September 4, 2012

Dyffryn Fernant – a holiday discovery

Summer holidays present a great opportunity to discover new places and in particular, new and exciting gardens. Dyffryn Fernant nestles in the shadow of the Preseli mountains in the depths of Pembrokeshire just outside of a village called Dinas Cross where my Father was brought up and where I spent many childhood summer holidays.

Perhaps I like the idea of finding a special place in a general location that is already dear to my heart and perhaps that also slightly colours my judgement of that special place? But it’s not just me. Stephen Anderton quotes “A heart-lifting surprise, a cache of gorgeous, sophisticated gardening”. And he’s right too! It’s also famously photographed by garden photographer, Charles Hawes, based at the Veddw at the other end of Wales and featured in their book Discovering Welsh Gardens.

So you have to see this place and you have to meet its creator, Christina Shand who is charming, eloquent and unassuming in equal measure. There is even a little cottage on site available to let at highly competitive rates, so if travelling from a distance, why not make a bit of a holiday of it?

Sculptural focal points abound throughout the garden and here we  look towards the wild flower meadow out over the bog garden with it’s polished stainless steel obelisk, designed by Christina’s partner, David Allum and framed by magnificent Inula afgahanica.

Bog garden with stainless steel obelisk


The meadow itself is sublime with wild versions of many architectural plants such as Eupatorium, Filipendula and Angelica in abundance.

Wild angelica, eupatorium and filipendula


This a garden of many surprises and it also yields a very high quality of herbaceous planting as well as a large scale grid planting of ornamental grasses. Here we see veronicastrum, thalictrum, achillea, astilbe and persicaria in a terrific mixed planting. Considering the absolute deluges we’ve all suffered, don’t they look in a fabulous state.

Veronicastrum virginicum 'rosea' in mixed herbaceous border


And this is a place to relax and spend time too.

Time to chillax

Contact Christina and David via their website and treat yourselves to a great day out.