Library and archives

The Garden has a library collection of over 2,000 botanical and mycological books and archives covering over 400 years of the history at the Garden.

Thanks to the support of donors and volunteers, the Garden has a specialist library and archive that is housed in our Science Centre. As a specialist reference collection, it covers the subjects researched and taught at the Garden and is used mainly by staff, students and visiting researchers.

An enthusiastic team of volunteers has sorted and organized the hundreds of books and journals donated by members and supporters. They have various backgrounds, but are united in the effort to provide a first-class collection and information service. The experience is part of lifelong learning for many, as they take on research projects and strive to understand the various subjects that comprise the work of a botanic garden in the 21st century.

Our resources include approximately 2,000 books in the main collection covering Welsh and world floras and monographs, botany, biodiversity, conservation, horticulture and botanical illustration, with special interests in ethnobotany and Welsh herbal traditions. We also have a collection of books about Wales and the Welsh people, culture and history.

The library is home to several special collections:

  • The Stanley J Hughes Mycological Collection with over 10,000 books and reprints donated from the personal collection of the world-renowned taxonomic mycologist. Volunteers are scanning some of this collection to make it available in a digital format.
  • The British Lichen Society’s Library with over 300 books and 8,500 reprints, overseen by its honorary librarian, Theresa Greenaway.
  • The Roy Watling Mycology Collection consisting of books, papers and scientific journals donated by Professor Watling, the former Head of Mycology at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
  • The D J Mabberley Collection consisting of all the papers Professor Mabberley used in the research for the three editions of his Plant-Book.

The archives contain over 2,000 documents and images relating to the development of the site from the creation of the Middleton estate at the end of the sixteenth century to the Millennium project funding bid  and the creation of the National  Botanic Garden of Wales. The archive volunteers continue to collect documents and photographs and are presently working to compile an oral history of memories from former residents of the Garden’s estate.

We are currently open 2 or 3 days a week. If you would like to use the library or archives, please contact us in advance.

For further information or enquiries about helping, please contact:
Randall David, Photographs and Archive collections (volunteer)