Garden blogs

A Rare Film Festival of Rare Welsh Plants and Fungi

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A few weeks ago, I went to ‘Wales’ Wonderful Wild Flora & Fungi’ Short Film Festival organised by Plant Link Cymru (PLinC).

It was held at the Centre For Alternative Technology’s inspiring new WISE training centre and was full of people involved in nature conservation in Wales, some I knew, some I hadn’t seen for years and some I enjoyed meeting for the first time.

I was there to introduce a 5 minute-long film I made with Cardiff-based film maker Tim Tyson Short. It was about a rare and beautiful wild mushroom called the violet coral fungus Clavaria zollingeri which grows in a churchyard in Drefach Felindre, on the north-west corner of Carmarthenshire. I’d found it there a few years ago but when we returned in early October, we couldn’t find it. Luckily, local residents Michelle and Eva Laine came along to not only tell us where to find it but to take part in the film. Eva’s only 10 years old but she stole the show – such enthusiasm and knowledge of fungi at such a young age. I had written a tight script but me and Eva ended up having a fun chat on camera so the script went out the window!

Have a look – you’ll see what I mean.

The rest of the Short Film Festival, now all available to view on You Tube, featured people more expert than me talking about arctic-alpine plants, rare plants at Brechfa Pool, the Llangollen whitebeam, arable weeds in Mwnt and mountain lakeside mosses. They’re fascinating stories which make us think about the conservation challenges our vulnerable Welsh plants and fungi face in an uncertain future.

Hats off to Plantlife Tracey Lovering and Colin Cheeseman for commissioning the films and organising the event.

The event was also introduced by the Garden’s former director Rosie Plummer who is now a trustee of Plantlife. I must mention the vegan food provided by CAT – absolutely delicious – I should have taken a photo of the courgette and lentil pies – yum.

All the films are now on You Tube and we’d be extra delighted if you would like to show them to your local community/gardening/nature group. Let me know and I could see if one of the film contributors might be willing to come along to introduce and talk about the films.

Llangollen Whitebeam 

Violet Coral Fungus 

Arctic-Alpines

Brechfa Pool 

Mwnt Arable Flora 

Fynnon Lloer Mosses