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It seems to take a huge feat of organisation to get myself out of London these days (apart from the odd month in Greece), and I’ve been wanting to visit Allt y Bela, Arne Maynard’s garden near Usk in Wales, for a long time now. As you can see from the image above, both house and garden did not disappoint!

Everywhere you look, trees and shrubs are trained and clipped to perfection and the sight is jaw-dropping and wondrous, especially against the ocre-coloured backdrop of the lovingly restored cruck barn and other out buildings.

Inspired by the woven rose domes (above),

and other great rose structures (above) at Notre Dame Prieure D’Orsan in France, Ive been experimeting with climbing and shrub roses, twirling them around all sorts of wigwams and ‘domes’ and the results have been very satisfying, supplying a huge amounrt of roses from just a few stems.

Here at Allt y bela, in the beginning of April, you could see how artfully shrub roses (I think) were trained around hazel domes and I’d love to go back another time in June to see everything in full flower.

Further inspiration was found by roses being coaxed over the corner of a wall,

with the end of stems being tied into pegs nestling in the cracks of the stone walls,

and trained roses along hazel rods at the back of the house. All rather glorious.

Every angle of the garden gives you stunning views,

including the beatifully designed amphitheatre.

And nature has been sharply clipped into shape throughout.

This garden isn’t open to the general public, but, for a not small sum, you can book a delicious B&B room,

with great views, and have plenty of time to wander around the gardens at your leisure and soak up the atmosphere.

Thistle (a very affable Czech pointer) is happy to wander with you,as you marvel at at the gorgeousness of it all. Most definitely worth a visit!!!



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