Planting ideas for your garden from Tredegar House

Poppy seed heads Tredegar House Green Fingered BlogVisiting other people's gardens, large or small, is a great source of ideas to bring home and try out in your own garden. I've been to Tredegar House in Newport looking for inspiration, and I've come back with several planting ideas that could enhance my garden, and yours.

Tredegar House is an imposing sight as you drive westwards past junction 28 of  the M4 outside Newport, the 17th century mansion visible at the end of it's large landscaped grounds and fronted by large gilded gates that open onto the stable yard. It was built by the Morgans, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in South Wales.  It is now owned by the National Trust, and you can explore the house, the gardens and the extensive parkland.
Do follow me on Twitter @PlanPlantPrune if you'd like to see the sights at all the gardens I visit. I went to Tredegar House on a sunny summer's day, so declined the opportunity to explore inside. The parkland offers the opportunity for a walk around mature trees and lakes, home to a variety of birds including herons. Meanwhile the gardens close to the house are varied and well maintained. The layout is fairly typical for a 17th century manor, with walled gardens, formal borders and various areas planted in different styles.

Use large leaves for a mini jungle

On entering the gardens there is an orchard to the left and a lush, densely planted area to the right. This area contains more exotic looking specimens and to children represents a mini jungle. Large specimens of laurel and camellia provide thick evergreen cover with paths winding between and underneath, offering a fine example of how to create an area for children to play at exploring. The effect is made more dramatic by some of the plants with a more tropical appearance. In many cases this is down to the very large leaved plants used, such as a banana and gunnera. Using large leaves was one of 5 ways to make your garden look tropical that I gleaned from visiting Abbotsbury in Dorset some time ago. Tredegar House proves it can be done in a smaller area, since this is just a minor element of the gardens here.  

The other sources of inspiration at Tredegar Park were all in the borders, informal and formal. Here are my favourites:

Purple leaves and pink flowers

Planting ideas Tredegar House Green Fingered BlogIn his bed I like the juxtaposition of the rich dark purple leaves of the Physiocarpus and the light airy soft pink flowers of the Verbena bonariensis floating above on tall stems. The effet was repeated several times across this area which added extra impact, but if you don't have enough space to do that in your garden, a single cluster of each is a very pleasing effect. 


Contrasting blues and yellows

Border planting Tredegar House Green Fingered BlogThese set each other off very nicely. I'm not sure which variety of Achillea this is but it is a very bright yellow, offering a dramatic contrast to the pale blue Asters, and the rich but light blue Agapanthus. It's a bit of a shame that the Heleniums have been bullied into submission by the zebra grasses and cannot easily be seen, but if you use this combination in your garden, you can make sure that doesn't happen! 

Hostas stand out against the rest

Stand out Hostas Tredegar House Green Fingered Blog

These Hostas caught my eye from right across the opposite side of the wide open Cedar Garden, which must 50 yards across. Their ivory foliage stands out a mile away against the darker background. You needn't use Hostas, but could position any plant with very light coloured leaves so that they can be easily seen from a window or when first entering your garden. A clump of silver leaved Stachys byzantine "Silver carpet" for example, or I reckon Brunnera macrophylla "Jack Frost" would also work really well.

Poppies en masse

Mass of poppy seed heads Tredegar House Green Fingered Blog This is a good example of planting as many of the same thing as you can, close together for a real impact. A poppy seed head on its own is beautiful but you have to be pretty close to appreciate it. Plant several poppies and it looks quite nice. Plant several hundred and you can end up with a stunning effect even when they've gone to seed. This many seed heads  together look fantastic, in my view. And if you are on a budget, you can still try this one. A packet of seed can be less than £3, so its pretty easy to sow them and just see what happens. After all that's part of the pleasure of gardening - just waiting to see what happens. 
Click to Subscribe by Email


  1. A lovely post and some great ideas. It's always good visiting other gardens and gleaning ideas from them! I loved the colour contrasts.

    1. Yes it's great when you can take an idea home and try it out in your own garden. I'm already thinking about changes to one of my borders for next year, and visiting other gardens certainly helps formulate ideas. Plus I love sharing them with everyone. We can all use them in different ways and it's fascinating to see how.

  2. I love visiting gardens. I've not heard of Tredegar House before so this was interesting to read about.

    1. It's well worth a visit. I love wandering around gardens whenever I can so look out for more posts like this soon I hope!

  3. Now this is a garden I haven't visited Paul and glad to see its a National Trust so I can use the trusty card again! I love that you have pulled together your thoughts here on how this garden can inspire our own gardening. This was my initial inspiration behind #MyGloriousGardens so that I can inform my own ideas for the old house garden. I love the hostas here which never seem to do very well in my garden as I wont use slug pellets and they do love them! Thank you for linking up this month. I hope to see you at next months link up. Watch out for my round up post coming in the next few days. xxx

    1. Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you enjoyed my account of the Tredegar House Gardens. I do love visiting gardens in search of ideas and inspiration so will be writing more posts based on my travels - look out for those, and i'll aim to link them up too!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.