The National Botanic Gardens is is a slice of paradise
in the heart of Wales. It's packed with exotic plants from around the world, and
it's also a haven for a wide variety of UK
and indoor flora and fauna.|
Photo - National Botanic Garden of Wales.
in the year 2000, the National Botanic Garden of Wales officially opened its doors
to the public.
But the history of this remarkable site goes back much earlier
when the land formed part of the Middleton family 400 years ago.
Middletons were forced to sell the estate, the gardens were bought by William
Paxton who started their transformation into a park.
Today the evolution
of the gardens is complete with the opening of the National Botanic Garden of
Wales where visitors can take in a wide variety of the world's plants and trees.
well as a fabulous display of flowers and plants, there's also a rich variety
of wildlife including:
Mammals - approximately 20 species.
* Reptiles and amphibians.
* More than
100 types of moth and butterfly.
* A superb range of over 50 bird varieties.
National Botanic Garden of Wales boasts several important plant collections.
Great Glasshouse Collection is at the heart of any visit and it's a good place
to start your tour indoors.
Designed by Norman Foster and Partners, this
impressive dome is one of the largest single span glass buildings on the planet.
its glass roof there are thousands of plants from parts of the world with a Mediterranean
Amongst the areas featured are central Chile, South West Australia,
South Africas Cape, California, and the Mediterranean.
Look out for
Aquilegas, Sea Roses, Giant Lobelias and Agapanthus.
One of the rarest plants
is McCutcheon's Grevillea, an Australian shrub - five years ago there were only
10 of these flame-coloured plants left in the wild.
nearby outdoor Mediterranean Garden also has a fine selection of flowering plants
including Rock Roses, Cynaras and Red Hot Pokers.
These colourful plants
attract a large number of butterflies and bees in the summer months.
to the Double Walled Garden Collection traces the story of flowering plants from
around the world.
This garden illustrates how plants evolved using modern
DNA analysis and research.
If you've time, don't forget to check out the
bee hives in the corner of the Walled Garden.
Also worth a detour is the
Lakes area which is a magnet for Damselflies and Dragonflies in the summer.
bees and reptiles
great thing about the National Botanic Garden of Wales is that there's something
to do whatever the weather.
So if the heavens open, why not head indoors
to the glasshouse?
Look above you and you're also likely to see a wide variety
of birds including dozens of House Sparrows which have seized the opportunity
to colonise this brave new world.
The Sparrows have nested in the wall next
to the waterfall.
The one thing which is essential to a botanic garden is
pollinating insects, and there's no shortage of them here.
This place is
home to over a million bees attracted by the many flowers rich with nectar.
a food source that is exploited by a vast range of insects including Soldier Beetles,
nicknamed Bonking Beetles.
Woods and meadows
estate surrounding the gardens is also rich in wildlife with pockets of semi-natural
Amongst the trees are Alder, Oak and Sweet Chestnut.
estate's small hazel coppices are good places to look for birds as well as ferns,
mosses, lichens and fungi.
The meadows are also a riot of colour in late
spring and summer with wild flowers.
They are also home to the Dormouse,
an endangered mammal which is seldom seen because of its nocturnal habits.
are famously sluggish during the daytime hours - remember the Dormouse in Alice
Amongst the reptiles which can be seen are Common Lizards,
Grass Snakes and Slow Worms.
copyright and courtesy of the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
copyright of BBC Nature's Calendar.