The National Botanic Garden is in the Carmarthenshire countryside of Wales. Visitors to the garden will be fascinated by the fusion of historic and modern displays. From its curation by Christopher Middleton, Vicar of Llanarthne in the early seventeenth century as the Middleton Estate to its current embodiment as the Wales National Botanical Garden, the property four hundred years’ worth of rich history.

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History

The property’s roots run to the East India Trading Company’s first expeditions and boasts a deep, key role of Welsh families in the creation of the British Empire.

History begins with Christopher Middleton in the early 1600s, who paid hefty fees to the Duchy of Lancaster to rent the land. Though he was a vicar with little money himself, his brothers were part of the East India Trading Company and had plenty of money to help him.

A new manor was constructed at the estate in 1793 and completed in 1795 for Sir William Paxton. Paxton began to develop and adapt the estate into a huge water park which was finished in 1815.

Edward Hamlin Adams who was a banker and West India merchant, his son, and finally his grandchildren had possession of the Middleton Estate in the Victorian age. It passed from father to son and then from Edward to his children and then was finally sold by William John Hamlin Hughes in 1919.

During the years between 1919 and 1995 the mansion on the Middleton Estate burnt down and the estate was split into seven starter farms. In 1934 THE Carmarthenshire County Council bought the estate and transformed the outbuildings. Seven new farmsteads were created to encourage youth to go into the agricultural industry.

The National Botanic Garden was established in 2000 and has continued to be a popular spot for visitors.

Attractions

The National Botanic Garden of Wales has a variety of areas and exhibit for visitors to explore.

Apothecary’s Garden- This area of the Garden is full of healing herbs and is currently being redesigned and enhanced. The transformed garden will be one of the most beautiful and interesting physics gardens in Britain. The garden will use a body system themed approached and a new area will examine the culture and history of curative plants.

Apothecary’s Hall- The reproduced Edwardian pharmacy is full of syrups, tinctures, and powders used to make pills, potions, and ointments with balances and mortars on display. The magic mirror hangs above the counter and provides a short-story series about an Edwardian apothecary and an apprentice. Outside visitors will encounter a display on how plants were used to treat illnesses throughout the world.

Aqualab- The wooden structure built on stilts over the edge of Pwll yr Ardd is filled with study aids, and microscopes and is known as the Aqualab. Students both young and old come here to learn about the natural world. The Aqualab also utilizes the dipping ponds to find aquatic life to examine under its microscopes.

Ghost Forest- The tree roots on display here come from Ghana’s rainforests and the oldest is three hundred years. The heaviest root weighs in at nineteen tons. Visitors can interact with these tree roots by smelling, hugging, touching, or even drawing on them.

Rock of Ages- This exhibit displays Welsh geology chronicling around three hundred million years. Visitors can touch the fossil imprints of animals that died off more than four hundred million years ago, examine what remains of huge tropical woodlands that used to cover South Wales, and be awed by the repercussions of major volcanic eruptions.

Butterfly House- This hot glasshouse is home to a rainbow of butterflies of all colors that come from tropical habitats.

More attractions at the Garden can be found on its website.

Educational Opportunities

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales offers several different educational opportunities for students and teacher alike.

Guides, Brownies, Cubs, Scouts- The Garden offers a variety of activities for guides, brownies, cubs, and scouts including sleepover options and badge-earning activities.

Teachers- The Garden supports teachers wherever possible. Self-led groups, outreach programs, and teacher training are all offered.

Welsh Baccalaureate- The Garden provides students several options as support for certain portions of the Welsh Baccalaureate including individual projects based on student interest, Global Citizen Challenge portion, Enterprise and Employability portion, Sialens Gymunedol portion, and the Community Challenge portion.

Day Courses- The Garden offers visitors a place to learn new skills. Most classes are taught in the Aqualab.

National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Middleton Hall Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire SA32 8HN, Phone: +44-0-15-58-66-71-49

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