Garden blogs

Garden Newsletter – October 18


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See the full newsletter here.

Apple Weekend

Apple days are here again at the National Botanic Garden of Wales with a two-day celebration of everyone’s favourite fruit on October 21st and 22nd.

The Botanic Garden is home to the Welsh Heritage Orchard and the Apple Weekend will see the only, and largest, display in Wales of native Welsh apple varieties and those from elsewhere in the UK.

So come and find out about Welsh apple varieties and which would be the best varieties to grow in your own garden at home.

The Apple Display and Identification service will be in the Marquee and don’t forget that if you have an unidentified fruit tree in your garden, bring the fruit in for identification*.

Apple bobbing, making an apple bird feeder, quizzes, trails and a stunning display of around 400 varieties are just some of the fruity treats in store for the Carmarthenshire attraction’s annual Apple Weekend. And, if you have apples, why not bring them along and have a go at making your own juice with the Botanic Garden apple press? (Bring your own bottles, too).

Also, it’s a great time of year to take our Autumn Colour Tree Trail so pick up a copy on your way in and have a walk around some of the Garden’s stunning arboreal treasures.

The Garden is open from 10am to 6pm with last entry at 5pm.

Admission to the Garden is £10.50 (including Gift Aid) for adults and £4.95 for children five to 16 years of age. Entry is FREE for Garden members and parking is free for all.

For more information about this or other events, call 01558 667149 or email

This event is part of the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ Growing the Future project.

* If you want your fruit identified, please bring along three typical examples of each variety of your apples with stalks and eye intact. Any additional information you can supply – e.g. if it’s a ‘cooker’, how does it cook? and how well does the variety keep? – would be appreciated.


This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.


Model show focuses on Great War

Carmarthen Modellers are putting on a ‘Great War’ exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Saturday and Sunday October 21-22.
The weekend-long display will feature models and tableaux by enthusiasts from all over South Wales and will raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Organiser John Whitworth said: “This is an historic year and we were very keen to mark the 100thanniversary of the First World War. It is going to be an impressive display of modelling talents from the region.”

The event will feature models from both the first and second world wars along with trade stands.

The exhibition runs from 10am-4pm both days.


Pounds for Piers!

One of our horticulture team, Piers Lunt has been selected for a prestigious seed-collecting expedition to Tasmania.

The aim of the exciting three-week challenge is to collect seed for our Woods of the World project here at the Garden. It is hoped the Slate Beds and the Boulder Garden will also benefit.

Piers will join other experts from the National Trust, National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens but he needs your help.

He has to raise £2,000 to finance his Tasmanian trip and we’re hoping Members can help.

Please give what you can but, in true crowd-funding fashion, there are a number of rewards on offer for our most generous givers:

£50 = 2 free tickets to the Garden
£100 = 4 free tickets and a special ‘Woods of the World’ tour with Piers
£250 = 2 family tickets, tour with Piers, exclusive afternoon tea in the Great Glasshouse and your name featured on the plant label of a Tasmanian specimen

If you can help, please contact Membership manager Jane Down on 01558 667118 or

Garden Bake Off!

In light of Piers Lunt being chosen to go on this prestigious seed collecting trip, the volunteers and staff at the National Botanic Garden of Wales will be holding a special Garden Bake Off with a cake sale at the Garden on Tuesday 31 October, to help raise funds for Piers.

The Cake Sale will be held in the Great Glasshouse from 10am onwards, please come and support us.

Time to shed those unwanted tools

Before you shut the garden shed for the winter, can you have a root around for spare tools?

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is now a collection point for the charity Tools For Self Reliance, which helps rural communities in Africa.

The Garden has received the first donation of tools, thank you very much to Garden members, Dorian and Janet, for their kind donation.  S4C’s Heno were here to film on the day.

TFSR Cymru are based in Crickhowell and have 65 active volunteers who meet in their fully-equipped workshops to clean and repair donated devices.  In the past eight years, they have sent more than 100 tonnes of tools to various countries in Africa.

So, bring your spare, unwanted and damaged (but not beyond repair!) tools to the Garden and we will pass them on to TFSR Cymru.

They are particularly interested in items that will be of use to carpenters, blacksmiths and plumbers. They will also accept gardening implements which they refurbish in their workshops and re-sell all over Wales, using the funds to pay freight costs.

Bring your donations to the Botanic Garden, any day, between 10am and 4pm until Thursday November 30.

For more information about how to donate and what to give, please contact Jane Down on 01558 667118 or

To find out more about the Tools For Self Reliance charity, visit

Autumn Half-Term

Come and carve a pumpkin and have a conker fight! Just two of the activities this half-term at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Pumpkin carving and conkers begin on Saturday October 28 and continue until the 31st. Then the fun switches from Halloween to Harvest with opportunities to bake bread, make corn dollies, build a model farm and bob for apples.

There will also be a bird of prey display every day, amazing encounters to be had in our tropical Butterfly House and water zorbing.

All of these fun family activities takes place between 11am and 3pm.

Hocus Pocus Under The Stars

There’s an early Halloween treat in-store at the Garden on Saturday, October 28th, with a spooktacular outdoor cinema experience showing of the Disney classic, Hocus Pocus!

There’ll be Halloween fancy dress, fire pit, barbecue, bar, Halloween punch, toffee apples, popcorn, spooky music and more.

Prizes will be given out for the best fancy dress!

As it’ll also be the first day of the autumn half-term, there’ll be plenty of Halloween family activities, pumpkin carving, conkers, apple bobbing, art and crafts on throughout the day, and as your cinema ticket will also give you entry to the Garden, why not make a day of it here?

Tickets are £12 for adults and £8 for children under 16 years old, and available here.  Event starts at 5pm, film starts at 6:30pm.

The British Bird of Prey Centre

There are awesome encounters to be had EVERY day at the National Botanic Garden’s brand-new attraction – The British Bird of Prey Centre – with a daily flying display at 2:30pm!

You’ll be able to enjoy amazing flying displays by a Merlin, Red Kites, a Barn Owl and many more!


Heritage Tours

On the first Wednesday and the last Friday of the month, from October to March, come and learn more on the Garden’s fascinating history.  Starting at 2pm from the Western Entrance of the Great Glasshouse.

Terrain is uneven and can often be muddy; please wear sturdy footwear.


Welly Wednesday

Every Wednesday during term-time, there’s an hour of fun, outdoor activities for pre-schoolers and their grown-ups!  Starting at 11am from the Gatehouse.

For more information, please contact the Education Department on 01558 667150.