The gardens at Veddw stand apart from most others in the area. While South Wales as a profusion of Victorian and Edwardian gardens that remain open to the public, there are very few top quality modern ones. Veddw may be the best of the bunch and it’s certainly one of the finest contemporary gardens in the country. At around four acres the grounds are generous rather than sprawling but there is still plenty to see.
The first thing many visitors notice is the dramatic use of colour. Rather than the classical green foliage familiar from traditional garden designs, the creators of Veddw Gardens use silver and purple foliage to add interest to hedges and borders. Many of the benches and outbuildings are contemporary but tasteful, meshing beautifully with the garden around them.
In line with modern thoughts to ecologically friendly gardening, meadow grasses are used to deepen the contrast between precise hedges any classical topiary garden would be proud of and Veddw’s more casual, wilder side.
For many people the focus of the garden is the dramatic black reflecting pool, which faces and reflects a garden of clipped hedges, shaped to echo the undulating hills of the surrounding countryside.
Elsewhere, there is a garden filled with contrasting silver cardoons and purple heuchera, backed by a border of mixed silver and purple shrubs. There are numerous colour themed borders and gardens which also include a creative use of grasses. The owners have a great interest in the local landscape history and have incorporated this interest into the garden design, in particular in a large parterre of ornamental grasses spread across a small hillside within a pattern of box hedges based on the Tithe Map of 1842.
The conservatory is painted black, creating a perfect and unusual backdrop to massed silver succulents. The wild garden, in contrast, contains robust perennials planted in the original ancient grassland. Elsewhere that grassland has been retained in a large area which has been carefully nurtured for 25 years, resulting in a flower rich meadow of the kind older people remember from their childhood.
The ruin of a cottage has been adapted to make unusual seating place, with a quiet view into the old coppice filled with the periwinkle which was probably planted by the cottagers many years ago.
The garden is starred in the Good Gardens Guide, has been widely featured in books and reviewed on the web. The owners and designers are Anne Wareham, who has recently published a book about the garden “The Bad Tempered Gardener”, and her photographer husband, Charles Hawes who took the photographs for the book and whose award winning photographs may be found in many garden publications.
Address: Veddw House, The Fedw, Devauden, Monmouthshire
Postcode: NP16 6PH
Tel number: 01291 650836
Web Address: www.veddw.com
Opening Hours: June, July and August on Sunday afternoons between 2pm and 5pm. The garden is open to coach parties from May to September inclusive.
Admission Charges: Admission £6.50 adult, £1.50 child under 14, children under a yard in height free
Parking Charges: Free parking (for coaches please see website)
Group information: Group information - coach parties from May to September inclusive, £6.50 per head. Small groups of 10 or less by appointment on other days t han Sundays, but the fee is then £65 inclusive, whatever the number (ie £65 for one, or two, or three, up to and including ten. Over 10 people £6.50 each).
Accessibility information: Accessibility - very poor for wheelchairs because of the steep hills and inaccessible loo