Words and pics

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We thought we would let those of you who don’t follow us on Instagram or Twitter have a quick look at what’s great in the garden and some of the lovely comments in the Visitors Book over the past few weeks.

Rain on the sweet peas (Photo: Lizz Saxon)

My heart feels at ease, my breath deeper. I am so grateful for the love and care felt in this place. 

Honeysuckle Serotina by the small pond

Pure Magic! Thank you for your beautiful, creative and awe-inspiring display!

Wild raspberry – great flavour!

Wildlife is amazing! Scenery is beautiful! Pond epic! Great place for kids!!

Rosebay Willow herb and Kiwi Fruit in the woodyard

What an amazing garden!  Thank you for sharing it with us. 

a riot of colour

A beautiful place to visit. Nature has been captured in this mesmerising and magical piece of land.  I’ll never see ground elder in the same light again!

Lilium Regale on the patio

Tranquil, immersive, relaxing, absorbing, natural, beautiful, encouraging, thought provoking, enchanting. imaginative fascinating, magical, stunning, incredible … the list goes on!   {edited from a much longer list – Ian}

Looking down the potager

Just one word to sum it up ….. enchanting!

Clematis by the tea-room

Every nook and cranny brings joy … Gorgeous!

Primula Florindae with Fox & Cubs in the background

Truly delightful and magical garden gave me a lot of inspirational ideas. 

… and that’s just a few of the comments. Come and add yours to The Book!




Country Homes and Exteriors!

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Yet more exposure for the garden today as Country Homes & Interiors publishes the long awaited article and photos by Carole Drake.

Gwent’s Most Magical!!

I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s part of the double page spread that starts it off (on page 100, since you asked!).

Not so sure about the “Diving”!

And here’s the last page.

The technical stuff

A really big “Thank You” to Carole Drake for persuading us to let her photograph the garden and for getting Country Homes to publish it.

Have we found the Bedd – Part 2

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Regular readers will remember a recent blog wondering whether we had found the Bedd (grave) which gives the house and stream its name.  Well, it appears we probably hadn’t.

By chance, last week I received an e-mail from a colleague on the Brecon Beacons Local Access Forum.  He just happens to work (at the moment) for the Clwyd-Powys Archeological Trust, so I pinged a reply and asked if he could see if the Trust had any records which might give the answer.

Yes they did.  There are two possible Bronze Age round barrows on Pen Twyn Mawr, just at the top of the Nant-y-Bedd stream.  To the untutored eye they don’t look like much, and both appear to have modern stone cairns built on top of them.

Archeological site CPAT5104…

..described as:  Possible burial cairn comprising disturbed area of turf-covered stone around 4m across x 0.2m high. A modern cairn lies adjacent. 

This cairn was apparently first noted on the Ordnance Survey in 1916.


Archeological site CPAT65001..

..described as :  Possible cairn comprising spread of partly turf-covered stones c. 6m across x 0.2m high, lying beneath a modern cairn.

So there you have it, from the ‘horse’s mouth’ as they say, the true origin of the name.

Many thanks to Jeff Spencer and the Clwyd-Powys Archeological Trust for the info and photos.

Ferns unfurling

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I did a blog about ferns some years ago, but at this time of year they always look so spectacular as the fronds poke out from what looks like a dead lump of brown crud and slowly unfurl into the graceful leaves that persist for the rest of the year.

Here in no particular order are some shots I took late on Sunday as the sun was going down and the ferns were coming up. Hopefully the cold snap won’t affect them.

Will it really look good eventually?


Tight and hairy


in the grass

early birds

… OK just one more

New venture

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We’ve taken a major step this year by joining in with the Gardeners’ World Magazine 2for1 scheme.  In other words, with one of their cards, two of you get into Nant-y-Bedd for the price of just one of you!  More details are in this month’s Gardeners’ World issue which comes out today!

One of only 23 gardens in Wales, we’re in great company.  Here’s a selection of others: National Botanic Gardens of Wales (not bad for starters, eh?), Powis Castle, Veddw House, Dingle  Garden and Dyffryn Fernant.

So get out there, get your magazine and make the most of the offer!  By the way, you’ll find us on page 60 of the guide or here

For those with a photographer’s eye, the magazine is asking for your favourite shots of participating gardens to be sent in via ‘social media’ to possibly be featured in a monthly round-up of the best shots.

