The National Botanic Garden opened to visitors back in the year 2000. Aunty and I have visited here a couple of times now over the years and the gardens have developed a great deal in that time. Based on a Regency country house and garden there are new, old and unusual sights wherever you look. These include the worlds largest single span greenhouse, traditional walled gardens and a national nature reserve.
The gardens are based upon the original house built in Llanarthne by the Middleton family sometime around 1650. The Middleton made their riches through the East India Company. The estate was sold in 1789 to William Paxton, who also made much of his wealth from the East India Company. Paxton commissioned a new hall from Samuel Pepys Cockerall, and gardens from Samuel Lapidge, apprentice and successor to Capability Brown. After Paxton death in 1824 the Estate is bought by Edward Adams, but falls into disrepair when family fortunes wane. Unfortunately the main house burnt down in 1931, before the estate was divided into 7 starter farm units for lease.
The work on restoring the gardens is impressive. The main walled gardens create microclimates where fruit and flowers can be shown off to the best advantage. The servants quarters and stables provide conference, lecture and visitor facilities ensuring the buildings have been rescued.
But the main WOW factor comes from the huge single span greenhouse that provides a fantastic display of plants from around the world. These are arranged in regional displays, allowing us to gawp at the beutiful flowers from California sitting next to from from Australia. A display not to be forgotten in a hurry.