The friends of treborth botanic garden cyfeillion gardd

Дата канвертавання27.04.2016
Памер85.36 Kb.







Number/Rhif 8 May/Mai 2000

Welcome to the 8th edition of the Newsletter. Spring is always a busy period for gardeners, and I am particularly grateful to all those that have contributed to this edition. I'd like to make a special plea for more articles from other members (once again, most of this edition has come from the Friends Committee). The newsletter a great opportunity to pass on your experiences, exchange ideas, and enthuse other members. Please put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and let us know what you are up to!

Much is happening 'behind the scenes' at Treborth at the moment. The future of the gardens has been foremost in our minds since the Friends began, and at last we are beginning to reap the benefits of having a committed and well organized group of volunteers. I'm very glad to report that the University and the Friends are now implementing a two tier plan of development at the gardens. The first tier involves using some of the Friends funds to undertake vital work in the gardens. The first stage of this has already begun, and is reported on later (see "Garden Work in Progress - The Tree and Shrub Borders at Treborth"). It also involves the hard working and dedicated volunteer sessions that have been held throughout the winter and which have achieved so much in the garden. These are small(ish) scale, low cost projects that will improve the gardens and undertake vital maintenance work.

The second tier of the plan involves an application for Objective 1 Funding. This is very much a joint University-Friends project, and we are working hard at bringing together a coordinated development plan and undertaking a feasibility study. Once this has been done, a formal application will be made. To say that these plans are in their infancy seems a shame, as we have been considering them for a very long time, but such plans are very complex, take a great deal of time and manpower to put together, and have no certainty of success! Suffice to say that much is happening, and we hope to be able to report more fully in a future edition of the Newsletter.

Finally, I unfortunately have to report another theft of plants from Treborth. These were of some educationally important Liliaceae species from the Keyhole beds. Please keep a look out when visiting the gardens, and report anything suspicious to the staff.

The next edition of the Newsletter is due out in September. As always, all articles will be gratefully received (preferably on disk); please submit any contributions to me by 1st August 2000.

Trevor Dines (Newsletter Editor)

Rhyd y Fuwch, Bethel, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 3PS.


Botanic Gardens and Nature Reserves in New Zealand

and the Rôle of Volunteers In Them

In October and November 1999, I was lucky enough to be able to travel around New Zealand, and visited as many botanic gardens, arboreta and nature reserves as could be fitted into the tour. For anyone interested in plants, birds, and other wild life, New Zealand is full of marvels, quite mind-blowing in the diversity of their form and characteristics. Over the past 200 years the native bush has become sadly eroded in area, and much that remains is depleted in content - invaded by exotic plants (such as Tradescantia , Clematis vitalba, and our Treborth woodland menace Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. argentatum), and native birdlife threatened by exotic predators (such as possums, goats, feral cats, stoats, and ferrets).

However, it was encouraging to see much active conservation work in progress. Some of the most endangered birds are flightless, or have poor flight, but are being brought "back from the brink" by breeding programmes in a number of centres, the progeny being released into the wild on islands that have been cleared of predators. Many such reserves are accessible only with a permit, but the famed bird breeding centre at Mount Bruce (Wairarapa) and the island reserve of Tiritiri Matangi (in the Hauraki gulf) are open to the public and are encouraging success stories of bush and bird regeneration. Picture this: on Tiritiri there are takahe (iridescent blue, with stumpy red legs and a thick beak, so rare as to be considered extinct about 50 years ago) ambling around your feet like laid-back chickens, while saddlebacks (a threatened species) shriek in your ear. The air is filled with bell-tones of tuis and bellbirds and if you are lucky (as I was) you will hear the haunting cries of the kokako (a very endangered species) coming closer, then see it creeping along branches within a few feet of you. There are blue penguins, kaka, spotted kiwi, flocks of parakeets and many other rare bird species breeding freely on the island. Tiritiri was grazed until the 1970's to the point of being almost denuded of bush, but over the last 20 years volunteers have planted 250,000 trees, grown in a nursery from locally collected seed. The result is impressive, with massive bush regeneration over most of the island.

