History of Llanover Garden
In 1792 Benjamin Waddington (1749 – 1828) purchased Llanover House, also known as Ty Uchaf, and laid out the garden and parkland when great changes were taking place in British garden design. At this time, Lancelot Capability Brown’s (1716 – 1783) ideas were dominating planting schemes. Formality had given way to a fashion for landscaping vast areas utilizing the natural features of the land.
We do not know who designed the gardens at Llanover but it is likely that this landscaping trend influenced Benjamin Waddington as seen in his plantings of London Plane Trees and Beech which are still growing today. From our records we know that he also planted Larch and in 1800 a Rhododendron ponticum from a seedling.
He also used the Rhyd y meirch stream which flows into the top of the garden to create lakes, cascades, weirs and further streams of running water.
Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) who was the intellectual successor to Capability Brown, preferred terraces and more formal grounds around a house and encouraged his clients to build Ha-Ha’s which ‘borrowed’ landscape thus extending the gardens with views of grazing livestock.
Waddington built a circular walled garden with a dovecote, a terrace and a Ha Ha at Llanover – all of which can be seen today.
In the 1830s Benjamin Hall, who married Waddingtons’ daughter, Augusta (later to become Lady Llanover), built a stone wall to enclose the park and made three gated entrance lodges.
In the dry Summer months one can detect the former outlines of a formal system of paths and beds and a croquet lawn on the main lawn. These features were added by the grandson of Lady Llanover, Lord Treowen who lived at Llanover from 1912 until his death in 1931. He also planted the avenue of Sweet Chestnut Trees in 1922.
In 1931 my grandparents moved into Llanover House the formal beds on the front lawn were grassed over and a new phase of tree planting began, notably two Acer griseums which are now regarded as ‘Champion Trees.’ Structurally they created a large, stream-fed, cement swimming pool, which has since been demolished to become a water/bog garden.
In the 1960s my father returned from the East Coast of America, where he had admired the Autumn colours, having previously developed an interest in Magnolias. At Llanover he started planting trees notably Acers, Nyssas, Hickories, Euonymus & Liquidambers to achieve similar displays of colour here.
Over 15 different Magnolias have been planted to provide spring interest. To shelter and protect this new planting from the North easterly wind, conifers were also planted. Over the last 40 years he has travelled widely with the RHS and IDS bringing back many new plants, so the garden has Mexican oaks, Australian eucalyptus, Embothriums and Eucryphia glutinosa from Chile, unusual Pieris and a collection of Camellias from Mount Congreve, near Waterford, Ireland amongst other rareties.
My husband and I are continuing the tradition of planting trees, shrubs and bulbs. In 2010 the herbaceous borders which are 18’ deep were replanted, and are still evolving along with the rest of the garden.
Llanover House & Garden School