Garden Answers|May 2017

Bodnant Garden in Wales is famous for its Laburnum Arch, but has plenty more to offer the spring visitor, Melissa Mabbitt discovers.

Cascading golden flowers stream from the famous Laburnum Arch at Bodnant Garden in late spring, creating a tunnel of light that you can almost reach up and touch. It’s the longest and most spectacular arch of its kind in the UK, and it’s also thought to be the oldest, first planted more than 130 years ago using the dazzling ‘Vossii’ laburnum. This cultivar has the longest dangling blooms – up to 60cm (2ft) each – which are a glowing lemon yellow.

After serious renovation a decade ago the arch is once again performing at its peak. It flowers between late May and mid-June and although the display is spectacular, it’s short-lived. Thankfully there’s much more to see in this breathtaking spring garden.

Late tulips and alliums crowd the formal beds that gradually slope down from the Laburnum Arch, accompanied by hot-hued and acid-green spring perennials. Walking across the gently rolling lawns, past a great chestnut tree and circular herb garden, the garden drops down into borders filled with azaleas, viburnum and other spring-flowering shrubs. Rhododendrons and late-blooming camellias crowd around the paths that pick out the length of the garden. Wooded groves are filled with spring bulbs, unfurling ferns and hostas.

Sweeping grandeur

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