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Wales Wildflower Day makes its dazzling debut
Artists, scientists and meadows full of wildflowers are the stars of the first Wales Wildflower Day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Sunday 14th July.
In fields full of wild orchids, knapweeds and eyebrights, Garden visitors will see painters, wood turners, stained-glass artists, decorative wire makers and embroiderers, all busy creating art and craft inspired by the wildflowers around them.
There will be experts on hand to point out pollinating insects and all the floral highlights, and to give handy tips on how to identify wildflowers, and the Garden’s Volunteer Library Group will be showing off some beautiful and informative books about Welsh wildflowers.
Visitors have a chance to be artistic themselves: artist Martin Reed will be encouraging passers-by to daub their creative contributions on to his new abstract painting, and the Garden’s Rebecca Thomas will be inviting children to make something lovely with flowers.
The Garden’s Interpretation Co-ordinator Bruce Langridge says: “Meadows filled with beautiful wild flowers, a-buzz with butterflies and bees, are an iconic symbol of a great British summer and a real feelgood factor of life. But there are very few wildflower-rich meadows left in our intensively managed countryside.
Gallery not found. Please check your settings.“Luckily,” adds Bruce, “the Garden’s Waun Las National Nature Reserve is packed with wildflowers, growing in traditionally-managed old hay and pasture meadows. It’s like a living museum.”
Waun Las nature reserve is managed as an organic working farm that actively conserves its wildflowers, using traditional farming methods and Welsh breeds of cattle and sheep.
This summer has seen an explosion in the number of greater butterfly orchids on the reserve with more than 500 of these exotic plants having been recorded by the Garden’s Volunteer Wildlife Group.
Wales Wildflower Day will also see the launch of a new display of Welsh arctic-alpine wild plants. This focuses on plants from Snowdonia’s Cwm Idwal, a mountain valley with some of the rarest plants in the country.
A talk on alpine plants will be given by Dr Natasha De Vere, the Garden’s Head of Science and Research, at 1pm in the Garden’s Theatr Botanica.
Says Bruce: “We want visitors to come and see what kind of creative and scientific fun you can have with wildflowers. It’s a great opportunity for people who’d like to not only learn more but to develop a growing and possible lifetime interest in wildflowers. I’m hoping visitors will bring along their own sketch books, fancy cameras and needles and thread so that they can join in the creative experience.”
The first Wales Wildflower Day is being held primarily in a wheelchair-accessible hay meadow just a couple of minutes from the Garden’s Seasons Restaurant.