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I never planned to visit the National Botanic Garden of Wales, just decided to pop in while driving past one day. And I'm really glad I did. Yes, it's a great place for gardeners and conservation enthusiasts, but it has much more than that to offer. It's basically a very lovely place to spend an afternoon, sort of a cross between a stately home garden, where you can wander round enjoying the views, and a museum, so you can learn something as well. The centrepiece is a huge glass dome, the Great Glasshouse, where there are many plants which normally live in arid desert or hot jungle. Not many plants I recognised at all, but if you've ever holidayed in places like this it should bring back reminders for you. It's all set out naturally, with stop outcrops, and streams, and of course, it's very very warm in there. Outside, there are also areas with Mediterranean plants, a marsh garden, prairie planting, and some lovely lakes (recently reclaimed from farmland). Some of the areas are admittedly in the early stages of development - and I could see no sign of flowers in the Double Walled Garden that was marked on the map - but in it's still well worth a visit, and I can imagine in a few more years, when everything gets more established, the gardens really will be superb. Also it's evidently a big educational centre, I guess it's a better place for school trips than for family days out with lots of kids. Although it does pretty well in trying to make all things botanical interesting to children. But, you know, there aren't lots of rides or games on offer. There was an excellent display, on medicinal uses for herbs and plants, in the Physicians of Myddfai building - so it's not just looking at nice gardens. As you would expect, there's also a shop, and a cafe (in a marquee, very classy). There's a plant shop, selling many plants like those in the gardens, and if I hadn'
;t been on holiday (and 2 days away from my own garden) I would have definitely bought lots of things. You can visit the shop without paying the entrance fees to the Centre. If you're not so great at walking distances, there's a regular (every 15 minutes or so) buggy service. The Botanic Gardens are near to Carmarthan and Llanelli, and are well signposted. The address is: Middleton Hall Llanarthne Carmarthenshire SA32 8HG United Kingdom Opening Times Jan 1 - April 11: 10.00 am - 4.30 pm April 12 - August 31 : 10.00 am - 6.00 pm Sept 1 - October 31: 10.00 am - 5.30 pm Nov 1 - December 31: 10.00 am - 4.30 pm Closed on Christmas Day. The last admission is 1 hour before closing. Admission Adults: £6.50 There are concessions: (£5.00 tickets) for OAPs, those with disabilities, the unemployed, and, a real bonus for environmentally friendliness - cyclists) Children: £3.00 (under 5's are free)
The National Botanical garden of Wales opened on Wednesday the 24th of May and has been very busy since with people from all over the world having visited. The garden is situated in the South West of Wales in the Towy Valley in very scenic surrounds some eight miles from Carmarthen. The Garden is dedicated to science, education and leisure with a vast variety of plants available. The main building is the ‘Great Glasshouse’, which covers approximately a third of the area, and is basically a large greenhouse in the shape of a Dome designed by Norman Foster. The garden is 568 acres in total and is built on an old estate that was owned by William Paxton. The garden cost £43.3 million pounds in total to create although £21.6 million pounds did come from the Millennium Commission. Whist at the gardens we went along one of the many nature trails and had a picnic at one of the many picnic tables dotted all around the gardens. I should not say it but I do advise you to take your own food, as food is very expensive there. The Great Glasshouse is at the center of the gardens and is one of the largest single span glasshouses in the world full of a variety of plant from warmer climates but has been well laid out with waterfalls and bridges. Its quite stuffy inside in the summer therefore if you are claustrophobic I advise you to go at a different time. Hyder the water company has a Discovery Center, which is set on stilts on one of the many lakes. This is used for schools visiting or as a study center for lectures, seminars and conferences. I am told that in the spring the Chinese woodland is very colorful with Magnolias and Rhododendrons giving a very potent smell. The gardens are closed at present due to the foot and mouth scare but when open the costs are as follows :- Adult - £6.50, OAP - £5.00, Children - £3.00 (under 5’s free), Family - £16.00 ( 2 Adults & 4 Children), I
t's well worth a visit for the color and the different species of plants even if you are not a gardener.