Bodfach Hall Gardens - 2016

Bodfach Gardens A nother two years have flown by since we last opened the gardens at Bodfach. We have been busy; the heavy snow of recent years laid waste the rhododendrons, crushing them under its unrelenting pressure. So today you will see a garden in recovery. But recovering they are and we can only marvel at nature’s determination to repair and get on with life.

Those of you already familiar with the gardens will notice a new formal garden between the house and the Coach House, designed by Simon. We used the plants that were struggling beneath the Coach House terrace, which are now enjoying a new lease of life in fresh garden compost and thriving in their association with new friends. Some old parkland fencing keeps the rabbits at bay (hooray!) but we are still puzzling over an antidote to the ever-destructive pheasants who take inexplicable pleasure in snapping off the flowers of spring bulbs for no apparent reason. At least the astrantia and geraniums have been left to grow in peace.

None of this is particularly ground-breaking - Chelsea this is not; we have chosen the familiar over the innovative, the comfort of a traditional herbaceous border over the fashionable current trend; we favour the creation of a cosy nook to contemplate a view over the need to jump acrobatically through horticultural hoops. For us, it is enough to let the garden in all its complexity do the talking – we just go along with it and look after it as best we can in the time we have.

Our late spring, although unwelcome in its chilly evenings and overcast days, has meant the best possible outcome for today; we have been crossing our fingers that the wisteria on the South Terrace stays in flower for you, sending its sweet pea-like perfume in generous wafts through the garden. The majority of the rhododendrons were asleep until last week, when they decided it was time to get up and party. It is possibly the best show of flowers we have had during the late May Bank Holiday. Incidentally, the Chelsea coverage mentioned that 2016 is the centenary of the Rhododendron Society, established at the Royal Hospital Gardens, and one can only marvel at the exploits and courage of the Victorian plant hunters, scouring the Far East in often dangerous territory for the best specimens to bring home.

It is mainly the roses which are absent. It has just been too cold.

The charities you will be helping us raise funds for are twofold; firstly Dolen Ffermio, a local charity established in 1992 in Llanfyllin mainly to help improve livestock and equipment for villagers in the remote villages of Eastern Uganda in order to maintain their self sufficiency.

The second charity is the Montgomeryshire branch of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust which is dedicated to the rescue and preservation of historic gardens or sites at risk in Wales, from the smallest cottage garden through urban parks to estates.

We have been incredibly lucky with support from our team in getting Bodfach ready for today; our thanks go to Alan C, Mark, Geoff, Diana, Alan V, Barbara, Ruth, Dana and Daniel. We are very grateful to have live music from the musicians of the Maldwyn Strings, who are donating their time for our enjoyment. It is the kindness of people such as these whose combined efforts make such a difference for those in need that is so life affirming.

And, finally, our thanks to you, for coming to support us. We hope you enjoy the gardens, the music and the cake and hope the weather puts its hat on for the day!

Maggie Baynes (May 2016)