Thursday, 11 April 2013

Miss Ponsonby, Miss Butler and a snowy Plas Newydd

or the first of several posts relating to the recent Wales trip
So, I visit Wales often, specially North Wales, even more specifically Portmeirion.  I tell people I go every two years, this is not really so.  It is a rare a year goes by without some sort of visit and this year I already know I am going twice as a minimum.  Am I fond of Portmeirion? on a scale of 10 its a definite 11.
I do not always take the same route when I visit, there are diversions, sometimes (like this visit) snow meant that one road I usually take was not going to be attempted, but without fail I cannot remember ever driving there without passing through Llangollen.  I often stop for lunch there (usually just past there to be honest, a very nice pub that overlooks the steam railway).  I always drive past Plas Newydd the home of the Ladies of Llangollen, I always look at the sign that points to their house and think 'I should stop off and visit there one day' and continue to drive straight past.  This year I decided to rectify that.  The children were warned there would be a garden visit on the way, this time it had to be done.
So, guess what, Llangollen at the time was covered by several inches of snow.  It had been well over a week since it had settled but it looked hardly disturbed, they had had a lot of snow.

There were a couple of reasons why I wanted to visit Plas Newydd, namely Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler who eloped to Wales from Ireland in 1778.  They set up a modest home here in Llangollen and lived there welcoming all sorts of artistic and well to do people who came to visit.  Quite an achievement when you think how far Llangollen is from London and how long travelling anywhere must have taken.  Now opinions differ to exactly the nature of their relationship, but I think it is fair to say that they loved each other and lived together happy in each other's company for the rest of their lives.  The lasting testament of this love is their garden.   Sadly it was covered by snow when we visited and much of the grounds were closed off due to some emergency tree work having to be carried out caused by snow damage.  Even so, I liked it.
They had a tower, how can you not love a garden with a tower?
There is much topiary, which looks amazing set against the snow
They have a stone circle - how incredible is that?
Whilst it was limited what we could access, and what we could access was covered in snow, I still enjoyed the visit.  I might even stop off again one day.

Oh a word of caution, if you internet search Ladies Llangollen you get offered ladies near Llangollen, its not the same thing!

5 comments :

  1. I've vaguely heard of the Ladies of Llangollen until now. You've made their story and garden sound interesting, so I'll have to add it to my list of gardens to visit in North Wales. I'm not normally into topiary but the robin against the snow is pretty good!

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    1. Topiary usually looks good in snow - it takes away anything else that might distract from it - I liked the garden but do want to visit again when I can see more.

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  2. Fabulous garden, even in the snow. LOVE the topiary! And it would be so fun to have a tower in the garden!

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  3. I clearly need topiary, even if we didn't have that much snow (I'm just south of Portmeirion)... it looks beautiful and, like you, I've always meant to stop at Plas Newydd. Now I will!

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  4. I'm another guilty of never calling in at Plas Newydd, but honestly, a stone circle and a tower? What is not to love?! I know that lunch time stop of yours too, excellent place, or at least it always used to be, good to know it is still worth a visit.

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