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Early Flowering for Ancient Trees

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31 March 2017

Summer has arrived early at Plas Tan y Bwlch this year with the rhododendrons already in full bloom.

By mid-April the Rhododendron arboretum has usually blossomed, but this year, trees in the grounds of Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog began to blossom at the end of February and now, they are at their best. Climate change is the main reason for the feast of colour on the slopes of the Maentwrog valley as once again, the gardens experienced a fairly gentle winter and long periods without ice or snow.

The word Rhododendron comes from the Greek word "Rhodo", a rose, and "Dendron" a tree. This particular kind of rhododendron, with its scarlet, pink and white flowers, the Rhododendron arboretum, is the national flower of Nepal and can grow up to 12 meters in height. The rhododendrons at Plas are notable not only because they are among the largest of their kind growing in Wales, but they are also among the oldest of their kind in Britain. Documents show that they were planted in the gardens nearly 200 years ago, less than a decade after they were first introduced to Britain from the Kashmir and Bhutan areas in the Himalayas.

According to garden consultant Tony Russell,

"We're starting to see a changing pattern on these islands. Many plants flower earlier in the year due to the effects of climate change, which is a worry to us all. Here at Plas, we can expect the flowers of the rhododendron arboreum to last until the end of April and as the gardens and Tea Room have now reopened, there’s an excellent opportunity for all to enjoy the amazing colours."

Plas Tan y Bwlch was the home of the Oakeley family who made their fortune from slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog. They invested significantly in the gardens during the 1880s and today, the 13 acres of gardens surrounding the old mansion, include some of the largest trees Wales and the UK, as well as exotic plants and gentle footpaths.

The gardens at Plas Tan y Bwlch are open between 10 and 5, seven days a week until late autumn.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Tearoom opening hours are 11 – 4
  2. For more information, contact Llinos Angharad, SNPA Press Officer on 01766 772237 or 07766 255509