Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gardens & Gardening

This year we committed ourselves to improving the garden at the rear of our bungalow. Having lived here for 18 months we knew it was the right time to buy a greenhouse and start gardening in a more serious way. In February we ordered our green house which was erected and eventually commissioned by 21st March, the first day of Spring.
We bought packets of seeds which we sowed in seed trays on 21st March. They were faithfully watered as the days wore on and when the seeds grew into seedlings we began to plant them in tubs, containers, hanging baskets and wall baskets. Those left over were planted among the perrenial shrubs in the flower beds I had dug whilst they were growing. This was the first time we had tried ouir hand at growing. We were thrilled at the results.
Part way through this process we visited Bodnant Gardens in the Conwy Valley. It is a huge site on the slope of one side of the famous valley. It was inspirational and we shall visit it many times over the coming seasons to see it in all its glory. We are now members of the National Trust!
At the end of the week we paid a second visit to another National Trust venue, Castell Penrhyn outside Bangor. Only a castle in its building style, it is still worth seeing. Lord Penrhyn was the owner of some slate quarries in North Wales as well as some sugar plantations in the West Indies. The family only visited the Castell 3 times a year but it was kept as if they were in permanent residence. It was built to show off the family wealth from slate and sugar. But, I have to say, it is inspirational. The whole place is designed as one. The doors and all the woodwork are designed in the same style as the furniture. The dining room is a joy to behold. It is crammed full of masterpieces on the wall and trophies from horse racing on the huge dining table. Look behind the screens and you will see the facilities for the gentlemen to relieve themselves as they drank port and the ladies withdrew!
All this and more is available by just driving off the island for a tour in your car. If you wish to confine yourself to the island there is Plas Newydd where the Marquess of Anglesey used to reside. There are lovely gardens, a landing stage with a boat to sail on the Menai Straits and a huge house to explore. For my money the tour de force is Whistler's mural in the dingroom. The famous artist was a great friend of the family and agreed to paint a mural in their diningroom. It is well worth seeing!
Come to Anglesey and see it in all its glory! You will not be disappointed. There is a sea zoo, a butterfly palace, an old courthouse and a victorian gaol to visit. This is in addition to the beautiful symmetric mediaeval castle in Beaumaris. You can go sea fishing, visit a smokery and buy the most tasty smoked salmon you have ever experienced. There are many great eating venues for a taste of seafood and more besides. We even have a vineyard which produces an excellent choice of wine each year.
If you decide to come you will see the sign - "Croeso!" ("Welcome!")
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