Gardens still a draw despite rain

The worst weather on record has failed to dampen horticultural zeal, with hordes of people braving flash floods to visit garden favourites.

National Botanic Garden of Wales saw a nine per cent jump in visitor numbers to 16,735 against a year ago. Director Kevin Lamb put the increase down to a new tropical house and improved marketing -techniques. “We launched our new house in July and that’s had a big effect,” he said. “But we’ve changed our -marketing focus and that also proved a big hit. “Our emphasis has swung from raising awareness of the garden to telling people there’s something for everyone no matter what the weather.” Visitor numbers at RHS Wisley were up by around a third on last July to 93,000, according to marketing executive Anna Tomkins. “We opened our new glasshouse in June and people were going to visit whatever the weather,” she said. But it may also have had something to do with the rainy June. “People probably said ‘if this is all the summer we’re going to get, we might as well put on our wellies and get out’.” An Eden Project representative said: “We had a busy July, and when it rains in the middle of the week, people flock to the biomes.” No figures were available, but annual visitor numbers have been around 1.2 million for a couple of years, he added.

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