Garden blogs

Don’t miss the Great Glasshouse at its brilliant best

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Most of our visitors will come to the Botanic Garden in July and August. It’s no surprise. Over the summer holidays, the population of West Wales doubles, folks have much more time on their hands and they are looking for ‘things to do’.

But it is right now that Lord Foster’s iconic Great Glasshouse is looking its very best.

It is filled with Mediterranean climate zone plants from around the world and, unsurprisingly, they do their flowering earlier than most of our native species. It helps too that they are nurtured and loved by our dedicated ‘indoor’ team and that they enjoy all the benefits of being under glass.

Right now, the lilacs of California, the flowers of Western Australia, South Africa, Chile and the Mediterranean basin are looking fantabulous. But it is the flowers of The Canaries, which is the sixth Mediterranean climate zone, that really take the biscuit.

There are geraniums from Madeira, dragon trees and gorgeous blooms bursting out all over but this time of year the finest sight must be the echiums. If you are lucky enough to have a sheltered sun trap to do your gardening you might just be able to grow one of these yourself – I’ve seen them in gardens in Cornwall, for instance.

They are bursting into life right now, like amazing slow-motion fireworks, reaching up towards the sun with their huge spikes which very quickly get covered in a mass of flowers to make the sight all the more special.

My photos here don’t do them justice – you’ll just have to come and see for yourself. But, remember: there’s lots more going on in the largest single-span glasshouse on the planet. There’s something of interest and things to wow round every corner.

So, don’t put off coming until the summer. If you do, you’ll miss a terrific treat right on your doorstep.