THE Prince of Wales visited a historic garden destroyed during floods and an airbase where his son served during his annual summer tour of Wales.
Prince Charles, whose love of nature is renowned, left the now restored historic Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens at Menai Bridge with a potted hydrangea, a broad smile and a piece of lemon, honey and lavender cake wrapped in cling film – to have with his tea later.
“It’ll never go in the helicopter,” he joked as he was handed the large plant, thanking the garden’s owner, Anthony Tavernor.
The 200-acre early 19th century estate was devastated by the floods of December 2015, which washed away many rare plants and trees and destroyed landscaped areas.
“It will cost over a quarter of a million pounds to restore and has seen a year’s worth of hard work by paid staff, volunteers and contractors,” Mr Tavernor told the Chronicle at the time.
He said after the Royal visit on Friday: “It was the result of this hard work that Prince Charles came to see and greatly admired.”
The Prince chatted with VIPs, local dignitaries, guests – including renowned vegetable growers Medwyn Williams and wife Gwenda – staff and volunteers and even the garden’s resident cat, Humphry, named after the great late 18th century landscape designer, Humphry Repton.
After enjoying a private tour of the garden, the Royal guest planted an Acer ‘Seiryu’ to replace one that was lost in the flood, unveiled a commemorative slate plaque.
He was also presented with gifts, including a hydrangea ‘Dr Jean Varnier’, a pot of Plas Cadnant honey and books.
“He was fascinated by the ferns and mosses and the plants we grow here on Anglesey that can’t be grown in his garden,” Mr Tavernor said.
The Prince made a beeline for an immaculate, white linen-covered table bearing tea and coffee pots, teacups and saucers and a stunning display of home-made sponge cakes made with lavender from the garden and honey from its bees.
“That’s exactly what is needed right now – a cup of tea! And don’t those cakes look absolutely delicious!” said the future monarch.
“I bet you are enjoying that,” he joked with one visitor, crumb-faced, who was sat near the front door, happily tucking in and oblivious that the heir to the throne was being escorted up the steps into the house beside her.
“I’m very much looking forward to having my piece of cake with my tea at home later,” the Prince added.
The Prince Charles also visited RAF Valley, where he met personnel and members of IV(R) Squadron and Ascent flight training, who showed him the Hawk T2 jet trainer aircraft used to give fighter pilot training to members of the RAF and Royal Navy.
And he presented a number of promotions and awards: a Royal warrant, a Royal Canadian Air Force promotion to major for an officer on an exchange instructor programme and the annual Prince of Wales Trophy to the best new flying instructor on IV(R) Squadron.
The station’s commander, Group Captain Nick Tucker-Lowe, said: “I am delighted that the RAF Valley whole force has had the opportunity to meet The Prince and show him the Hawk T2 advanced fighter pilot training capability.”