National Botanic Garden of Wales
Opened in the Towy Valley at the start of the millennium, National Botanic Garden of Wales is a world-renowned centre and a major attraction. The garden is an important conservation and study facility. The centrepiece is the vast Great Glasshouse – home to rows of exoticism from as far away as Australia, South America, California and the Mediterranean.
Another amazing restoration project has taken place in the Tywi valley, where the ten acres Aberglasney Mansion and Gardens contain one of the most diverse collections of plants in the world. The cloister, from the Elizabethan and Jacobean period, is exceptional, and the formal gardens contains an abundance of parapets and arches as well as a pool garden.
Clyne Gardens, Swansea
Fancy the sound of Elephant Rhubarb and American skunk cabbage? Clyne Gardens, Swansea is the place. There is also a wildflower meadow and Japanese bridge, as well as heather beds, towers, chapels and gazebos here. These gardens are officially famous for their National Collections of Pieris, Enkianthus and Rhododendrons. Look out for the cottage and bluebell wood.
Colby Woodland Gardens, Amroth
An informal woodland site of about eight acres, Colby Woodland Gardens has bluebells, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas aplenty, as well as Japanese maples just for good measure. The meadows and gardens belie the industrial past of the place, and a range of fun activities (den building, anyone?) are often organised here.
Picton Castle and Gardens
Picton Castle and Gardens is flanked by the Cleddau Estuary. The 40 acres of Picton find space for trees as old as time, mazes, ferns, wild flowers and rare species. The walled garden, where a fountain, arches, helpfully labelled medicinal herbs and colourful flowers dwell, is one corner to look out for during the summer.
Hywel Dda Centre, Whitland
Hywel Dda Centre is small and definitely singular. This place was named after a Medieval ruler, and it features a series of trees representing the laws he presided over in Wales centuries ago. Find out why the family clan was all-important back then, and visit the Interpretative Centre – built in the style of the era.
Plantasia in Swansea
Plantasia is a huge adventure site, and its themed zones and mazes make it a particularly good place to take the kids. Its botanic and animal collections are as good as you’ll find anywhere, and the hothouse is a great place to find out all about the magic of plants.
Hilton Court Gardens, Haverfordwest
There are eight acres of tranquil lakes and flowers to enjoy within Hilton Court Gardens. The gardens overlooks west Pembrokeshire’s St Brides Bay and is surrounded by dense forests with a thriving biodiversity. Spot the waterfalls and experience the resident solar domes – tropical refuges of year-round warmth for their exotic inhabitants.
Margam Country Park, Neath Port Talbot
The gardens and landscape at Margam Country Park are Grade Ι listed; the long vistas have evolved since medieval times and are adored with beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers. The Orangery garden has a collection of interesting trees including Tulip Trees, a Cork Oak and cut leaved Beech. Other gardens at the park include the Broadwalk Steps with glorious rhododendrons, a Bamboo Collection and Japanese Garden.
Dyffryn Fernant Garden
Dyffryn Fernant Garden is situated under the Pembrokeshire Preseli uplands, 3 miles east of Fishguard. It is an adventurous private 6 acre garden, making the most of the ancient landscape and applying a touch of magic to it. Dyffryn Fernant is an RHS Partner garden and has self-service teas and coffees in the garden library.