I was attempting to photograph a flowering Witch Hazel when a friendly Robin decided to steal the show. This photograph was taken last weekend at the National Botanic Garden of Wales which is offering free admission throughout January.
I had only visited the garden once before, around eight years ago to be precise, when the garden was in its infancy. I was sixteen or seventeen at the time and distinctly remember being unimpressed with the garden. New planting, underdeveloped areas and the over bearing "under construction" feel that the garden oozed all contributed. On the second visit it was a relief that the garden has matured somewhat and although there is not a great amount to see at this time of year it is possible to imagine how the garden would look in leaf.
When I originally visited the garden one of my favourite features in the garden was the natural art installation which depicted a living room arrangement of furniture under an old Oak tree which, left to the elements, was slowly going back to nature with plants and animals moving in. This included Ivy which was slowly winding its way up an old wodden floor lamp. This outdoor space has since been removed unlike other more permanent attractions.
The Great Glasshouse, which dominates the garden, was the main draw when the garden opened as not only was it a great piece of architecture but it offered the public an opportunity to view plants from temperate regions of the world. Aside from some beautiful plants I strongly remember hating a large algae covered wall which is part of the main water feature within the dome. To this day the same feature irritates me and although surrounding plants now help to distract the eye it has been made worse with the addition of goldfish to the shallow pool below.
The garden continues to develop and improve with age. The double walled garden is complete and a tropical house added, which were not there eight years ago. Both look very promising although I did not have the time to explore them fully. I intend to visit again in the Summer to spend more time in the garden and see it in its full blazing glory.
Have you visited the garden? What was your experience like?