TWO picturesque gardens in Carmarthenshire are blossoming this National Gardening Week thanks to National Lottery funding.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales received £3.5 million from the National Lottery last year, while Aberglasney Gardens received £950,000.

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales, in the Tywi Valley, will use the money to restore its lost Grade II listed regency landscape.

The grant will allow Aberglasney Gardens, in Llangathen, to put heritage horticulture at the heart of its activities.

Huw Bowen, member of the Paradise Regained steering group at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, said: “This is a major landscape restoration project for Wales, birning back to life a magnificent but long lost Regency estate and water park full of cascading dams, lakes and ornamental brides.

“What the National Botanic Garden is able to do using National Lottery money, as well as bringing back to life this designed landscape, is also uncover fascinating stories of the people in and from Wales - the Middletons, the Paxtons, the Abadams, successive owners of Middleton Hall - who created and sustained this estate for more than 350 years.

“In particular, the links and key roles that the Middleton brothers and Sir William Paxton played in the founding and development of the East India Company between 1599 and the mid-1800s.

“These tell a compelling story of intrepid individuals making significant contributions to the development of the British Empire and making personal advancement through international adventuring.”

Joseph Atkin, head gardener at Aberglasney Gardens, added: ““Aberglasney is regarded as one of Britain’s finest historical gardens, but the development of our new training facility along with the restoration of the wonderful old cattle sheds and piggeries thanks to the National Lottery ensures our continued success - and a horticultural legacy for future generations.

“Essentially, we’ve managed to create our own ‘miniature college’ where we’re able to teach all the skills that go into making a heritage garden like Aberglasney great.

“As well as being a training facility the buildings we’ve restored also house a nursery for propagating plants to expand our collection of rare and unusual and make us more self-sufficient.”

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we can help protect and preserve beautiful outdoor spaces so they’re there for everyone to enjoy for many years.

“Gardens, parks and woods are a vital part of our heritage, and one that makes a real difference to people living in and visiting Wales – it’s very important to us to keep them safe and thriving.”