Llanover park, garden & arboretum
We are so lucky to be able to enjoy the gardens at Llanover created by my Great-great-great-great-grandfather Benjamin Waddington at the end of the eighteenth century. He used the Rhyd-y-meirch stream to create a garden with notable water features and trees such as the London Plane which had recently been introduced into Great Britain. In the 1830s Benjamin Hall ( Lord Llanover) after whom Big Ben is named, did further tree planting and enclosed the park within a stone wall.
CADW:Welsh Historic Monuments, the government agency which aims to protect and preserve historic buildings and monuments has graded the Landscape Park including the garden as Grade 11*
In 1792 Benjamin Waddington (1749 – 1828) purchased Ty Uchaf. He laid out the garden and parkland when Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716 – 1783) ideas were influencing planting schemes. Formality had given way to a fashion for landscaping vast areas utilizing the natural features of the land.
Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) who was the intellectual successor to Capability Brown, preferred terraces and more formal grounds around a house and encouraged his clients to build Ha-Ha’s which ‘borrowed’ landscape thus extending the gardens with views of grazing livestock.
We do not know who designed the gardens at Llanover but it is likely that these landscaping trends influenced Benjamin Waddington as seen in his plantings of London Plane Trees and Beech which are still growing today. From our records we know that he also planted Larch and in 1800 a Rhododendron ponticum from a seedling.
He used the Rhyd y meirch stream which flows throughout the garden to create calm ponds, cascades, weirs and further streams of running water.
Waddington built a circular walled garden with a dovecote and a Ha Ha at Llanover .
In the 1830s Benjamin Hall, who married Waddingtons’ daughter, Augusta (later to become Lady Llanover), enclosed the park within a stone wall with three gated entrance lodges.
In a dry Summer the outlines of a formal system of paths and beds and a croquet lawn can be seen on the main lawn. These features were added by the grandson of Lady Llanover, Lord Treowen who lived at Llanover from 1912 until his death in 1933. In 1922 he planted the avenue of Sweet Chestnut Trees, under which succeeding generations have planted spring bulbs and encouraged wild flowers to flourish.
My grandparents moved into Llanover in 1933 before leaving for India. During WW11 the park was a base for American soldiers preparing for the D-day landings. In 1960 my father returned from the East coast of America, where he had admired the spectacular colours of their autumn. He started planting trees notably Acers, Nyssas, Hickories, Euonymus & Liquidambers to achieve similar displays of colour here.
Over 20 different Magnolias have been planted to provide spring interest. To shelter and protect this new planting from the North easterly wind, conifers were also planted. Over the last 40 years he has travelled widely with the RHS and IDS bringing back many new plants, so the garden has Mexican oaks, Australian eucalyptus, Embothriums and Eucryphia glutinosa from Chile, unusual Pieris and a collection of Camellias from Mount Congreve, near Waterford, Ireland amongst other rareties.
My husband and I continue the family tradition of planting trees, shrubs and bulbs. The spectacular herbaceous borders, with a depth of 18 feet in the round garden were designed by Mary Payne. Elsewhere the borders have been replanted or embellished since 2014 when Peter Hall formerly Head Gardener for the National Trust at Dunham Massey, Stourhead and Powis Castle, became Head Gardener at Llanover. In 2019, Pascal Shenton was appointed to fill the ’ Big Boots’ left by Peter on his retirement.
Llanover House & Garden School