Front Gardens

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!


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

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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Spiros and Teresa’s gardens

A set of adjacent gardens had caught my eye for months. Both were filled to the brim with flowers, climbing the walls and lining the street. The paths were always well swept. I’d wanted to know if the neighbours were friends or in competition with each other. Now I’m sitting here, typing this and eating my way through a most delicious bunch of homegrown seedless grapes after meeting a couple of extraordinary gardeners.

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Mark and Gruby’s garden

This week, as Cardiff bakes in a heat wave, we learn to appreciate trees and green spaces in our cities like never before. The asphalt and walls heat up and radiate warmth all night, keeping the nights uncomfortably warm.

Mark and Gruby’s front garden has a cool woodland feel, even through the hottest days of summer. As I cycle slowly up a rather steep hill adjacent to their house every day, I have plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of the space, even with car horns beeping at me to hurry up. Worth it.

If more gardens could be like this one, we would be in a much cooler city, (in every way).

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June’s garden

June’s compact front garden layers climbing plants over deep green hedges over a lush woodland understorey to ensure that the space is maximised and noise and pollution from the nearby roundabout are reduced. Red geraniums, roses and fuchsias add vibrant, exotic splashes of colour. June kindly invited me to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon sipping coffee and eating cake in her splendid back garden.

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