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Aberglasney Gardens celebrate momentour milestone next month

ONCE OVERGROWN, derelict and vandalised, Aberglasney is delighted to be celebrating a momentous milestone next month as it reaches the 25th anniversary of the gardens being restored and open to the public.

There is mention of ‘nine green gardens’ at Aberglasney in a poem dating from medieval times, with the history of Aberglasney documented from the days of Henry VIII. The historic grade II* listed mansion at Aberglasney has been home to many colourful characters over the last 500 years including a famous poet, artists and a bishop. Aberglasney was on the brink of collapse however when it was rescued from oblivion in 1995.

The house and gardens were bought by the Aberglasney Restoration Trust, the money donated by an American benefactor – Frank Cabot. The restoration project was the brainchild of William Wilkins CBE, also founder of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and first promoter of the National Botanic Garden of Wales. He oversaw the masterplan for the restoration and re-creation of the gardens and the mansion, he was key to the fundraising and was the first chair of the Trust. Aberglasney finally opened to the public on 4 July 1999 and restoration work has been on-going since this date.

The mansion before restoration

William Wilkins recently said, “As the founding Chairman of the Aberglasney Restoration Trust and Project Director of the restoration I am very pleased to be part of this year’s 25th anniversary celebrations at Aberglasney. I am proud that it continues to go from strength to strength and continues to be an inspiration.” 

To mark this momentous milestone, Aberglasney will hold a celebratory event from 11am on Thursday, 4 July 2024. Pupils from Llandeilo Primary school will perform, followed with traditional folk dancing by Dansio Llanarthne. A celebratory birthday cake will be cut by Aberglasney’s longest serving gardener, Will Gibbon, who has worked at Aberglasney for 25 years this year. Côr Curiad Llanelli will perform and the winner of the children’s 25th birthday card design competition will be announced.

Eleanor Keatley, Chairman of Aberglasney’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Group said: “We have planned an exciting programme of unique events and experiences to celebrate this landmark at Aberglasney. We hope our members and visitors will join us over the coming months to help celebrate this latest milestone.

“There will be opportunities to learn about Aberglasney’s history whilst work gets underway on exciting, new projects which enhance our venue for the future.”

For the anniversary celebration weekend of 6 and 7 July the entry fee to the gardens will be rolled back to the price charged in 1999 of £3.95.

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said: “This year is an exciting one for the future of Aberglasney. Work will start later this year to replace the terrace marquee of the Tearooms with a permanent dining area overlooking the pool garden, allowing for year-round enjoyment, whatever the weather.

“Work has also started on Allt Aberglasney, the woodland area adjacent to the gardens. Access is being improved and forestry work done to beautify and make the site safe for future access. Pathways and sympathetic plantings are planned, adding a new dimension to the Aberglasney experience.”  

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