In botanic gardens I saw many fine native plant collections. Ferns are a special feature of the New Zealand bush - spectacular tree ferns, climbing ferns, filmy ferns in great diversity, epiphytic ferns (including the fascinatingly primitive Tmesipteris). They are magnificent in the bush and a characteristic feature of New Zealand gardens; several botanic gardens show them to good advantage in ferneries - those at Pukekura Park (New Plymouth) and in the Auckland Winter Gardens are especially comprehensive, attractively displayed and well labelled.

Concerning the role of volunteers, most of the botanic gardens, arboreta, and nature reserves that I visited had "Friends" groups. In a few it seemed that the Friends do little more than have occasional coffee mornings to raise pin-money. But in many they provided the volunteer labour that was vital to the development and survival of the garden or reserve. In some this seems to be on an ad hoc basis, but in others it is highly organised. Eastwoodhill, for example, is a large and splendid arboretum and garden in quite remote backblocks behind Gisbourne. It was founded and developed privately by Douglas Cook (who was also one of the moving spirits behind the famous Pukeiti rhododendron gardens), but when he died in the late 1950's there was little money to maintain the gardens of Eastwoodhill so they soon deteriorated. In the 1980's a local farmers wife got together a group of locals willing to help, and was told, "You'll be like a lot of hens scratching around among the weeds" - fortunately they persisted and are now the mainstay of fine gardens. A horticulture director plans the overall planting and maintenance strategy, and the volunteers are organised into small groups, each being responsible for a particular area of the garden. A whiteboard lists any other tasks for the day (such as taking care of visiting groups, manning a small shop, collecting entry fees, etc.) and, having been suitably trained, they get on with jobs without the director having to be on hand.

At the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary reserve in Wellington, volunteers have formed a very important part of the workforce from an early stage of the reserve development. The Karori Sanctuary is only 5 years old, 250 hectares in extent and developed from the watershed of an old reservoir within the City boundaries. Being within an urban area it had all the usual predators, and planted and invasive exotics, plus a history of free access to humans and their dogs (shades of Treborth there!). The stated vision is "to create an island in the middle of Wellington teeming with birds and other wildlife such as weta, geckos and tuatara, accessible and enjoyable for all". To achieve that has meant erecting a 9km exclusion fence designed to keep out even possums, and all predators within have been removed by trapping and poison drops. Initially, volunteers were sought from a members list of Friends which had resulted from a major publicity drive, and these volunteers filled in a questionnaire which offered them a "wish list" of potential jobs, but this system proved too open ended to be managed satisfactorily. Now potential volunteers are offered more specific alternatives, they are organised into self-managing teams, each under the control of a group leader, each group given training for carefully specified tasks, the whole volunteer scheme being managed by a paid volunteer-controller working 10 hours per week. Amongst the group tasks are: guiding walks (for which they are trained in first aid, plant recognition, site history, etc. and given a typhoid test as the area is still an emergency watershed); security (checking the buildings at weekends and walking the exclusion fence); nursery work (including collecting seed from native sources); office work (photocopying, word processing, stuffing envelopes, etc.); "weedbusters" combating invasive exotics (here including buddleia, gorse, blackberry and sycamore); and weka feeders (wekas are charmingly mischievous flightless birds which have become increasingly scarce, Karori Sanctuary is one a chain of weka breeding centres). Volunteers can opt for more than one group. Even housebound volunteers can help by forming part of a "telephone tree" for disseminating information. Two newsletters are produced , four times a year, one ("Keruru") for the general membership, the other ("Boots'n'All") specifically for the volunteer force, and there is a well designed website (

There are eradication programmes for predators and invasive plant species in many other bush reserves, though that is an immense (and perhaps impossible) task. The native wetland bush is extraordinarily rich in species from canopy to forest floor, but very fragile, all too easily damaged by invasive predators, by opening up, and by trampling. I was very impressed by the abundance of well surfaced tracks and boardwalks that have been constructed to channel visitors over or around sensitive areas, and which also allow less agile visitors to experience the excitement of the rainforest environment.