Have we found the Bedd in Nant-y-Bedd?

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After the tremendous storm in November last year which washed away the central part of ‘Daffydd’s Wall’,

Dafydd’s wall, as it was

All gone, after the storm.

we have finally got around to having it rebuilt, by Bruce Rogers.

Bruce’s new wall and Ian’s metal fencing

But that’s not what this is really about.

With the new wall came the opportunity to re-align the fence above it, by the maple and walnut trees.

On the weekend, I pulled out the old fence which was erected by Sue’s Dad about 25 years ago.  I have to say he did a superb job.  The wire fence itself was in first class condition and there were so many staples holding it in place that it took all of Saturday morning just to get the wire loose!  Most of the posts came out easily, but the corner one took a long time and a lot of head scratching before a solution could be found. Inserted to just over 2 feet it was a swine to get out!

The new fence is in line with the wall and so we have gained a bit of extra ‘garden’. Sorry, sheep.

When Sue started to clear the rank growth and hard rush, she came across a couple of large flat stones.  Could this be the Bedd? {Regular readers will know that the name of the house – Nant-y-Bedd – means Stream of the Grave}.   We have wondered for many years about the location of the Bedd and maybe now we’ve found it!

Trying to dig out a mass of hard rush, the spade kept hitting solid rock, just a few centimetres below the surface.  Abandoning the rush removal for a few moments, we started to strip back the soil and there it was, a perfectly flat, large stone – a grave stone?  Carrying on, we found five more big, flat stones covering an area about three yards square – a mass grave?

Mass Bedd or something else???

There seems to be some space under at least one of the stones – it sounds hollow when tapped – but I’m too superstitious to go lifting a gravestone.

We’re going to make a feature of it, maybe with a couple of seats or a bench, where visitors can sit and wonder who is beneath their feet.

Alternatively of course, it could simply be where the generator which supplied the house with electricity before the mains came was situated.  But that would be boring wouldn’t it?

Elf and Safety

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January is a time for getting matters sorted out for the coming season, and one of the things on the (long) list was finding a way to make the bridges safer, particularly after a drop of rain – not that we’ve had much of that recently as my hydro returns clearly show.

When wet, all the bridges become a bit like skating rinks – or ski jumps in the case of the rope one – as algae forms a sort of slimy but invisible surface on the timbers.  The only recourse to a safer crossing is regular scrubbing with detergent (Ecover, of course, so that the stream doesn’t get polluted by normal detergents!).  It’s hard work and time consuming and doesn’t last very long.

We thought about covering them with chicken wire, which you often see on stiles and bridges in the countryside, but rejected that idea as being potentially as hazardous as the algae in the longer term.

A lot of Google searching came up with a company that supplies, among others, the Brecon Beacons National Park. So what works for them must work for us.

A long exchange of e-mails later with the long-suffering Barry – trying to work out the best balance of cost and safety – led to four big packages arriving a week or so ago.  This meant a looong day of scrubbing before a further day or so of screwing!

Beforehand the treads on the bridges looked a bit like this..



… then on to work with the scrubber…

Before and after

Before (bottom) and after

… then on hands and knees fitting the treads.  Here’s the first two..

below the turbine house

below the turbine house

No more slipping for Indiana Jones!

No more slipping for Indiana Jones!

The one by the house however posed a bit of a problem.  The treads have a slightly raised middle, to let water run off more easily.  The width of the non-slip patches meant they didn’t secure sufficiently, so it was back on the phone to Barry who came up with a solution.  Cut the patches in half and put one on each tread rather than alternately.  He arranged to collect them, cut them and return them – all of which took only four days.


new “Mini-treads”

After about 650 screws – fortunately self-drilling and self-countersinking! – all was done and Oreo came to inspect.


Who are this wonderful company?  They are called Gripclad (www.gripclad.co.uk) and Barry was as helpful as anyone could possibly be.  Not a cheap option, but the saving in time and effort, plus the peace of mind that visitors will be safe makes it worthwhile. Hopefully it will be a scorching hot summer and they won’t be needed, but we all know what Welsh weather can be like..

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