Welsh garden is planning a future

National Botanic Garden of Wales gets back in track

The National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) is back on track — but is operating without a curator. Senior horticulturists Jessica Gould and Laura Davies will stand in for at least the next year. Gould is in charge of glasshouses while Davies runs the outdoor area. Davies said: “I think the garden looks as good as it ever has, possibly better as people on the ground are making decisions and things are happening more rapidly and more realistically than in the past.” NBGW is seeking trustees and gardeners, and has funding in place to start new projects after being under threat for a year. General manager Rhodri Griffiths, who took over from chief executive officer Evelyn Thurlby last October, said he would be recruiting gardeners in September for the next phase of the walled garden, which has a £600,000 grant from the Millennium Commission. NBGW once had 18 trustees. Griffiths now wants to double the remaining six: Chairman Alan Hayward; vice-chairman Brian Charles; Alastair Bruce; Elwyn Tudno-Jones; Professor Dianne Edwards; and Robin Edwards. NBGW has a staff of 65, which will reduce to 30 this winter. Last year, staff numbers peaked at 117 and fell to 15. Paid-entry projections for 2004 are “ahead of forecast” at 110,000 and “we’ll achieve that”, Griffiths said. With educational visits and functions, visitor numbers could reach 150,000.

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