Bodfach Hall Gardens - 2014

Bodfach Gardens T wo years have gone by since our last Garden Open, well, flown by.
The damage done to the mature rhododendrons by the prolonged and heavy snow of last April was so extensive it seemed as though a giant had stomped through the garden with heavy ten-league boots on without a care in the world. So bad was the effect of snow upon the lower branches, that they eventually gave up and snapped off under the weight.

And so, nature begins its cycle of regrowth. Disaster never lasts long enough for despair to take hold and soon tiny shoots were springing up all over the surviving branches. The sculptural beauty of these remaining branches added more than a silver lining to the ravaged landscape and we held our breath for another year to pass before the kaleidoscopic sprays of colour returned to edge the swathes of green. Bloodied but unbowed, you will see a huge difference in these once familiar boulders of colour but one can only marvel at Mother Nature’s power of regeneration.

This year has also seen the arrival of a new head gardener at Bodfach, Joe Rossi, who has taken hold of the essence of the place with remarkable intuition and skill, backed up by a formidable knowledge of plants and their temperaments, something all gardeners aspire to but very few master. His has been a sure and steady guiding hand, without which a garden of this size and diversity would very swiftly have descended into chaos and disorder. We have much to thank him for.

Another new development has been the little garden by the cottage, Hafod Y Gan, fashioned out of the remains of an old kitchen garden, where once a glasshouse ran along the length of a ten foot high south facing brick wall. Simon has teased from the nooks, crannies and crevices receptacles for a plethora of cottage garden favourites, the effect of which is so uplifting, you could spend many hours just pottering around, accompanied by the sound of the little fountain playing in what was once the fish pond.

The walled garden at the far end of the Coach House, started by us two years ago as a kitchen garden, has metamorphosed into a cutting garden and general place to relax and have a glass of something cool – that is, if one made the time, which never seems to happen. The cardoons and angelica seem to have put on triffid-like amounts of weight, as their roots have at last found the rich underbelly of compost we laid at the garden’s inception. This is most definitely the Venus to Hafod Y Gan’s Mars, both happily mirroring the styles of their originators. Every garden should have at least a corner devoted to each of the inhabitants of the house it is attached to – it is, quite simply, the best way to avoid war.

Finally, we would like to thank our fantastic team Geoff, Wendy, Alan, Mark, Joe and Claire. As we hold our breath for one more time, praying the rain will stay away, we hope you have a wonderful afternoon sharing the garden we have had the privilege of looking after for seven years.

The Garden Open raised £500 for Montgomeryshire Against Pylons and £150 for Cae Bodfach, the Community Field in Llanfyllin.

Maggie Baynes (June 2014)