Friday, January 18, 2013

National Botanic Gardens of Wales - Tropical House

Between Christmas and new year I was fortunate enough to make a visit to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, near Camarthen. Unfortunately it was only a fleeting call, but it gave just enough time to dash around the Tropical House and Great Glass House before the daylight gave out.

The garden is well worth a visit, and although, as expected, there wasn't a huge amount going on outside in the depths of winter, the glasshouses were both in spectacular shape. I can imagine that the grounds will look stunning later in the season. I don't tend to see too much written about the place, which is a shame really. Being only 5 minutes off the A48 it's pretty easy to get to.

I was keen to visit the Tropical House for its collection of monocot plants, as well as the chance to escape the bitterly cold wind outside. Orchids, Palms, Bromeliads, and of most interest to me, Aroids, were all on display in its warm and steamy interior.

I will admit that my knowledge of some of the tropical foliage aroids such as Philodendron and Anthurium is not that great, so any names are as shown on the ID labels (I did notice one or two mislabelled plants). If I could provide the conditions these species need (year round warmth and humidity) I would just love to grow some of these, but I guess I'll just have to stick to the tuberous aroid species instead!

As I write, it is trying to snow outside. A kind of wet slushy snow, not far off being sleet. My mornings gardening work has been delayed a little until it passes, so I figured what better way to warm up than by sorting through and sharing a few photos of warm tropical plants! Trying to take photographs on a gloomy day in the darkest month of the year was a bit of a struggle, but hopefully the shots will give a taster of the greenhouse.

The Tropical House, National Botanic Garden of Wales

Alocasia 'portodora' had reached impressive proportions! This is a hybrid between A. ordora and A. portei.

Another shot of Alocasia 'portodora' this time of an old inflorescence. A couple of new buds were also showing.

Anthurium 'Jungle King'. This plant is sometimes found as a houseplant in UK but is unlikely to do well in the average centrally heated house.
Unlabelled Anthurium species.

There were many bromeliads in flower. Sadly most were unlabelled.

Another unidentified bromeliad.

A young Dypsis lutescens growing with a Monstera and other aroids. I've been meaning to get hold of this palm - there is something about the yellow petioles that I like.

Musa velutina in flower, complete with pink bananas! This is a commonly grown species often seen in seed catalogues. I've grown it in the past. Perhaps I'll give it another try this year...

The wonderful foliage on Philodendron xanadu

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Xanthosoma sagittifolium growing part submerged.
That's about it for now. I have a load of photos of the Great Glass House to sort through too which I'll feature in my next post. This is the largest single span greenhouse in the world and is absolutely stunning, both in terms of its architecture and the plants it contains.

Hope you enjoyed the photos!


  1. The bromeliad with the purple flower looks like a Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea) originally from Ecuador