Like many other gardens and nature reserves, Dunedin Botanic Garden has an attractive visitors centre/shop, which was built by volunteers and is run by them. It stocks guides to the garden, lists of activities, lectures etc., and also maps and well-designed crafts made locally (T-shirts, pottery, seeds of native species, cuddly kiwis etc.).

Finally, here is a list of some of the many volunteers' duties compiled from volunteer schemes encountered in botanic gardens and nature reserves in New Zealand. My grateful thanks go to all those volunteers I met in New Zealand, their enthusiasm was infectious, and they do a great job in a country with such a wonderful range of fascinating wildlife.

A summary of some jobs undertaken by volunteers in botanic gardens and nature reserves in New Zealand.

Practical maintenance

Practical gardening work: varying from dead-heading roses to group management of a particular area, under the control of a convenor. Working parties for planting, nursery work, weeding, etc.

Stewarding - security patrols, checking fences, checking buildings at weekends etc.

Controlling predators and alien weeds.

Feeding and other care of wildlife.

Recording, labelling, mapping

Telephone tree for information to working parties.
Fund-raising activities

Collecting entry fees

Shop assistants and shop maintenance

Producing high quality items for sale (e.g. plants, paintings, T-shirts, pottery)

Cooking and waitressing for visitors

Plant sales, getting plants from local nurseries.

Educational activities (some also for fund-raising)

Leaflet production

Guided walks

Talks to outside bodies (Rotary, WI's, etc)

Educational workshops

Newsletter editing

Production and maintenance of website

Office and administration

Computing records (membership, and plant records)

Photocopying, stuffing envelopes etc

Word processing

Pat Denne (Committee Member)
Middleton Hall, Paxton, and Treborth

We wonder how many of you spotted the (deliberate) mistake in our last newsletter. Paxton is hardly a common surname and it is extraordinary that the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Treborth, the only botanic garden in North Wales, should both be associated with a Paxton. However they lived mainly at different times and apparently were not related.

It was William Paxton who bought Middleton, near Carmarthen, in 1789 having returned from India with a fortune. He built an imposing house in the middle of the park and developed extensive water features. Paxton's tower was built in 1815 to commemorate the deeds of Nelson. It is situated on a hill with views of the whole park and the Tywi valley, and was the most significant part remaining of William Paxton's developments. A visit to the National Botanic Garden of Wales will reveal some of the other remains of the original estate and is strongly recommended.

Joseph Paxton is best known for his designs for the construction of the Crystal Palace to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Born in 1803 he started work as a garden boy at a young age. Due to his hard work and natural ability he was noticed by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and offered a job at Chatsworth. With his skill as a horticulturist, designer of glasshouses and landscapes it was not surprising that he was chosen to develop parks at Liverpool and Birkenhead and later by the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company to design the pleasure grounds to the ambitious hotel and villa development planned for the site between the two bridges across the Menai Strait. The pleasure grounds were completed some 150 years ago, but were abandoned soon afterwards. Remnants of them still exist in the parts of the Treborth woodland that were planted at a later date. It is to be greatly hoped that sufficient funds will be raised in the next few years to make it possible to unearth these remains at the same time as the replacement of buildings in the Bangor University botanic garden at Treborth.

Pauline Perry (Chairman)
Friends Of Treborth Events

Botanical Art. Then & Now” by Kay Rees-Davies

20 January, 2000

32 members heard Founder-Member Kay Rees-Davies give a succinct, well-considered and highly enjoyable review of the development of botanical art from Ancient Greece to the present day. With frequent references to prints she had brought along she highlighted influential artists such as Van Eyke (14th century), Albrect Durer (16th century) and Pierre Redoute (18th century).

She went on to explain that she did not regard herself as a botanist, horticulturalist or gardener but that she does love growing and painting plants. This happy combination has resulted in Kay winning many awards for her botanical art culminating in two RHS Gold Medals, one for her ivy studies and the other for a superb collection of water-colours of apple varieties examples of which she brought along for us to freely admire. We were left in no doubt that here was a true botanical artist acknowledging the intimate diversity of plant morphology and its scientific study and celebrating it with vivid artistic skill.
You can enjoy more of Kay's remarkable botanical works at a special exhibition in the Pickard Room at Penrhyn Castle from 17th May – 12th June, 2000.

