The Head Gardener at Llysdinam Hall Gardens, Becky Keeble-Payne, came to Howey WI to give a fascinating, illustrated talk on the history of the house and gardens, writes Ann Dean.

This ranged from the 1840s mock “Scottish Castle” and planting, through the 1920/30s remodelling into the Art Deco building we see today. 

While the gardens have probably seen even bigger changes from the original walled productive working gardens, feeding the house and estate workers, through entertaining and pleasure gardens, to those more suited to a modern family. For example, the original reservoir holding water in case of fire is now an ornamental lake. The owning family throughout have had deep-rooted love and tradition of leading edge horticulture and it shows in the planting over 180 years, in the 20 acres surrounding Llysdinam Hall. 

Lady Delia Venables influence from 1950s to 2006 is still very much in evidence in the romantic and naturalistic style so suited to the backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains and views over Newbridge-on-Wye, which are stunning. 

Now run by a Charitable Trust, the privately owned gardens continue to progress and there is no lack of enthusiasm from those volunteers and workers led by Becky to continue to restore and develop the gardens. The plans for new areas of planting including new Asiatic plant area were outlined.

The Howey WI members were so inspired that 19 of the group took up the offer of a private guided viewing of the gardens. The tea and cake that followed might well have been billed as afternoon tea. A very good time was had by all on a beautiful afternoon.

Covering six acres in all, the gardens at Llysdinam command sweeping views down the Wye Valley. Successive family members have developed the gardens over the last 150 years to include woodland with specimen trees, large herbaceous and shrub borders and a water garden, all of which provide varied and colourful planting throughout the year.

The Victorian walled kitchen garden and extensive greenhouses grow a wide variety of vegetables, hothouse fruit and exotic plants.