The Butterfly Garden at St Beuno's
by Sr Anne Morris DHS
In recent years, since Steven Liggins has been our gardener, we have not only maintained the grounds of St.Beuno's, but significantly developed them. Thanks to Steven's enthusiasm and vision, what was once an overgrown tennis court now has a labyrinth and herb garden – a not inconsiderable part of many peoples’ retreat experience. What had become an overgrown slope next to the garden shed has now become a splendid cutting garden. The latest development has been the reclamation of the old cottage garden, on the left as you begin the steep pull up the hill.
Totally overgrown, with a green house and fruit cage buried under brambles and weeds, work began two winters ago to cut back tree branches and hack away at weeds. It was in such a state that Fr. Roger referred to it as the 'Pointless Garden'! He just couldn't see what would come out of it. By spring this year, Steve, with the help of Lee and Jim, began to lay out new paths. The greenhouse and cage removed, four seating areas were established. Our House Manager's husband, Red, being a dab hand at carpentry, made four seats and a charming gate that protects the garden from rampant sheep and cattle. You can see from the photograph above just how much the area has been transformed.
Planting is still in progress as I write, but the intention is to make it as inviting a garden as possible for butterflies and bees. Lavenders, fuchsias and buddleias have been planted. The intention is to experiment with the central beds and make a small wild flower meadow. We also have a designated nettle patch which is excellent for wildlife. It will take at least two more seasons for things to properly ‘settle in’ yet it has already developed a certain character of its own, where one can admire bluebells and some of our beautiful trees, including a rare monkey puzzle tree.
The Butterfly Garden is a secluded spot to be discovered, with a unique perspective on the house and grounds, so the next time you are here, make sure you come and discover its charms and stop awhile.