Nigel Brown (Curator)
Visit to the Herbarium

5th February, 2000

Herbaria, like laboratories, are places where the uninitiated stand at the door afraid to enter without due authority. It was therefore with some trepidation that I stood at the door and peered in. I thought ’this is a haberdashery not a herbarium’. The walls were lined with cupboards with glass fronts like those that used to store women’s blouses in the old days. In the cupboards were brown folders similar to civil service files. Nigel Brown opened one of these and took out a sheet with the pressed leaf of a fern attached to it and in the right bottom corner of the sheet was a description of the fern and the place where it was collected. The sheet became a wonder, how did they know that it was called such-and-such, who was the Mr Roberts labelled as the collector and where was Mr Jones’s garden in 1898?

I started to look at and compare different sheets and noticed the differences betweem them. I thought of referring to the well-thumbed tomes in the bookcase, but remembered the problems I have had in the past with such volumes, so looked instead at the different ways the pressed material was attached to the sheets. The far eastern examples were carefully stitched into place but the more modern examples were held by pieces of linen, not as attractive! One sheet, labelled by Forrest, came from China and looked immaculate. Remembering his problems collecting there, it was astonishing that the example’s condition was so good after 85 years.

The room as a whole was like the sanctum of a Greek temple. A long vertical window looking out on a concrete wall and the walls decorated with the photographs of previous custodians. No opportunities for being distracted by the sight of living plants here.

Two students studying for final year projects are preparing computer-based data bases for identifying and describing animals. Computers are much more user friendly than floras without pictures - we were impressed with the use of computer pictures to illustrate the descriptions. Biology students in future will find it essential to present their work using such methods. Perhaps somebody will produce an on-line Flora complete with keys and pictures, now that would be a useful project.

At this point I must admit that throughout my visit various Zoological specimens, particularly the two faced lamb, distracted me. If only they had a model of the lamb’s skull and an X-ray of its brain it might be possible to understand where the lamb’s development went wrong.

It was an interesting visit perhaps one day we could visit another department to hear and see what is going on. (What did happen to the lamb please?)

Bryan Hyde (Floraphobe)
"A Ramble in the Cascade Mountains of North America"

Len Beer Memorial Lecture by Peter Cunnington

17th March, 2000

The joy of lectures such as these is being transported to another country for an hour or so in the company of experts that still get a thrill from the discovery of great plants in the wild. So it was with Peter Cunnington, who treated us to some wonderful slides and a narration that was educational, thought-provoking, entertaining and, at times very humorous.

Peter spent three weeks exploring a probably under-visited part of North America - the Cascade Mountains. These lie to the west of the rockies, bordering the coast, and largely comprise Marin County. The climate was described as Mediterranean, with a warm, wet winter and a flush of early spring flowers that are largely over by June, which is when Peter visited. The treats were few, and needed to be searched out, but what treats they were when found!

Penstemmons quickly became the butt of the joke in the talk. Sub-titled "And here is another blue Penstemmon species", the diversity of species was well illustrated. Most (but not all) of them were blue, but the different shades were worth seeing, as were the variety of habits and habitats that result from a genus when found in its centre of evolution.

It's always nice to see familiar garden species in the natural setting, and so it was with Limnanthes douglasii (Poached-egg Flower), Eschscholzia californica (Californian Poppy), Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' and Lupinus arboreus (Tree Lupin). All these were illustrated with comments on habitat and comparisons with cultivated plants, perhaps the most interesting being with Sequoia sempervirens (Giant Redwood), which Peter reported as growing better in Scotland than here in its native range.

Most of Peter's slides, however, were of a very eclectic mix of plants. A great deal of effort (both physical and mental) had gone into locating some of these, but this effort remained unacknowledged and the only emotion that came through was Peter's enthusiasm and joy at seeing them in the wild ("If the slide is out of focus, its because my legs were shaking when I took the photo" was a comment with one stunning species of Calochortus).

