom just yet, but many of them are. The Camellias are at their gorgeous best and even some early azaleas and rhododendrons took us by surprise too.

If you love all the early spring shades of pink, yellow and white then you need to get yourself down to the Winter Garden. They were handing out specially printed maps of the Winter Garden to help identify the many and varied plants.

You might know I’m a bit of a Hellebore geek. They’re known sometimes as the Christmas or the Easter rose mainly because they flower gloriously right through the first 4 months bringing their breathtaking shade of pinks, purples and whites to the bleakest part of the year.

LET’S TALK DAFFODILS

Everyone’s spring favourite. Especially in Wales with St David’s Day just around the corner. Many of the super cute dwarf varieties such as Tete-a-Tete were trumpeting their little hearts out. But the “host of golden daffodils” across Old Park is not quite there yet. I would say give it no more than a week and it’ll be a sight to behold.

LITTLE PEOPLE

There’s nothing more lovely than seeing a magical place like Bodnant through the eyes of little ones. We were delighted to find Ysgol Craig y Don learning all about nature on their school trip.

We followed the excited squealing down into Yew Dell and were tempted to join in with their “stick finding” activity, whilst the poor teacher were doing their best to avert a mass snowdrop trampling.

OPEN FOR COFFEE

The Old Mill was open for business today serving hot coffees and teas with homemade cakes. If the seats weren’t quite so soggy we might have sat for a while and watched the “rain filled” stream thunder through the garden. It’s a long time since I’ve seen it so full.

We headed up the hill through the Camellia garden, across to the Pin Mill and lily pond, which was frozen last month, and up to the East Lawn. From here you’ll find the best views across the snow topped mountains. Whoever chose this spot to build the property picked a good one.

The more formal beds in the top part of the garden are chock full of crocuses and tulips waiting their moment to burst forth. I reckon St David’s Day weekend will be the perfect time to visit.

THE SECRET GARDEN

If you can’t get enough of this glorious garden, you can book cinema tickets to see the new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 book – The Secret Garden– which was filmed here. So if you missed seeing Colin Firth and Julie Walters running around the Garden in their finery, you can see the finished product on the screen.

And they’re busy planting up a beautiful entrance area to the ticket office to celebrate the opening of the film on 17 April. I can’t to see it. The garden and the film.

When I first had this idea of visiting Bodant Garden 12 times in 2020, I wondered if there would be enough difference from month to month. Well we’ve visited twice and that theory has been blown out of the water. You could probably visit every week and notice new things.

Have you been to Bodnant Garden in the last month? What did you notice? I’d love to hear your highlights in the comments.

That’s all for now,

Judith xx

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