Discovering Carmarthenshire
AT A GLANCE

Carmarthenshire - the Garden of Wales

Glorious gardens are Carmarthenshire’s pride and joy, no wonder the county is known as the 'Garden of Wales'.

Carmarthenshire Gardens

National Botanic Garden of Wales

National Botanic Garden of Wales

As the first national botanic garden to be built in the UK in 200 years, this is a garden that looks to the future as well as reflecting on the past. These twin themes are summed up by its historic double walled garden, a magnificent revival that is overlooked by the futuristic Great Glasshouse, a teardrop shaped technological wonder that maintains a year-round Mediterranean climate.

The dome, home to an exotic array of plants from around the world, is surrounded by lakes, cascades, woodlands and the longest herbaceous border in Britain.

There’s history here too. The National Botanic Garden of Wales is situated on land whose history as an estate stretches back over 400 years. Today the garden is a hive of activity with a packed programme of events. Attractions include the Water Discovery Centre, the Life-long Learning Centre, the Theatre Botanica, a children’s farm, play area and an apiary garden with bee hives. MAP

Aberglasney Gardens

Aberglasney Gardens

Beautiful Aberglasney is has become one of the most-talked about gardens in the UK. Nestled on a hillside in the spectacular Tywi Valley countryside, the house and gardens have been magnificently restored after years of neglect.

Its dramatic rescue towards the end of the last century, led to the discovery of some of the most important historical features belonging to a bygone age of gardens, most notably a unique Elizabethan/Jacobean Cloister and rare parapet walk. The magnificent mansion has also been lovingly restored to reveal its 400 year old secrets.

Since Aberglasney opened its doors to the public, the garden has evolved into a beautiful place of historical and horticultural importance. It has earned the well-deserved reputation of housing an extensive range of rare and unusual plants, including Cardiocrinums, Meconopsis, Trilliums, Lilies and unusual trees and shrubs.

The most recent addition is the award winning Ninfarium, a garden based on the gardens of Ninfa near Rome. It is a unique indoor garden built within the central ruins of the mansion and is filled with a wonderful collection of warm temperate plants, including Orchids, Palms, Magnolias and Cycads. MAP

Cae Hir Gardens

Cae Hir Gardens

'A Welsh Garden with a Dutch History', Cae Hir is the extraordinary creation of Dutchman Will Akkermans, whose family history is Dutch horticulture stretches back over 200 years. Covering 6 acres of hillside in rural West Wales, this RHS Partner Garden unites a meandering stream and water garden, species rose garden, bonsai collection, local slate stonework and innovative formal features into one remarkable, informal and unpredictable garden.

Since its conception in 1983 this unassuming yet bold garden has become synonymous with the skill of blending the wild with the cultivated and of achieving extraordinary results using the simple and the ordinary. Visitors to Cae Hir sing its praises loudly:

"Stunningly beautiful - a garden of passion - a living work of art."
"Absolutely stunning! The most interesting and beautiful garden we have visited."
"Truly Magnificent. I have not seen a garden quite like it anywhere."

Contact - Cae Hir Gardens, Cribyn, Lampeter SA48 7NG. MAP

Norwood Gardens

Norwood Gardens

Tucked away on the sunny south side of the Teifi Valley, Norwood is an idyllic three-acre piece of paradise where you can take a stroll, enjoy a snack in the tea rooms and admire the beauty of an intimate Carmarthenshire garden.

You get seven gardens for the price of one here. Seven individually themed gardens are set along the central path, known as the Long Walk. Look out for a number of intriguing sculptures along the way.

The little gardens have their own names and are separated from each other by borders and areas of mixed plants. The whole area is generously planted with trees.

There are plenty of places to stop, sit down and relax. Every seat has a unique view, sometimes intimate, sometimes expansive, but always interesting. The whole feel of this place is calm, relaxed and personal. MAP

Hywel Dda Gardens

Hywel Dda Gardens

Hywel Dda's lovely garden and heritage centre celebrate the achievements of Hywel Dda, King of all Wales in the 10th Century.

The garden commemorates Hywl Dda and his legal code which was written down and remained effective until the Act of Union in 1536.

Extracts from the laws are carved on slate slabs in the centre garden. Some are surprisingly enlightened such as the one about the rights of women. Another reminds you there are three things you are allowed to pick up from the road - a horseshoe, a nail and a penny.

The garden consists of six small interconnecting gardens, each representing separate divisions of the law, and having its own symbolic tree. The centre is an ideal venue for meetings, educational classes, lectures and exhibitions, as well as school and college visits. MAP

Brechfa Forest Gardens

Brechfa Forest Gardens

The Brechfa Forest Garden is a collection that includes 89 of the 180 forest tree species found growing in the British Isles. Established by local foresters in the late 1950s and early 1960s the original objective appears to have been the establishment of a collection of species from which measurements and observations could be made on the suitability of species for British forest use.

Although data from the 1970's and 80's is sparse, an invaluable list of seed origins and planting treatments has survived. Records of the establishment progress also survive from 1965, 68, 83 and 88. Research measurements began in 1982 with some plots, in particular the less common species, monitored by Mensuration Branch. The Forest District in conjunction with Woodland Heritage, a registered charity, have made notable improvements in the last five years including, access paths, re-planting of plots and signage. Click here to read the leaflet.  MAP