Although much of Marin County is quite dry, there are, of course, wetter areas, and these provided many of the more stunning species seen. In the Illinois river valley, Silene hookeri was seen, along with Trillium rivale, and, in a floating bog, were the wonderful insectivorous trumpets of Darlingtonia californica (Cobra Lily), with their sinister hooded pitchers. Nearby, a few plants of Cyprepedium californicum had sprays of smallish white and green flowers.

Dryer pine forests, particularly those with much fallen wood, provided a habitat for Pyrola asariifolia, a symbiotic species, and two parasitic plants, a slender reddish orchid (Corallorhiza striata) and a stunning blood-red orobanche (Sarccodes coccinea).

At higher altitudes, various Lupins, which are difficult to identify, were found on galciated scree, along with Delphinum menzesii and Phlox diffusus. A semi-parasitic species, Castilleja minima (Indian Paintbrush), with its intense red flowers, provided a dramatic contrast to the blue Delphinum.

Back again to moister habitats, we were treated to some of the Trillium and Erythronium species characteristic of this area. Of the latter, E. montanum, with its large white flowers and E. grandiflorum, with smaller yellow flowers, were notable. Peter obviously has active research interests, and we were shown delightful slides of several Dodecatheon species. The taxonomy of these are being investigated by Peter, and here he reinforced the benefits gained when seeing garden plants in the wild.

Some of the most memorable aspects of Peter's talk were his humor and his ability to leap off the narrative path at a tangent. Such diversions, however, were never uneccassary or obstructive - quite the opposite, in fact. His anecdotes were highly entertaining, and he had the audience in stiches on several occasions. Peter has a rare talent for telling stories - he enjoys it and it shows. I, for one, look forward to a return visit.
Trevor Dines (Editor)


Weather and Wildlife

Rainfall & Air Temperature for 1999



Air Temperature (0oC)




































































Rainfall & Air Temperature for 2000



Air Temperature (0oC)

























Total (so far this year)



The millennium ended with the wettest year at Treborth since our records began in 1988. December included a severe storm on 23rd which resulted in significant windfall damage in the woodland as well as extensive damage to the tropical glasshouse. Hedgehog was still about on 6th and a male Blackcap visited the curator’s bird table on 15th & 17th. Long Tailed Tits were seen feasting on a peanut feeder on 17th, the first observation of such behaviour in this species at Treborth, and one to be repeated several times over the following months including six together on a single small feeder on 21st January. A Woodcock was present in the wet woodland below the bog garden in December and again in February.

Siskins were evident throughout the winter period (up to 15 on 22nd Jan.) and continued into the spring with at least two males in song. Ravens were seen reconstructing their Strait-side nest on 22nd January and on 24th January male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker were observed in courtship display shuffling from branch to branch in the Ancient woodland in agitated fashion with much tremulous calling and wing shivering. Blackbird was in song by 26th January and by the end of February there was a good dawn chorus involving six or so species. Peregrines provided some thrilling territorial display dives on 26th February and a week later Sparrowhawks engaged in similar exciting aerobatics as they too established their nesting territory at Treborth.

By early March Song Thrush, which had been notable throughout the winter with up to a dozen in the main cultivated part of the garden, was nest building and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was loudly drumming. Heavy sallow blossom from 6th March coincided with a flush of Quaker moths and other species peaking with a catch of 90 moths of 13 species on the night of 15/16 March. Red Admiral was the first butterfly recorded in the new millennium, on 10th March, presumably an overwintering individual, closely followed by several Peacocks which appeared in good numbers throughout early Spring. The first summer migrant bird was Chiffchaff on 15th March followed by Blackcap singing on 28th.

Early April is a fine time to star watch and the evening of 6th provided an irresistible attraction in the form of a fine planetary conjunction, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn forming an isosceles triangle low in the southwest closely flanked by a young crescent moon. With a telescope the rings of Saturn and the Galilean moons of Jupiter were clear to see. Later that night a fine Aurora Borealis was widely reported and shortly before dawn a low, slow meteorite exploded ‘over’ Abergwyngregyn cascading earthwards in several streamers. We were so excited we forgot to listen for the accompanying, time lagged, woosh which no doubt marked the final moments of this nomad from outer space. Quite a portentous night – did anyone see all three events I wonder?

