Mission bumblebee


Bumblebee on lavendar

Bees are my favourite garden visitor. As I planned my garden, I decided one of my success ratings would be to walk out in to my garden at any point during daylight hours, and hear a Continue reading

Happy New Year! Resolution No. 1: design my own front garden

Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog over the last few months. It has been a real pleasure meeting so many enthusiastic gardeners and finding out the many reasons for gardening.

My New Year’s resolution is to learn from all the beautiful front gardens I have seen, and sort out my own little terraced front garden. I better get designing!

A financial model for urban regeneration: what Cardiff could learn from the Victoria Business Improvement District


Pocket park located outside a bank in Victoria. The little park is well maintained and beautifully planted, and still looked good at the end of November.

With the potential for a Cardiff Business Improvement District, I visited an area of London Continue reading

Ann’s hedge art garden

On a leafy, quiet street in a little front garden lives a rather unusual creature…
Ann once owned a large, unruly, ivy hedge that had grown from a piece of ivy she found in the park and planted. Her original idea has been beautifully brought to life by Karl, her friend and gardening enthusiast, who has created a Continue reading

A Call for Artists: Collaboration with Nature


Made in Roath had a profound effect on me. I am not an artist. I don’t speak Artist. Artists generally scare me and other non-artists because artists are unpredictable beasts. They make you interact with a space, they invite you to explore feelings, they juxtapose things. But the greatest fear of many non-artists is the threat of having to join in a performance dance piece.

With all that trepidation, I aimed to attend as many of the events as I could. The organisers of Made in Roath are aiming to break down the barriers between artists and the rest of society. The event is to demonstrate the extraordinary talent and ideas that we have in Cardiff and Wales, and to make artists feel safe in showing, sharing and selling their work. The photos above are from a tour organised to show the artists of Rhôd as part of the Rhôd in Roath exhibition, using a number of front gardens along Ninian Road. (Please visit the link for a full explanation of the event.) I want to thank the artists for showing their work in this way, and I do believe they have progressed the urban/rural dialogue through this work. It is a subject close to my heart.

I want to participate in Made in Roath next year. And I want artists and non-artists to participate with me. Continue reading

Dyffryn Gardens

A mid-Autumn visit to Dyffryn Gardens to see the last of the summer’s flower in the intimate garden rooms, the expansive and magical arboretum, a restoration project in-progress, and to eat cake. There are so many things to see at this site, including the grand glasshouse with it’s extensive cacti collection, and its walled kitchen garden, I would highly recommend a visit.

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Why are our bumblebees in trouble?

Bumblebees are my number one reason for gardening. I love hearing them, seeing them and knowing that I can help them, even though I live in the middle of a capital city.

I decided to look up the root cause of their decline over the recent past, to check if our efforts are worth it. I have tried to summarise the work of a leading expert in bumblebee ecology and behaviour, after reading one of his publications about bumblebees.* According to Dave Goulson, the main culprits implicated in bumblebee declines are… Continue reading

Urban gardening inspiration…


For grand design plans, Urban Greenery  is a pleasant site for beautiful, big ideas.

The RHS are leading the research in to the benefits of front gardens. See their website and research findings, Benefits of urban planting.

Does a tree pit near you require a little Guerrilla gardening?

Trees in need of Guerrillas

SAM_1392If you see the benefit of gardening, but have no garden to call your own, how about finding a little unloved patch of earth and planting it up? Read Guerrilla Gardening for some inspiring stories from around the world, and see their Facebook page to see upcoming events, including the Northern Hemisphere tulip planting event on the 11th October. Many in our community are already planting flowers in tree pits on our streets. (Just don’t plant anything invasive, or that you will miss too much if it gets squashed, and don’t damage the tree roots.)

How about joining Exchange in Roath? Many perennial plants or offshoots can be divided now, giving you extra plants for free. Take these plants or any other spare seeds or gardening equipment along to the drop off points, and turn up for the swap event on the Saturday. You can help other budding gardeners to grow plants for free. These could be used for a Guerrilla gardening event near you, or to cheer up your front garden.

What could you plant in your front garden or at the front of your house to benefit the neighbourhood? 


Bob and Mavis’ ‘living walls and floors’ garden

When I first spotted this front garden a few months ago, it thrilled me. The house walls are dressed in Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), changing the grey pebbledash exterior in to a grand old manor house. The garden in delineated by the perfectly cut hedge with formal straight lines linking to curved archways. The flooring is a reinforced grass product, which allows rain to pass through the surface, but is still strong enough for cars to park on the surface, even throughout winter. The carport appears to float with all supports hidden by hedging.

The garden works well all year, but the Boston Ivy creates a stunning autumnal display, and the grasscrete is planted with crocuses for a spring extravaganza.

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