We took advantage of a free sunny day to drive west this morning along the A48 and the M4 to visit the Welsh National Botanic Garden at Llanarthne. It's hard to believe we last visited six years ago, time has just flown by. Most of the early daffodils are now dying back, but later blossoming varieties are in full flower, and primroses are out in force, all offering patches of yellow differently shaded to the grass cover of the terrain.
Many trees are in blossom, but leaves are still tiny, and for the most part, branches still have that bare wintry look about them. Despite cut-backs n public spending, the place looks well maintained and cared for, thanks to a host of devoted volunteers, as well as paid staff, no doubt. On such a lovely day, we thought the number of visitors would be greater that it seemed to be. Garden visitor numbers seem to be increasing across the country. I'd forgotten that the RHS show was taking place in Cardiff this weekend, however.
One notable addition to the landscape is a collection of giant hardwood tree trunks from Ghana's rain forests, each with histories and names as distinctive as their shapes. These are set in the ground on the south east flank of the giant domed greenhouse. They resemble giant artworks sculpted intricately from wood coloured elephant grey since the bark was stripped from it, leaving it to dry outdoors. They will stay were they've been installed for a very long time, as the wood is very durable, and not always susceptible to degradation by rainwater. There are photos here
I took a number of close-up photos of birds feeding off crumbs dropped from tables in the outdoor courtyard of the restaurant, also of vividly coloured tropical butterflies, kept in the large green house in a corner of the double walled kitchen garden. The greenhouse was there previously, although I don't recall seeing or photographing any butterflies at that time. There are photos here.
We returned in time to cook supper and relax, before watching the latest Scandi Noir crime drama on BBC Four, Department Q. Sister June says it's part of a series re-run, so I reckon I may have been out of the country when it was last aired. It was complex, 'cold case' story, rather implausible, although I loved the maverick investigators. One character is a devout muslim, probably meant to be Syrian or Iraqui called Assad. That made me smile, being a direct assault on stereotyping Muslims and middle eastern names. A liberal effort to compensate for fallout from the blasphemous cartoon episode maybe?