It’s a glorious spring day, you are in North Wales, and what are you going to do with yourself for a pleasant afternoon? In my world that means that a bit of garden-bothering is always on the cards. I spend quite a bit of time around there and when the opportunity arises I like to visit places I haven’t been before. This time I ended up right on Hells Mouth Bay at Plas Yn Rhiw. The house dates back to the 16th century and was rescued from near dereliction by the Keating Sisters. In this endeavour they had advice from Clough Williams Ellis whose own creation, Portmeirion, is just further back along the coast. CWE is one of my heroes so finding a connection between the two places was an added bonus.
I went primarily for the garden. The house is very pretty, very solid with the incredibly thick welsh walls designed to keep out the excesses of the weather. It is a nice house to look around as it isn’t fancy, quite plain really, and it looks liveable in. It is owned by the National Trust, given to them by the last of the sisters in memory of their parents.
The formal garden is not huge, but very pretty. This time of year the magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas are looking quite fantastic. The box hedging frames the garden areas well, though it looks like it might struggle a bit with the sea breezes coming in in places.
There are a lot of native ferns coming up and in a few weeks they will look lovely. The ferns are growing everywhere, in the formal garden, on the walls and in the old ruined chapel which has created a small shady nook.
It is a noticeable the amount of small spring flowers dotted around. Particularly the primroses which are dotted around everywhere.
The tulips are just past their peak, and yet still looked beautiful with their just blown petals gleaming in the sun.
From the house you look across the formal box parterre and then out to the sea. It is a perfect and peaceful setting this time of year. The sun gleams over the almost mill-pond like sea in the bay and the only sounds are the loud buzzing of bees and the bird song.
There can be no better way to spend an afternoon (if not in my own garden that is!)
And yes, there will be posts about Portmeirion – that is not negotiable.
more info on Plas yn Rhiw: