On Friday, we visited Bodnant gardens as my pre-birthday treat. The plants were wearing their spring finery and we delighted in the rhododendrons, hellebores, pulmonarias, bergenia and primulas all vying for attention. The magnolia unfurling their leaves and the fields of daffodils were magnificent. Better yet, we noticed some marked similarities in the architecture of Bodnant Hall and Plas, including the particular 3-colour squares used to create the leaded windows in both buildings. Friend Jacquie, who arrived on Thursday night to spend a few days with us, has suggested that we use these colours in our marketing strategy, so we carefully selected some plants to suit such a colour scheme. We will also ask Philly to check the archives this summer to see if she can find out who built Plas and Bodnant and whether there are any links.
In spite of the weather forecast, we enjoyed a warm, dry day out. I ate possibly the best Eccles cake I have ever had and, to really make the day, Mike treated me to my unlimited selection of plants as a birthday present! Taking shameless advantage of such an offer, I stocked up on rhodos, heathers and other plants not previously in my horticultural palette due to the alkaline East Anglian soil.
On Saturday we enjoyed a rather more relaxed day. Jacquie and Tom radically tidied the ‘front’ rooms starting by reorganising the curtain hooks and rings so that they hang and close properly; then hung an assortment of our pictures on the walls; and generally moved on the precious items which seemed to have been becalmed when the tide of interest ran out. Meanwhile I tidied up the house plants which were last previously tended in Wretham, then planted out some of the Bodnant treasures in the lower level garden. we now realise that this is the place with the best depth of soil (yes, the enormously deep 12-20 inches of soil mixed with gravel and slate fragments is our best) and protection from the wind.
The important discovery of the day is that, following our first sunny day in occupation, we suddenly noticed that these front rooms are positioned to benefit from the suns radiance all day – by late afternoon, both rooms were actually warm!
In the evening the four of us went out for my birthday dinner. We had a very delicious and filling meal in Trefrew and drove home under a slender crescent moon before taking pictures of Moel Siabod by moonlight – we hope you can see the beauty in the attached.
Today, after Jacquie and I went to church, we walked part of the circular path which takes you above our house (with even more spectacular views of Siabod), down through a forest walk, and then out onto the slightly damp walk by the river Lledr, then back to Plas about an hour later. After an informal lunch on our new picnic tables, we moved some of the more unsightly items from the paved area in front of the house. Walkers are beginning to drop by on a gratifyingly regular basis, so Jacquie suggested -quite correctly – that it was time for us to move the tools, old garden furniture, inherited planters and other items out of the line of sight from the house so that, once the skip has been uplifted, the view will be markedly improved. I think we will all deserve our dinner and rest tonight!