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Council support for Botanic Gardens until 2020

Credit: ITV Cymru/Wales

Carmarthenshire County Council says it will extend its support to the National Botanic Garden of Wales until March 2020.

Members of the executive board have agreed to extend the authority’s £1.35m interest free loan to the Garden and allow the continued occupation of farmhouses, currently leased by the council, for two more years.

It says visitor numbers are up on last year by 17 per cent and income on the previous year has increased by 23 per cent.

A £7m Regency restoration project has also started with £3.55m of Heritage Lottery funding secured, aiming to boost tourism, conservation, heritage, volunteering and skills-development opportunities.

Climate change allows expensive fungi to be grown in Wales

Black truffles can fetch £1700/kg Credit: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL/Pixsell/PA Images

An expensive Mediterranean black truffle has been cultivated in the UK for the first time, the farthest north that the species has been found.

Researchers believe the truffle, mostly found in northern Spain, southern France and northern Italy, was able to grow in Wales due to climate change.

It was grown in Monmouthshire as part of a project run by truffle firm Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd (MSL) and it was harvested in March 2017 by a trained dog named Bella.

The aromatic fungus was growing within the root system of a Mediterranean oak tree that was planted in 2008 and treated to encourage truffle production.

This cultivation has shown that the climatic tolerance of truffles is much broader than previously thought, but it's likely that it's only possible because of climate change, and some areas of the UK - including the area around Cambridge - are now suitable for the cultivation of this species.

– Dr Paul Thomas, MSL and the University of Stirling
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