Last weekend, on one of the hottest days of the year, I decided to visit Ness Gardens. I'd been there once before but hadn't visited for, ooohhhat least ten years, which is shocking considering it's only a 20 minute drive from home.
Surprisingly, The Teenager decided she wanted to come too (You know it's just a huge garden, yes? With loads of plants and trees? And no clothes shops?) Once we'd established that she was still happy to come, we packed a picnic and set off.
The terraced gardens were stunning with lots of interest, with plenty of places to sit and rest - or simply admire the view.
The garden is a pleasing blend of manicured lawns, winding paths and colourful borders alongside more natural landscaping and views across the Welsh mountains.
Some of the planting schemes gave me plenty of ideas for my own garden, as well as some very striking colour combinations.
There was also a huge border of hostas with no noticeable signs of slug damage - something I can never manage.
I loved the kitchen garden, or Potager as it was called, with its flower and vegetable planting and a border of massive artichokes. The Teenager was starting to lose interest at this point, so as I pootled around looking at vegetables she went to sunbathe on a nearby lawn.
One of the first things I noticed on our arrival at Ness was how far they'd upped their game. The previous time I'd visited the entrance seemed to be a haphazard system of ramshackle wooden buildings (or at least that's my memory of it). Nowadays you can expect an impressive entrance via the visitor centre which also houses a well stocked shop and café. There's also an outdoor plant sale area, although I thought the prices were a bit on the high side.
Our visit made me realise that it's something I need to do more often and I'm already making plans to visit other gardens in the north-west. Although I might choose a day when it's not quite so hot.