ISSUE 9  |  Instagram Inspiration

A Gardener’s Diary: A Year in Wales with Arne Maynard

March 02, 2015 2:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

The most generous gardener we know is British landscape designer Arne Maynard. He keeps a diary and shares intimate snapshots of his Wales garden via his Instagram feed @arnemaynardgardendesign and online garden journal (where many of the photos are shot by the talented Britt Willoughby Dyer). 

The result? A look at a year in the life of Allt-y-Bela, a very special garden: 

Photography via @arnemaynardgardendesign except where noted. 


Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

Maynard lives at Allt-y-Bela, a restored 15th century tower house whose name means “high wooded hillside of the wolf.” Approaching the house, a first tantalizing glimpse of Allt-y-Bela is framed by trees and yew topiaries.

Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

Maynard discovered the house in 2006, after he and his partner, dental surgeon William Collinson, decided to look for a new home near their parents. ‘”We came to look at it on one of those milky sunny days in late summer, and fell in love immediately,” Maynard told the Telegraph.


Above: A hedge of pleached crabapple trees (Malus ‘Evereste’) grows near the house, which Maynard painted a dramatic shade of ochre after finding the color on the facade beneath a layer of off-white paint that “looked harsh, like an envelope,” he said.

Above: In the kitchen garden, Maynard has a mix of edible and ornamental plants including corn (L), chives and lettuces (R), and potted primroses that line the path.

Above: The pots of Primula auricula will spend winter on shelves sheltered from the weather.

Above: “Heavy rain showers today” Maynard noted on October 9.

Above: “I’ve had a busy afternoon tidying the kitchen garden for the start of our organic gardening course which starts tomorrow,” Maynard wrote.

Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

First frost: December 1.


Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

In winter the structure of the kitchen garden is revealed. A hazel archway and woven fence have a pleasing symmetry even when nothing is growing.

Above: Mid-January.

Above: “Afternoon flurry of snow at Allt-y-Bela.”

Above: Hazel branches collected from nearby hedgerows are shaped into sturdy domes to support roses. Photograph via Arne Maynard.

Above: “I’ve started chitting our seed potatoes today. Spring is just around the corner!” Maynard wrote February 20.

Above: Sunrise promises spring.


Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

Drifts of snowdrops signal the arrival of spring.

Above: Photograph via Arne Maynard.

Witch hazel and snowdrops frame Allt-y-Bela.

To see more of how the light in Wales plays off a garden, see: