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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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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Howardian Nature Reserve


Raj Chettri works as an urban park ranger for Cardiff Council. He is passionate about the sites he manages and the volunteers that make it all happen.

One of Raj’s sites is Howardian Local Nature Reserve, to the east of the city centre. The nature reserve is a former municipal tip that closed in the 1970s. The local school was asked to help manage the new nature reserve and some of those same school friends formed one of the first Friends Groups in Cardiff. For Martin Doe and Nigel Ferrand it has become a lifetime’s work. The Friends have transformed the site, which is now home to over 500 species.

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Cathays Cemetery

Ten years ago, the council were struggling to maintain Cathays cemetery, with very few visitors and the chapel buildings falling in to disrepair. The Catholic chapel had already been knocked down in the 1980s due to safety reasons, and it looked like the two Protestant chapels were soon to follow. It was difficult to justify investment at the site as there was limited local support.

Step in the Friends of Cathays Cemetery! The group showed huge amounts of dedication to the cause, and the restoration of the two remaining chapels at the entrance to the cemetery is nearing completion with new roofs and floors installed, plus disabled access. The Friends Group and the Cardiff Bereavement Services have been working together to ensure the full benefits of this green space are realised by the people of Cardiff, and visitors to the city. The reasons for low visitor numbers has been addressed through guided tours and site information, to help visitors to navigate the large site.

I attended a guided walk around the Heritage Trail with an expert guide, Phil Amphlett, from City of Cardiff Bereavement Services.

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