Gardens - Wales
Delightful gardens designed by Clough Williams Ellis
Clough Williams-Ellis, who designed the Italianate village
in North Wales was given Plas Brondanw by his father in
1902. The house and garden had long been abandoned by the
family. Over the next seventy years, he not only restored
the house, he created a unique and typically CWE garden
landscape using the same architectural tricks seen in
Pormeirion but using plants rather than buildings. He relied
on stone walls, topiary and avenues of trees to frame vistas
leading the eye to the distant mountain tops.
The 17thC house is private and is a tall dark stone building with slate roof so characteristic of North Wales. The turquoise eagle on top of the roof and turquoise woodwork are pure CWE panache.
In front of the house is a massive evergreen oak tree with a metal seat painted turquoise. Iron railings and gates around the garden are painted turquoise and this colour theme is continued through all the estate buildings in the gardens as well as the Brodanw Arms and the terraced houses just down the road from the gardens.
The gardens are laid out with carefully trimmed yew hedges which are used to channel the eye to the different views. This is cleverly done to continue beyond the boundaries of the garden, making it seem larger than it is. The use of topiary adds extra interest as do stone pillars and statues.
The attention to detail means the stone planters are carved with images of a small girl holding fruit in her skirt and a small boy holding a basket of fruit.
At the end of a yew tree avenue is a circular garden planted with azaleas and rhododendrons with a small fountain. Elsewhere, yew tree hedges form secret gardens with statues or ponds. Foxgloves, yellow Welsh poppies, pink geraniums, hostas and ferns provide colour and interest.
Don’t miss the delightful quarry garden on the opposite side of the road to the parking area which was landscaped by CWE with two ponds.
On the hillside above it is Pentwr tower, reached by a short walk. This was built by CWE using money given to him as a wedding present by his fellow officers just after the First World War. Apparently he suggested that silver might not be the most useful present…
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