Treborth Botanic Garden
Treborth Botanic Garden, covers an area of 18 hectares on the shores of the Menai Strait and has been owned by Bangor University since 1960. Whilst being freely open to the public, Treborth is used for some of the research and teaching activities of the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography.
Treborth.is home to seven glasshouses, including a large landscaped tropical house, Europe's largest underground root laboratory (the rhizotron), a teaching laboratory, formal garden beds, a rock garden, an arboretum and a conservation collection. The new Coast Path for Wales runs through the Garden and attracts over 100,000 visitors per year alongside frequent visits from local schools and special interest groups.
A feature of the garden is the diversity of habitats and soil types, supporting many native plants and animals, which are encouraged by conserving a range of grassland and woodland habitats. Part of the woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). A collection of native plants from the mountains of Snowdonia and coastal habitats in Wales are grown, providing opportunities for study and experimentation with flora and fauna from many ecological niches including freshwater and seashore.
Parts of the old unimproved pasture now have a variety of management regimes to display the effects of these treatments on the native flora, while other parts have been developed to grow a wide range of wild and cultivated plants from all over the world that flourish in our mild climate with a relatively high rainfall and shelter from Atlantic gales. Several glasshouses give protection to less hardy species and a laboratory allows students and staff to examine plants and animals on-site.
There has been a rhizotron (a below-ground laboratory used in the study of soils and plant roots) at Treborth for many years. This allows the study of carbon storage and turnover in soil ecosystems from the bottom up, allowing the scientists to peer into intact soil profiles from an underground observatory. This has recently been upgraded, funded by a Royal Society grant for £150,000, allowing scientists to actually interact with the soil at depth and sample soil atmosphere or soil solution, or root tissue, without disturbing the soil itself.
Friends of Treborth
In 1997, the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden was founded, with a remit to help improve the gardens and facilities. The Friends organise a variety of events, such as lectures, workshops, field outings, garden visits, plant sales and open days. Volunteer also help to keep the gardens trim, and look after the plant collections. In 2006 Bangor University students formed the Students for Treborth Action Group (STAG) which tackles some of the larger projects in the Garden providing invaluable practical experience to its members.
Treborth Botanic Garden is more than simply a botanic garden – it is an outdoor, living laboratory, field studies centre and nature reserve for Bangor University and the North Wales public, and an area for quite enjoyment of the stunning landscape of the Menai Strait.
Nigel Brown, curator