A Chat with Llandough Castle and Gardens

Back to Clarke’s Journal

3rd August 2022

This week our lovely Agent Anwen sits down with Rhian Rees, owner of Llandough Castle

A Chat with Llandough Castle and Gardens

This week our lovely Agent Anwen sits down with Rhian Rees, owner of Llandough Castle and Gardens, to chat inspiration, advice for the green fingered and all about her new venture; floral business “Wild and Fabulous Flowers”.

Meet Anwen

We love: The smell of fresh flowers
Where: An idyllic setting in the glorious Vale of Glamorgan
Who: Rhian Rees, owner of Llandough Castle and Gardens

pxl_20220211_145400767-portrait screenshot_20211117-071359 pxl_20220721_174558200

Tell us about the Castle and gardens and how you came to be the custodians of such a beautiful place?
Llandough Castle dates from the 12th century and has an incredible history. The composer Gabriel Faure wrote his 7th Nocturne whilst staying one summer and it was owned for 230 years by the Mansel Talbot family. It had been in the Anderson family for 32 years before we bought it. My husband had a moment of complete madness and delivered a letter to the family asking to buy it and promising to care for the home they loved. We have not stopped renovating for the last 19 years. It is a labour of love and can be all consuming. Work began on the gardens ten years ago as they had been completely lost. It is my mission to recreate, reimagine and reinstate gardens to complement the house.

The gardens are filled with the most amazing flowers and plants. What would you say are your 3 favourite flowers at this time of year?
I am obsessed with Hydrangea Annabelle. I have planted lines of them surrounding the house. They look spectacular but are a mission to prune! My other favourites are Dahlias and Gauras. The Dahlias come in so many different varieties and colours and keep flowering until the first frosts. The Gauras give a lightness and movement in the garden and flower their hearts out.

Our summers are getting progressively hotter, what advice would you give to gardeners on planting a scheme that will suit a warmer climate?
Think of gravel gardens. Do you actually need a lawn? Plant in the ground rather in planters. If you love container gardening, then go big and have just a few. Small pots are almost impossible to keep watered during a long hot spell. You can cut the base off large planters and let the specimen shrubs root into the ground. Think of Mediterranean plants such as lavender and rosemary, grasses and phormiums. Many silver leaved plants are
resistant to drought conditions as long as they have had time to establish. So, plant up any new plants in April at the latest to give the roots time to grow.

What inspired you to start your floral business “Wild and Fabulous Flowers”?
I have been a landscape designer for 16 years, but it was the pandemic that brought out the florist in me! I started doing flowers for small weddings and became hooked! I have done several courses on sustainable floristry and have become friends with lots of local flower farmers. I try and use their flowers in my work as much as possible. My style is to use seasonal flowers in a free and natural way. After designing borders for so many years I guess I understand how flowers work together. I love wedding work, and farewell flowers are always an honour to do too. We have a bespoke bouquet service and have regular Friday Flower orders. For the whole of August, I am taking part in the Cowbridge Flower Festival creating different floral installations throughout the town. I do love a challenge!

Do you have any lovely workshops or events planned at the Castle in the near future?
Yes, we definitely do! We open our gardens for the National Garden Scheme. This year we are open on 16,17 and 18 of September. We have local crafters here, plants and flowers for sale, Helen with her vintage caravan selling teas, coffees, gin and cocktails and delicious home-made cakes. It is a fun day out and loads of families and groups of friends come along and spend a few hours with us. We have a creature trail for the children to do too. You have to book online on the National Garden Scheme website. This is to control the number of visitors at certain times as we gridlocked the village the first year we opened.

Our Christmas wreath making courses start in November. We had our first booking in June! It is a lovely evening spent in the renovated Victorian Orangery creating wonderful wreaths in a relaxed and festive environment with cake and fizz, of course. It is a really chilled atmosphere. I am always surprised by how quiet a group of women are when concentrating. It is the perfect switch off on the run up to the madness of Christmas!

screenshot-2022-08-12-at-12-11-15 screenshot-2022-08-12-at-12-11-03 screenshot-2022-08-12-at-12-10-38

Images: Courtesy of Llandough Castle & Gardens

Our Homes

We show the experiences, creativity and stories of your home. Our task as estate agents is to hero you, the homeowners’, decisions and get buyers inspired.