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The best places to catch the last of summer colour in Wales

The garden at Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool. Credit: National Trust Images, Gwenno Parry

As the crowds of high summer disperse and the summer months draw to a close, National Trust Cymru reveals some of the best places to soak up the last of the summer colour in their gardens across Wales.

The sun sitting lower on the horizon is a sure sign that autumn is just around the corner. But it’s not quite time to say goodbye to summer yet as there’s still time to wander through the charity’s tranquil gardens which remain full of vibrant colour.

So, lift your spirits and indulge in a little garden therapy as you admire rainbows of showy dahlias in rich reds, yellows, oranges, and whites, explore billowing herbaceous borders with the last of their vibrant perennials, and breathe in the scent from the late-flowering plants and shrubs which will continue to bloom for weeks to come.

North Wales

Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Explore the formal upper garden where you’ll find colourful dahlias, rudbekias and heleniums in the Range Borders, the last of the fragrant blooms on the two Rose Terraces, and a pastel picture of swaying ornamental grasses, lavenders, salvias, and verbenas on the Lily Terrace. In the riverside dells beneath the canopy of native and exotic trees you’ll find swathes of blue mophead and lacecap hydrangeas which sweep alongside the river.

Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Stroll along the herbaceous borders at Chirk Castle where you’ll find a sea of Japanese anemones in striking shades of pink and white, and a wide variety of sedums which are a welcome haven for busy bees. In the Rose Garden fragrant blooms sit alongside colourful asters, and in the Shrub Garden white, blue and pink hydrangeas undoubtedly steal the show. Don’t miss the garden’s freshly clipped topiary which is at it’s very best in the afternoon sunlight.

Erddig, Wrexham
The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of vibrant colour at Erddig. Enjoy a peaceful stroll along the 220-metre-long billowing herbaceous border that wraps around the garden. With espaliered fruit trees, bulbs, shrubs and annuals, this impressive show of colour lasts well into the autumn months. Don’t forget to stop by the Victorian Parterre where a riotous display of golden blooms celebrates 50 years since National Trust Cymru began caring for this remarkable place.

Penrhyn Castle, Bangor
Penrhyn’s gardens and surrounding woodland are like the castle itself – extensive, dramatic, and a feast for the senses. Visit the Victorian Fuchsia Arch which is alive with the sound of buzzing bees, and with comfortable benches beneath the blooms it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the last tranquil moments of summer. Elsewhere enjoy colourful penstemons on the parterre or lose yourself amongst monstrous Gunnera plants.

Plas Newydd House and Garden, Anglesey
Nestled on the shores of the Menai Strait, with stunning views out to the mountains of Snowdonia, Plas Newydd’s beautiful setting is hard to beat. Stretch your legs and discover expansive lawns dotted with clouds of mophead and lacecap hydrangeas and on the Italianate terraces, the show of colourful dahlias and salvias will continue until they bring the borders’ year to a close in October.

Plas yn Rhiw, Llŷn Peninsula
This picture-perfect cottage garden surrounding the 16th century manor house is full of old-fashioned blooms and open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 24 September. See the pure white flowers of three graceful eucryphias teeming with bees, take a stroll amongst the wide variety of hydrangeas with their old-fashioned charm, and breathe in the scent of ginger lilies and the other late season perennials.

Mid Wales

Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool
With the last of the fragrant summer roses in the Edwardian Formal Garden and the yellows, blues and pinks of the herbaceous borders on the Baroque terraces, this is a great time of year to visit Powis Castle. On the Top Terrace, the tropical showpiece border with the outsized foliage of its bananas and Chusan palms and the fat suckering stems of the rice-paper tree will put on a vibrant display of colour until late autumn.

Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion
Within the walls of this 18th-century garden, you will find productive kitchen gardens, ancient fruit trees, remnants of horticultural technology spanning the lifetime of the garden, herbaceous borders, and a wonderfully fragrant herb garden. Take a moment to breathe in the scents and watch bees hard at work collecting the precious pollen.

South Wales

Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Take a relaxing stroll around this secluded valley garden where you’ll find flourishing fuchsias and plenty of herbaceous colour in the walled garden this September. As you venture further, discover blooming hydrangea shrubs in the woodland alongside trees which are showing the first tinges of golden colour – a hint to the wonders that autumn will soon bring.

Dyffryn Gardens, Cardiff
From the late flowering perennials blooming in the herbaceous borders to the abundant harvest on its way in the Kitchen Garden, there’s plenty to see in the Dyffryn’s 55-acre garden this September. Down in the sunken garden, it’s the dahlias that are unarguably the stars of the show, blooming in a rainbow of rich, vibrant colours.

Tredegar House, Newport
This red brick mansion is surrounded by three formal gardens, including the Cedar Garden which was once the Morgan family’s ‘best garden’ and still retains its 19th-century layout. Home to a 250-year-old Cedar of Lebanon tree, the last of a possible six plantings, it’s a favourite spot for lounging, playing and a late summer picnic. Keep an eye out for bear’s breeches, irises, and forget-me-nots in the garden’s large herbaceous borders.