Plas Tan y Bwlch

Plas Tan y Bwlch Gardens

Plas Tan y Bwlch

Garden Restoration

During the winter of 2013 - 2014 north west Wales was battered by a succession of terrible storms culminating in the 'St Valentine's Day Storm' which subjected Plas Tan y Bwlch to wind speeds in excess of 100mph on the 13th and 14th of February 2014.

As a result, many of the original trees planted during the 19th and early 20th centuries were destroyed. Many more plants, including shrubs and members of Plas Tan y Bwlch’s important rhododendron collection, were destroyed by the larger trees crushing them as they fell.

The formal and woodland garden extends to around 13-acres (5-hectares) and much of what was planted was done so by Plas Head Gardener, John Roberts in the 1880s for the owner at the time, William Edward Oakeley.

Some of the devastation caused by the Valentines Day Storm

Some of the devastation caused by the Valentines Day Storm (© SNPA)

Our Head Gardener, Chris Marshall standing by a tree root

Our Head Gardener, Chris Marshall standing by a tree root (© SNPA)

Although a dreadful experience at the time, it now provides the Snowdonia National Park Authority with an opportunity to replant and regenerate the garden in a way that will ensure its survival into the next century and beyond.

Recommendations are made to replace the destroyed plants on a ‘like for like’ basis, but of course given that the original collection was planted over 100 years ago during the Victorian era, some of the original plant cultivars are no longer available and therefore suitable substitutes have been recommended.

Our staff have been extremely busy, but we have also had a helping hand from others like the Snowdonia Society who have been extremely proactive in helping us achieve our goal of regenerating the gardens.

Seed pods of the Magnolia Campbelli before planting

Seed pods of the Magnolia Campbelli before planting (© SNPA)

Snowdonia Society Volunteers busy in our gardens

Snowdonia Society Volunteers busy in our gardens (© SNPA)

The garden created by the Oakeley family was a garden for all seasons. It included spring flowering plants such as rhododendrons and camellias, summer flowering hydrangeas and eucryphias, autumn leaf-colouring trees such as Japanese maples and oaks and winter shrubs such as Christmas box and witch hazel.

Given the Snowdonia National Park Authority’s objective to encourage visitors to Plas Tan y Bwlch throughout the year, it is important that any re-planting programme includes a carefully selected collection of these plants.

For more information and pictures of the garden restoration, follow our 'Garden Restoration' blog.