Tuesday 12 May 2015

Handkerchief Tree blooming at Plas Tan y Bwlch

Handkerchief Tree at Plas Tan y Bwlch
The Pocket Handkerchief Tree (otherwise known as the Dove Tree) Davidia involucrata was first discovered growing wild in China, towards the end of the nineteenth century. Seeds were sent back to the UK by Victorian plant hunter Ernest Wilson in 1901 and when it flowered in Britain for the first time, it caused such a stir that the leading nursery of the day (Veitch’s nursery of Chelsea and Exeter) could not keep up with the demand for plants.

One of the first Pocket Handkerchief Trees to be planted in Britain was at Plas Tan y Bwlch which is one of the (50) Finest Gardens in Wales. Yes, it’s official, it has been listed in the new book published by Tony Russell.

Other local to us gardens that feature in the book are Plas Brondanw and Portmeirion and, slightly further afield, are Bodnant and the intriguing Conwy Valley Maze Garden. The maze was created in 2005 and is said to be the largest garden maze in the world; this sounds well worth a visit but according to their website the garden is closed until further notice due to on-site works.

Tony Russell, author of the book, has recently moved to live in the village of Rhyd and is helping with the project to restore Plas Tan y Bwlch gardens following the devastation of the 2014 storm. He is also running courses at The Plas which include guided visits to several of his favourite gardens.

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