Green shoots in the Bishop's Garden
Two new gardens are being created at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, this month, thanks to a grant of £22,900 from Welsh Government and the National Lottery Heritage Fund Local Places for Nature fund.
The Park surrounds the old palace of the Bishops of St Davids, now home to Carmarthenshire Museum, and is adjacent to the present Bishop's Palace, which was built in the 1970s.
The new gardens form part of a wider restoration and conservation of the site, including the transformation of derelict outbuildings to house a new café and learning and interpretation centre. Historic plant varieties are being used to create attractive new planting displays beneficial for wildlife, as well as providing educational opportunities and activities for visitors and children. Educational resources and lesson plans showcasing the planting and installation of the garden are being created in partnership with local primary schools.
(L) 1843 Map (R) 2021 Plan
The new Bishop Jenkinson’s Garden
The entrance area which currently greets visitors to the site is being transformed to provide a new garden for year-round interest,taking its design inspiration from the time of Bishop John Jenkinson (1825-1840). It will be circular in design, with attractive planting including espalier Welsh heritage apple and pear trees and a large range of culinary and medicinal herbs and plants available in the mid-19th century.
The garden is designed to provide a combination of native and ornamental plants providing nectar and pollen sources for insects, reflecting both the sustainable aims of the project and the rich history of the site.
New Woodland Area
© Carol Thomas
The new woodland garden area lies at the edge of the main woodland at the Bishop’s Park and was first opened up five years ago when a mature beech tree had to be felled due to fungus making the tree unstable. This now forms an attractive sheltered open area in a natural bowl, looking out across the flood plain meadow where visitors will be able to sit and enjoy the plantings with the backdrop of the Tywi Valley and enjoy the wellbeing benefits of being in woodland.
New ornamental shrubs, small trees, spring-flowering bulbs and the introduction of bird and bat boxes will enhance the native flora and fauna and benefit woodland wildlife.
Louise Austin, Tywi Gateway Trust Manager, said: “We are thrilled to receive this Welsh Government and National Lottery grant which is enabling us to create attractive new garden and woodland areas, using heritage plant varieties and benefitting pollinating insects and other wildlife. We are greatly looking forward to working with more local schools and community groups to develop a wide range of educational activities and materials for visitors, children and the local community.“