What was particularly wonderful was walking into the great glasshouse (the largest single span glasshouse in the world), and realising that I had supplied the very first accessions. Back in the late 1990s, when the garden was not even a building site, I sold Ivor Stokes, the garden’s first Director of Horticulture a vanfull of South African and Australian plants which I had been growing in the nursery I ran at the time. It was wonderful to see my ericas, banksias, dryandras, melaleuca and calothamnus all thriving, some of them enormous, and clearly having flowered in the last year. Its funny how quickly it is possible to recognise something you grew yourself. These were plants I was making (a somewhat vain) attempt to market as perfect plants for the rash of conservatories which were then sprouting on houses across the land. West Australian flora in particular is incredibly rewarding to grow, and much easier than is often made out. Some ‘zonaldenial’ folks have even tried growing them outside in Cornwall.
This is a place well worth visiting, on its way to finally becoming an established part of Welsh life and, for outsiders, a part of a holiday in Wales. It deserves it.
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