About the garden
Julie and Stuart Akkermans
Having celebrated 30 open years and 15 as a Partner Garden last year, this Welsh garden with a Dutch history is a true family garden with real heart and soul. Not typically British in style, it nevertheless blends comfortably into the rolling Welsh hills. A pioneer in blending the wild with the cultivated, Cae Hir embraces Welsh poppies, red campion, wild garlic, bedstraw and many other wild flowers and native plants. These are scattered freely among swathes of herbaceous perennials, specimen trees and botanical rarities to great effect. This planting is punctured throughout by local slate stonework used in innovative as well as more traditional ways.
At Cae Hir, the natural meets the formal and riotous planting meets structure and form. This is a garden not just for plant lovers, but also for design enthusiasts. Indeed, Cae Hir was designed with a flair of expression rarely seen – unhampered by design or planting ‘rules’. “I just did what I liked,” is a phrase often used by Wil Akkermans, the garden’s designer, who had no formal training in design or horticulture. It is an ethos similarly embraced by his son Stuart, Cae Hir’s current Chief Whip. They stem from a long line of Dutch nursery men, which perhaps explains their innate feel for gardening; they are blessed with inherited green fingers.
Cae Hir was designed as a whole, not a series of gardens or rooms. The beds and borders flow into each other with graceful yet masculine ease, providing visitors with sudden views and secret glimpses of the garden and surrounding countryside as they meander and explore. Always surprising, constantly evolving, Cae Hir blends the formal and informal into a surprising, cohesive yet unpredictable whole. It is a true gem in the Welsh countryside.