Saturday, May 01, 2004

Port Meirion

Off to Portmeirion first thing this morning, words fail me but very taken with the cut out statue in the garden. Portmeirion is a very Italianate village and everything was picture perfect. M and I had a wander through the shops and couldn't resist making some purchases. We looked for some of the china that Iris had but they only seem to make the thicker pottery now. M bought some things for Maria as she loves the designs.

We then went off into the gardens, they are magnificent. The camelias and rhododendrons were magnificent and so big, but the cutout picture pretending to be a garden statue really cracked us up. We spent quite some time walking around all the paths. There was a beautiful lake with bridge over it and a Japanese pagoda. I liked the frog and crocodile carved out of wood, the view out over the bay, it was all spectacular.

Clough Williams-Ellis built Portmeirion from 1925 to 1975 on his own private peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia in Wales. He wanted to show that 'the development of a naturally beautiful site need not lead to its defilement' - hmmm not sure about this one really. His life work was in architecture and landscape design. He was passionate about the protection of rural Wales and conservation generally. His daughter Susan and her husband Euan established Portmeirion Pottery in 1960. In 1972 Susan created Botanic Garden which proved to be a classic design and is popular to this day.

Caernafon Castle was out next destination. We parked under the shadow of the castle, which was built by Edward I. Caernafon is located at the southern end of the Menai Strait between north Wales and Anglesey, 8 miles south west of Bangor. The tradition of the British monarch's eldest son being conferred with the title of Prince of Wales started at this time when Edward's son was invested at this castle in 1301. During Edward I's invasions of Wales, this was strategically an excellent place to build a castle. It was preceded by first a Roman fort, and then a Norman motte and bailey - built by Hugh of Avranches around 1090. This motte was incorporated into the Edwardian castle, but was destroyed around 1870. We walked up the hill to the Roman fort (Segontium) which was situated in a position to look out over the whole area. So many things to see and do, we wanted to fit a visit to Bodnant Gardens in as well. The garden has two parts. The upper garden around Bodnant Hall consists of the terraced gardens and informal lawns shaded by trees.
The lower portion, known as the "Dell" is formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn and contains the Wild garden. It is good to see all the gardens and how well the plants grow here. They just bloom so well, must be all the rain, but they just seem more prolific and vibrant than at home.

1 comment:

  1. huh - nice to know some mothers love their daughters....where's my portmeirion pottery? huh? huh?

    i am an ungrateful brat :-)


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