Thinking of spring and the Dell at Bodnant

The Dell at Bodnant

Spring in the Dell at Bodnant

Seeing all the poor Northerners emerge from the snow is a reminder of our ritual spring trip to Bodnant in Wales to shake off winter by visiting one of the world’s most beautiful gardens.

You would have a cold heart indeed to not be completely transported by the garden at Bodnant.

I remember the sunny invitation of fields of daffodils, the exquisite Laburnum walk raining above us and ancient blossoming espaliered fruit trees basking along high brick walls.

But the wooded area with its richly painted rhododendrons had a true fairytale magic and ‘the Dell’ is often referred to (as I found in my photo hunt) as a favourite part of the garden by many visitors.

I made this watercolour of the Dell on a day of beautiful spring sunshine as a couple lay in the small clearing beside one of the garden’s soaring metasequioas. I reworked my original sketches and  early attempts to get to this version.

According to the Monumental Trees site ‘The .. metasequioa or dawn redwood.. was once one of the most widespread tree species in the Northern hemisphere (during the Tertiary period). Fossils have been found across the northern hemisphere, including Greenland and Spitzbergen, dating from when the continents were further south, and close together sharing a common flora.’

(They also recommend you – respectfully – hug a metasequoia if you get chance as one of our true living fossils and I endorse this for these and any other tree you fancy)

My photos of the day were a bit hard to reproduce but I found an almost exact match taken around the same time and year by Christine Mathews – what are the chances?

If you need transporting a google search on Bodnant images will have you feeling revived from any trace of winter blues in no time. ( Department of Horticulture, Christine Mathews 1990


8 thoughts on “Thinking of spring and the Dell at Bodnant

  1. LOVE your picture. Reading your post reminded me of just how much I miss the seasons here in Jakarta. With just 2 seasons, hot and wet, and hotter and dry I feel I’m dipping out a bit on spring, autumn and winter. Spring is a particularly lovely season in Europe and although I love my life in Indonesia, sometimes a bit of snow or the sight of your beautiful dell wouldn’t go a miss!


    • Hi Lottie – I’m so glad you like the painting – it’s quite special to me. I agree it’s hard to entirely shrug off the climate you grew up in and I think the rhythm of seasons gets in your DNA some how.


    • Hi Nigel – Actually I should also thank you for the star award – not sure what to do with awards yet – but it’s really very kind to pass this on and to put with in fine company. I follow some of the blogs already and will definitely have a look at the others. I should also have added you onto the Bodnant post as your blog has had me reminiscing about spring in the UK. The change from winter to spring is just as welcome here but not so marked these days. The way the weather is going here at the moment I think the mark between seasons will become even slighter. (still 28C at 12pm last night – cool air just coming through this morning). My poor autumn blush of roses are sun scorched.


      • Thanks for the reply! As I go to bed the temperature is due to drop to -4c overnight, and cold again tomorrow, so more work on the blog rather than gardening- I’m just putting together a post about climate change and how gardeners can cope!


      • I was just thinking today how many signs there are which demonstrate how we are actively trying to adapt. Large trees in parks are kept in a deep blankets of pine-bark. All large institutions have installed water tanks to keep their gardens going. All new street trees are planted with a drought mode deep watering tube.


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