The National Botanic Garden of Wales is one of our favourite places to visit in Wales.
“It is a charity dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity, to sustainability, lifelong learning and the enjoyment of the visitor.”
The National Botanic Garden of Wales was opened to the public on the 24th May 2000. We first visited in 2005.
The double walled vegetable garden was not open then, you could however view it from a platform. It has now been rebuilt from a ruin.
Our next visit was in 2013.
The 220m long avenue which divides the Garden is known as the Broad-walk.
One of the longest herbaceous borders in Britain, from spring to winter, this Garden provides a colourful welcome.
It begins at the Gatehouse, passing this water sculpture called Scaladaqua Tonda.
I particularly love this rill, it runs the full length of the Broad Walk, vanishing into pools along the way, starting at this dragon topped mirror pool.
This feeds water down into The Rill,
a meandering stream that flows down the Broadwalk with a shape and course that is inspired by Carmarthenshire’s Towy Valley river.
It then disappears into the Circle of Decision, a fountain shaped like the cross section of an ammonite,
Designed by Foster and Partners, is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The structure is (312 ft) long and (180 ft) wide, with a roof containing 785 panes of glass.
The plants are divided into sections from Chile, Western Australia, South Africa, California, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean.
Designed by professor Fukuhara for the 2001 Chelsea flower show, it won a gold medal and best in show, after which it was recreated here.
“It is named Sui Ou Tei, a reflection of the national flowers of Japan and Wales – the cherry tree and daffodil. It consists of three traditional Japanese gardens – the Stream and Lake Garden, the Gravel Garden and the Tea Garden. Filled with symbolism and guided by Zen philosophy, this is a lovely place to sit and contemplate.”
This is a place of learning, perched upon stilts this wooden building is full of microscopes and study aids, here schoolchildren can get the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.
Situated in the Walled garden.
It was designed by the world-renowned Welsh architect John Belle, celebrated for his restoration of some of the most famous landmarks in the USA. It is home to tropical plants and a butterfly house.
When it was built 200 years ago, the Double Walled Garden, at over three acres, could provide enough fresh fruit and vegetables for a household of 30 people, and employed 12 full- time gardeners.
The two walls, one brick, one stone, provided shelter from animals and the harsher elements, and created important microclimates where tender plants could grow. It is divided into four quadrants, each with its own distinctive pathway. Part of the vegetable garden is given over to local School Allotments, where the schools have built a plastic bottle greenhouse.
You can end your exploration at the Stable Block, this houses the Seasons Restaurant, Gift Shop and Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery.
If you are planning to visit Wales during the year, we would recommend a visit to the Botanic Garden of Wales, there is much more to see than I have shown.
It also ties in well with a visit to Aberglasney Gardens, another favourite with us.
One of our favourite local places to visit is Croome Court (NT).
Ideally situated for a walk in the park land, visit to the house, church and end up with refreshments in the restaurant. During busy periods refreshments are served from a Tea Car and in a cafe in the Court.
“Croome Park was Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s first complete landscape design. He was brought to Croome in 1752 by George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, who had just inherited Croome Court and its deer parks together with 15,000 acres of Worcestershire.
The new Earl was 28 years old and full of ideas on the new movement towards classicism in architecture and landscape design and probably saw the young Brown as a man whose aspirations matched his own. Together they set about transforming the 17th century house and its Dutch style parterre garden into an undulating rural idyll set about with trees and lakes and rolling away to the distant Malvern Hills. At the focal point of this scene sits the house, Croome Court, which was given a total face-lift that changed it into the Palladian style mansion that we see today
But there is a practical reason behind all this beauty – Croome Court sat on the edge of a bog. Brown, though, had an instinctive talent for understanding drainage and water management, so he created a lake and a mile and a half long serpentine river to draw away all the surplus water. His scheme worked and so the basis for the creation of what seems an entirely natural English landscape was set.”
From Friends of Croome website: http://www.friendsofcroomepark.org.uk
The Church, within the park is, St Mary Magdalene Church, Croome D’Abitot, which is a redundant Anglican church.
The original church at Croome was demolished by the 6th Earl of Coventry when he decided to replace his adjacent Jacobean house in the 1750s. His new house and park were designed and laid out by Capability Brown as was the church, set on a low hill nearby in Croome Park.
The Chinese bridge, originally designed by William Halfpenny in the 1740s for the 6th Earl of Coventry is in the popular Chinese style. The bridge spanned the river close to Croome Court and linked the house to the wider parkland. Sadly, the bridge is thought to have been lost to rot and decay only 100 years after it was built.
A new English Oak bridge was opened in 2017, identically built, using the original plans.
There was originally a deer park at Croome, they can occasionally be seen in the surrounding landscape. Today the wildlife is mainly squirrels and birds. Water fowl enjoy the river and there is a bird hide for visitors, looking out on to a collection of bird feeders.
If you are visiting Worcestershire, please add NT Croome Court to your itinerary.
Visitor information can be found Here
Do you have a favourite walk?