The National Botanic Garden of Wales
The National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) is situated near Llanarthne in the Towy Valley, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is both a visitor attraction and a centre for botanical research and conservation.
NBGW seeks "to develop a viable world-class national botanic garden dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable utilisation, to lifelong learning and to the enjoyment of the visitor."
NBGW is a Registered Charity, and is reliant upon funding from visitors, friends, grants and gifts. It has no regular government funding support. Significant startup costs were shared with the UK Millennium Fund.
The idea for a National Botanic Garden of Wales originated from the Welsh artist, William Wilkins, whose aunt had described to him the ruins of an elaborate water features she had discovered while walking in the local woods at Pont Felin Gat.
The Garden opened its doors to the public for the first time on 24 May 2000, and was officially opened on 21 July by HRH The Prince of Wales. The site extends to approximately 150 acres.
21st Century approaches to recycling and conservation have been used in the design of the centre. Biomass recycling is used to provide heating for some of the facilities such as the visitor centre and glasshouses.
The Great Glasshouse is a large glass-domed structure that houses plants in a Mediterranean climate. The Great Glasshouse is said to be the world's largest single-span glasshouse. It is 95m long and 55m wide and is partially built below ground level. The roof contains 785 panes of glass. The plants are divided into sections from Chile, Australia, South Africa, California, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean itself.
The Double Walled Garden has been rebuilt from the ruins, and is being developed to home a wide variety of plants, including herbs and vegetables. Near here a new Tropical Glasshouse will also be built in 2006 onwards.
In 2003 the botanic gardens came under serious financial threat but due to a deal with the Welsh Assembly and Millennium Commission the gardens were given enough money to carry on running and is now booming.
For further information see: http://www.gardenofwales.org.uk/
Photographs © Andy Prosser. Click on any image for a larger view.