Plantswoman Claire Austin likes to base herself in Laugharne for a thoroughly enjoyable romp around the gardens and nurseries of South Wales.
When we go away in the UK the trip is always based around gardens and nurseries. I like to check things out and hunt for plants and I don’t like to sit still. We’re busy
so we don’t go often, but when we do it’s all about visiting things locally.
Laugharne is quite amazing. There are long walks to go on and so much history. It’s a great spot to base yourself in and there's a lot to do if you walk out and drive out from there. It's such a different little place, and it's full of eccentricities!
If you go down to the estuary at Laugharne, there's a lovely walk along the stones. It’s a really good idea to take a pair of wellington boots, though, as you never quite know how wet it is going to be. You can walk in line with the tide and make sure it doesn’t come in and get you. It has that pure, open estuary feeling and the landscape is lovely. You can then walk up to Dylan Thomas’s boathouse where he did his writing. However, we arrived there too early and it was closed!
It was fantastic to go back to the National Botanic Garden of Wales (pictured above). I supplied some of the plants when the Botanic Garden was first established around 20 years ago, so it was interesting to go round and try and spot where they were! The Great Glasshouse is absolutely amazing, with all the different zones. It’s fascinating to see how they grow things there.
We went whisky-tasting last time we visited. With me it’s always about the food and drink. It was really funny; the chap forgot what we were supposed to be drinking next – it was Welsh whisky, the one with the red dragon on it from the Penderyn Distillery – and I think he’d tasted a bit too much!
We always visit Llandeilo when we’re down that way. It’s quite an upmarket little town; it’s close to Aberglasney Gardens which is lovely even in the off-season and has some really interesting plants. South-west Wales is a beautiful area for anyone to visit.
Words: Naomi Slade