When we arrived at the gate of Caerynwch near Dolgellau, I was worried. The nice man who took our money told us a bit about the gardens, mentioned that some local artists were exhibiting and told us that there were plants for sale – all very nice. But he failed to mention two things that are crucial when visiting a garden: 1) tea and 2) cake. This was all the more significant because we’d cycled for about two hours to get there, mostly uphill, and our alternative refreshment options on a bank holiday afternoon in north Wales were non-existent.
It was a tense moment, I don’t mind telling you, but fortunately Caerynwch offered what they say all gardens should – a view, a brew and a loo (plus some warm scones and bara brith). The grounds are home to some huge rhododendrons and azaleas (all in acid colours – very SS ’11), and bluebell-filled woodland. My favourite spot was the boggy area, where the candelabra primulas were looking good. But it’s the view that really stole the show: gently rolling fields, a stream and grazing sheep, all in the shadow of the mighty Cadair Idris.