Thursday, 12 November 2015

National Trust Dyffryn gardens

Having driven past a couple of weeks ago and with not much on the agenda last weekend we decided to go and take a look around Dyffryn gardens in St Nicholas not far from where we live. Dyffryn gardens cover 55 acres that include vast lawns, garden rooms that have been inspired by places all over the world and of course a kitchen garden.

We spent the morning wandering through the shade of the arboretum on what was an unusually sunny autumn day. Emerging from the trees we were greeted by huge lawns of various shapes and sizes designed in Edwardian times no doubt for different purposes.

Despite it being November there was still a huge amount to see in the gardens not just for enthusiasts but for anyone with a passing interest in being outdoors. The garden rooms, each very different in design,  provide snapshots of what's possible in smaller spaces whilst still maintaining the overall grandeur that goes with such bold ideas.

The colours and structure around gardens of this scale at this time of year is unrivaled, with some things having been cut back and others left to provide height and prominence to an arrangement.

Of course of particular interest to me was the kitchen garden. Divided into two walled gardens, one for fruit and the other larger one for vegetables there was still an abundance of food to be harvested. Amongst other things the globe artichokes really stood out, I've already decided I'll be digging up the front garden next year and one of the first plants to go in will certainly be a few of these. With a wait of up to two years for the first harvest it may not be for everyone but the chance of eating my own home grown artichokes is something that I am prepared to wait for.

Inside a long glasshouse along the side of the building grapevines that were rooted outside through holes in the brickwork were carefully trained across the roof. Further through the glasshouse were other less hardy plants some of which has been brought in for winter and some permanent residents that prefer a warmer climate.

As with most vegetable gardens the majority of the growing has now been done for this year. Ready to be picked through the winter were Kale, sprouting broccoli, leeks as well as some great winter salads. All of this produce can be sampled in some fantastic homemade recipes in the onsite cafe.

The best thing for us was that despite the gardens and house giving a formal appearance the whole place is quite relaxed. The gardening staff  that were pottering around were perfectly happy to let children run wild on the lawns or dip their hands into the ponds.Outside of the front of the property there is a children's play area next to n patio where the parents can eat. A thoroughly enjoyable day out and somewhere we will certainly be visiting again.

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