Bouquets & Brickbats For Botanical Gardens

31 Jan

Despite seeing a notice in the entrance saying that the local newspaper, the Carmarthen Journal had published an incorrect date for this foodie weekend, when I visited on Saturday mid morning, it was certainly busy. So well done the National Botanical Gardens, NBG, let me offer you a bouquet for getting punters into the glass house on such a chilly day. I talked to quite a few stands that were running low on stocks or had sold out by early afternoon. I do hope they were as busy on Sunday, as this would be such a good start to the season. I must add though I do wonder how many people would have visited if the NBG had not offered free entry.

But the NBG are also awarded a brickbat to whoever laid out the tradestand area. In such a confined space is was stupid and potentially dangerous to have stands sited opposite each other, especially if they were both sampling, it caused bottle-neck after bottle-neck. Visitor tempers rose when they struggled to get through and the poor parents with push chairs, and toddlers, or families with wheelchairs had a tough time. I saw cheese samples knocked over and no simply no possibility of getting space to clear it up and so lots of chances for someone to slip.

At many events you have professional traders and then amateurs ‘playing at it’ as a hobby or a sideline idea. The amateurs are easy to spot, no business cards, no literature, website or clear company identification or branding. If I’d have had an input, my layout would have been as far as possible to have stands only against the one outside wall. I’d have sited the professionals first and working down to the amateurs and stands just giving out literature. This would have allowed not only people to flow easily through, but given them time to stop, taste, browse and then the crucial purchase. Instead, what actually happened was that at times it was impossible to get through at all and unless you were seven foot tall, not easy to see what the traders were actually selling.

Of course I’ve said that some traders did very well, but for many visitors it was far from enjoyable trying to get through. Another disappointment for me was what I think might have been the NBG’s own café open, not only selling teas and coffees, which no trader was doing, but hot food along with cakes. Mmmm…………..I’m not sure I think that is fair. Surely the objective should be is to get people buying food from the traders and eating it there before going back for more to take home with them – simple isn’t it?  I’d love to here your feedback if you were there this weekend.


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  1. In Charge of a wheelchair

    February 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Whoever wrote this about the Gardens, they were spot-on. I took my husband there as a break and something to do as we both love our food, but what a struggle. As if being in charge of a wheelchair is not diffcult enough in normal circumstances, this was just not wheelchari friendly at all. Luckily we met a friend and her husband had to take over the chair.
    The event was busy and the producers must have been delighted after the snowy weather all but wiped out Christmas for them, but the siting of the stand was nothing short of stupid.

  2. Struggling Mum

    February 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    It was about 1.00 when we arrived. We only stayed for 30 mins. as too difficult for me with a buggy and grumpy children. Great idea but it failed for me – sorry

  3. Local Food Lover

    February 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    yes I went here but will not go again
    organisation was poor and could so easily have been dangerous
    I felt sorry for some of the traders as they didn’t have enough selling space but I did feel more sorry for me with a pushchair and a toddler.
    Whoever organised it can’t have had kids or elderly relatives of their own.

  4. Bee

    March 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I’ve been browsing and just found this note or post – not sure what it’s called!
    Well I went to this one and would not go again, whoever laid out the tradestands was totally clueless.
    I felt very sorry for mums with pushchairs,toddlers, those in wheelchairs and a poor lady on crutches. It was impossible so taste and browse at a leisurely pace, it was like sardines in a tin at one stage. There was simply not enough space for people to see and taste the produce.
    Health & Safety could have had a field day there but they don’t seem to be anywhere where they are actually needed!!!!
    Sack the organiser and employ someone who knows how tradestands work and what space they need to do their job and make some money.
    If this is your best effort NBG, you don’t deserve visitors and certainly don’t deserve any more funding.