Six years ago an area of wasteland next to a city church was overgrown and neglected.
But thanks to the vision of one parishioner a remarkable transformation has taken place with the overgrown grounds next to St Peter’s Church in Fairwater being turned into a stunning community garden now worthy of being chosen to open under the prestigious National Garden Scheme.
This weekend the St Peter’s Community Garden will open under the yellow book scheme for the first time, with the gates being thrown open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. (July 19 and 20)
Although the idea for the community garden came from one man, parishioner Ian Thompson, it was only made possible thanks to the teams of volunteers who carried out the work.
These included churchgoers,young offenders, people with learning needs and children from the neighbouring school who dug out a jungle of briars and brambles and chopped down trees to create a haven of peace which includes a lawn, pond, vegetable patch and mini Welsh heritage orchard.
Parish priest, Revd Colin Sutton said, “There is so much for visitors to see and enjoy. Come and learn how the garden and reserve has been created by volunteers through community and church grants and donations from individual supporters.
“There is a large pond surrounded by a small nature reserve, a long herb border, raised vegetable beds, Welsh heritage apple trees, a wild flower circle plus a hotel for bugs, and our latest development – our small alpine rockery.
“A history of the garden will on display in the hall and refreshments available – if the weather is fine we may be cooking pizzas or Welsh cakes al fresco in our clay oven! Our project manager, Ian Thompson, will be on hand to give out free gardening advice and a library of gardening manuals will be available. There will be a plant and bookstall and some garden activities for any children.”
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan said, “The church is in the business of caring and exists to serve local families and the community. This project is a fantastic example of that. It has literally changed lives because it has given hope and a sense of purpose to people. The garden is a place where church members, ex-offenders, children and people with learning needs meet together as equals.
“It shows that the church is interested in the whole person, not just their spiritual life, and is doing something practical to help them.”
The garden has been visited by the Princess Royal who planted a tree as part of the restoration project.
Entry to the garden this weekend is £5 for adults and free for children, with all proceeds going to NGS charities. It is the third garden supported by The Church in Wales to open under the NGS this year and follows openings by St Fagans Church in Wales Primary School and St Michael’s College, Llandaff.
The St Peter’s Community Garden, St Fagans Road, is also open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursday – with no charge, although donations for new plants are welcomed.
The community hall adjacent to the garden is available for hire for community groups and individuals.
St Peter’s Community Garden
Project manager Ian Thompson and Revd Colin Sutton
Wasteland before garden make over
For further details, please contact
Diocesan Communications Officer
Tel: 01656 868865; mobile: 07825 337437