Sandwich Terns appeared in the Strait on 12th April, Swallow over Treborth on 15th and Willow Warbler singing on 18th. Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling nearby on two dates in mid April exactly a year since the last record for the Garden. By 20th Orange Tip butterflies were on the wing and by the month’s end the full adventure of spring was evident – wild cherry blossom along the woodland edge with Herb Paris and Adders Tongue Fern, Bluebells and Bugle, Early Purple Orchid and Primrose, and days full of bird song and the hum of bees round the Sycamore flowers.

Nigel Brown & Daniel Brown



In spite of the unhelpful winter weather conditions the small group of regular volunteers has been making great efforts to deal with a backlog of work on the tree and shrub borders. The gardens staff have, of course, also contributed to this effort when their other duties permitted. We hope that these developments will be apparent to regular visitors.

To begin with much of the effort might seem mainly destructive. Anyone who has taken over an area planted with trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants more than thirty years previously, and in which there has not been a labour force available to do all the necessary annual pruning weeding etc., will be aware that drastic measures have to be taken. A few "weed" plants have become a huge problem and no doubt will take some time to deal with satisfactorily.

The first of these to be mentioned is a relative of the now dreaded Japanese knotweed. Apparently named Himalayan knotweed (Persicaria wallichii, syn. Polygonum polystachyum), like the Japanese knotweed this was originally introduced as a desirable garden plant. It has stout red annual stems growing to 5 feet or more high and topped with a branched inflorescence of numerous tiny whitish flowers. But it grows from an underground spreading rhizome which is very difficult to eradicate. At Treborth it has advanced over considerable areas and is a problem we have yet to deal with.

Another big problem which many will be familiar with is bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.). This in particular has insinuated itself into the midst of the shrub borders where it is difficult to reach. In places it is so thick with massive branches that it appears to have killed off some shrubs or at least whole branches. Vast amounts have been cut out over the years but now we must aim to remove all the roots.

Ivy is a third plant that has managed to cover large areas of ground between trees and shrubs and in many cases grows up the trunks to get to the light. Opinions appear to differ regarding this plant. Admittedly in natural areas such as hedgerows and woodlands, it provides food for birds such as thrushes and nesting sites. But in cultivated areas it can be very invasive, can block out light and inhibit the growth of more desirable plants.

Some of the shrubs, especially cotoneasters, have seeded themselves and managed to grow up and swamp valuable specimens so much cutting back or removal has had to be undertaken with these invaders. A few of the more common trees now also crowd out more desirable specimens or are suffering from old age. Although the gardens staff have been able to deal with some of them, it was beyond the capabilities of the volunteers to help and so it was decided to spend some of our funds (raised from plant sales, open days etc.) on outside help. We were fortunate that Thorman Tree Specialists have been able to offer this help. The added advantage is that they have the machinery to grind up all removed plant material to provide much needed ground mulch.

We hope that before long our efforts can be seen to be more constructive by planting up the gaps with some interesting species new to the gardens at Treborth.

Pauline Perry (Chairman)

I'm glad to report that Daniel Brown has now returned safely from his Antarctic expedition (and has been described as tanned and super-fit!). Despite the expedition not quite reaching its goal, Daniel had a superb time in South America (Argentina) and the Falkland Islands, and I'm told that his slides are stunning. We'll have an opportunity to see these when Daniel gives a talk for the Friends in September.

Trevor Dines (Editor)

The special cover of this edition of the Newsletter is a stunning illustration of a bamboo by Judy Ling Wong. The title reads, "The shimmer of light and shade in a palace of bamboo". Many thanks to Judy for such a generous contribution!

The bamboo collection at Treborth improves every year, and they are looking particularly impressive at the moment. The strongly spreading varieties need to be positioned with care, as they can quickly invade beds and borders to become serious weeds. Many are best planted in lawns, as they are at Treborth, where a weekly mow will keep the clumps in check.

База данных защищена авторским правом © 2016
звярнуцца да адміністрацыі

    Галоўная старонка