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Nant y Bedd Garden, Brecon Beacons

The pottage at Nant y Bedd garden

I love most gardens. My favourite thing to do is to wander around other people's gardens, there is always something to learn, to see anew, notes to take, ideas to squirrel away.

Sometimes though a garden is more than that, more than somewhere to observe and move through - it is a garden of feelings, of emotion, or becoming part somehow. For me that is what happened at Nant y Bedd garden.

Nant y Bedd is a garden of ten acres in the Brecon Beacons. It has been made on a steeply wooded slope which meanders down to a river. It has been gradually created by Sue Mabberley over the past forty years, helped by her husband Ian in more recent years.

The house - originally a forestry house - is near the top of the plot, surrounded, indeed in parts submerged, by luxuriant planting, there is a food forest, a potager and walks down through the conifer forest to the stream.

What Sue has created is something magical - as though from a fairy tale (though it may have helped that our tour guide was a very beautiful and bossy cat).

The garden at Nant y Bedd is a place of light and shadow, surprise vistas, soft mossy spaces - all laid out by a masterful eye.

And yet there is no imposing, no ego - plants are treated with evident love and respect, allowed their own form, their space - a choice of where to be. The potager has teasels amongst the beans, a wonderful array of allium Chistophii seed heads shared a metal trough with garlic, it is a garden of tolerance.

It was a garden that really moved me and encouraged me that gardening could be so caring somehow. I could have stayed chatting to Sue all afternoon but she was getting ready for a visit from the Gardener's World filming team. Nant y Bedd will be on tomorrow's programme. I shall be watching excitedly with my gin and crisps.

I have put a selection of the photos I took in a gallery - click on the photo to have a look at them.

I did also take lots of notes and photos of Ian's beautiful woodwork - from simple stick gates to a magnificent treehouse - and am dropping heavy hints.

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Comments: 4 (Add)

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Vanessa Dennett

Beautiful, beautiful photos Jane! I’m longing to visit this garden, I tried to find somewhere to stay in Abergavenny last weekend but (as always) had left it too late. I’ll get there sooner or later but meanwhile your photos give me hope of what I’ll create here in due course….. xx


In reply to Vanessa Dennett
I would really recommend staying at Allt y Bela near Usk if you get a chance - a proper treat, the house is so beautifully restored and you get to pretend the gardens are yours for a while - they do B&B via Sawdays. Then Nant y Bedd isn't that far. Though it is now shut till Spring.
Carol Wilson

Magical describes it well.

Corrie Fairlie

Thank you for the beautiful images Jane. On seeing the 'stick' fence it reminds me of the practice here in the Charente, France of using rough, raw and untreated wood as posts to fence the fields. The result presents a more natural look on the landscape.