Dyffryn Gardens is an estate and collection of botanical gardens located near the villages of Dyffryn and St. Nicholas.
The Dyffryn Estate dates back to 640 A.D. when the Manor of Worlton was granted to Bishop Oudoceus of Llandaff. In the 16th century the Manor of Worlton was rented under copyhold by the Button family who occupied the estate for a number of generations.
The name of the Manor of Worlton was changed to the Manor of Dyffryn, St Nicholas in the 18th century when the Dyffryn Estate was sold to Thomas Pryce, who built the second building to be known as Dyffryn House, a Georgian manor, on the site in 1749. Although no extensive work was undertaken to the grounds, Pryce did begin some additions, including the construction of the walled garden, dipping pools and some ornamental plantings.
In 1891 the Dyffryn Estate was sold to John Cory by the then owner, a banker named Henry Ellis Collins. Cory then began construction of the present house in 1893. Later, Thomas Mawson, a well-known landscape architect and first president of the Institute of Landscape Architecture, was commissioned to design a garden to complement the new house; landscaping began in 1894 and was completed in 1909. The National Trust took over stewardship of Dyffryn House and Gardens on a 50-year lease from the Vale of Glamorgan Council in January 2013.
Today, Dyffryn Gardens is a visitor attraction open all year round, 363 days a year. The gardens are accessed via the admissions building, which also houses a shop and an attached tea-room. From here the gardens are divided into three main areas, the arboretum, Dyffryn House and its lawns and the Garden Rooms.
The eastern and largest section of the gardens contains the arboretum that begins with the kennel bank, leading to the rockery. The central section, which divides the arboretum in the east from the Garden Rooms to the west, contains Dyffryn House and its lawns, beginning with the house to the north extending southwards to the Vine Walk, a series of arches each containing a different species of vine. The two main lawns include the croquet lawn, closest to Dyffryn House, which runs east to west parallel to the main building, and the Great Lawn. The Great Lawn runs north–south and at its centre a longitudinal canal, which has at its centre a large bronze fountain. The fountain is in Chinese style and has a bronze Chinese Dragon wrapped around it; thought to be from the 1950s. The Great Lawn ends with a fountain pool, for which there is currently a fundraising drive to repair. The two bronze statues, Fujin and Raijin, Japanese Shinto gods of wind and lightning, that used to be here are now housed in the glass houses. At the southern end of the lawns is the Vine Walk, and Lavender Garden, the latter containing a red brick folly.
The final section of the gardens is the Garden Rooms, a series of terraced themed gardens. The 'rooms' contain an Italian Terrace, Australasian and Mediterranean Gardens, each containing plants from their respective regions. Other areas include a physic garden, rose garden, reflecting pool and Pompeian gardens. The Pompeiian gardens, entered via an archway dated 1909, were originally inspired by Reginald Cory's trips to Italy.
Throughout the gardens are statues, many with a motif of people with animals.References:
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 AD.
The audience stands and the orchestra (stage) were restored using Pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International performances.