The mission of the Botanical Garden of Wales is to “inspire, educate and conserve” and it undertakes to do this by informing visitors as they explore and enjoy the surroundings, but also be providing courses, trails and special events. There is a large well-staffed science centre and much of what you can see is part of research into plant life from developments in the walled garden, butterfly house and wildflower meadows to a selection of guides e.g. for urban gardening.
This autumn bee-keeping courses are being run by the Growing the Future project.
Autumn tree trails will take visitors around the many unusual and beautiful trees in the parkland and there are frequent day courses into many aspects of hortculture and the envrionment. Schools and clubs often attend on learning days and there are apprenticeships on offer too.
The four quadrants of the walled gardens have been planted to demonstrate the evolution of flowering plants as well as a thriving kitchen garden.
I was especially keen to see the wildflower research beds seeking the best mixes for pollinators. Parts of the parkland are now lain to stony landscapes to encourage a mixture of flowers sch as peonies, rudbeckia and spurges alongside the Welsh native ragged robin and oxe-eye daisies.
Led by Dr Natasha de Vere, the science centre and its many undergraduate and postgraduate students are investigating issues such as:-
-saving plants and fungi
-sciencce and society
-research projects into biodiversity
The team also manages the collections of living plants, the herbarium, botanical library and the database of plant DNA.
The balance between attracting visitors and research is carefully achieved with four main themes – research and conservation of biodiversity, sustainability, lifelong learning and the nejoyment of the visitor. With 560 acres and over 8000 different plant varieties the Botanical Garden is undoubtedly a national treasure.It is run as a charity with Welsh government support.