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National Botanic Gardens of Wales

It was great to see such a good turn out for this extra event on our programme, given it was a weekday.

Seven of us, including new member Neil, had a lovely tour of the gardens given by a NBG volunteer who was very knowledgeable and his passion for the work he does, came through.

He told us of the history and what the area looked like prior to what we see there today, and also of the plans they have, to bring back to life some other of the existing features of the gardens which have disappeared over time.

This turned into a very interesting two hour tour and by the end we were all ready for the cafe for lunch.Some purchased food and some brought their own sarnies and it was good to chat and catch up with everyone.

New member Neil told us he used to work at the gardens when it was first opened and that he has recently moved back to Wales, near to Newcastle Emlyn.He said that there was a walking path that goes right passed his house and promptly invited the group there for a walk and the all important coffee and cake, in Spring 2017.Well he earned his brownie points with me--or should that be scout points??!!--thats a definite date and the kind of new members I really like!!!

Robert and Dafydd decided after lunch that a shoppng excursion beckoned so the rest of us toured parts of the gardens we hadn't seen earlier including the ghost forest which is an impressive environmental art installation consisting of ten giant hardwood tree stumps.

The trees were brought to Europe from a commercially logged forest by the artist Angela Palmer. It was a massive logistical exercise.She brought the trees from deep in the Suhuma forest in Ghana, West Africa, with the full co-operation of the loggers and the Ghanaian authorities. The largest is 300 years old and weighs 19 tons.

Her aim was to highlight deforestation and the depletion of the world’s natural resources after learning that a tropical forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every four seconds.

We then decided to tour the Waun Las reserve where we gained height quickly to get to some high vantage points giving us good views back to the gardens and greenhouse, and in other directions over the rolling hills of the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside.

On our route down and back to the gardens we came across a sheep that was badly caught up in lots and lots of brambles that had wound themselves around the sheep trapping it and from which it never would have escaped by itself.It seemed to have been there for some time and was obviously now in a very distressed state.

Gela, our caped crusader stepped forward with a pair of hand shears and the rest of us became onlookers as she seemed to fix the sheep with her stare and almost hypnotise it into letting her approach and after some time managed to cut the sheep free.

Did it stop to thank her??NO!!With Gela licking a few inflicted wounds, off it scampered none the worse for wear, back to its fold.

We carried on back to the gardens and made our way back to the car park as time had passed so quickly and it was very nearly closing time.

Everyone agreed what a lovely day we had had, and that its nice to do some slightly different events in addition to the monthly walks sometimes, as we have so many interesting things going on all around us.

Looking forward to the "extra" events planned for February and March.





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