St Davids City Open Gardens Weekend

Twenty-two gardens opened their gates to over 550 visitors including many from other areas of the UK and abroad during the first St Davids City Open Gardens Weekend at the end of June.

“It was a resounding success,” said organiser, Julia Horton-Mansfield, who with her husband, John, is already planning next year’s event. “We wanted to help with prostate cancer awareness and raise funds for Prostate Cymru. It is important to know that the money raised in Wales for this charity stays in Wales. We also wanted to have a bit of community fun, share the city’s gardens with the curious passer-by or visitor who always wondered what was tucked away behind the houses and cottages here.”

Gardens became more ‘wildlife friendly’ with areas left deliberately as wild zones and the addition of bug hotels and bird-boxes being made and installed. However, a real bonus of the two days was the remarkable expansion of general awareness with discussions on conservation, pollinator trails and wildlife friendly gardens across the city as well as a wish to become active participants in 2019.

A colourful Gardeners’ Market in Cross Square had stalls selling organic compost, worm cast soil, charcoal, garden plants, wooden spoons and utensils, wild plant plugs and bug and bee friendly items, while the Goodwick Brass Band played music from the Cross Hotel garden. In the evening Sarah Wint from Daisybus Gardens gave an informal talk at the Wellbeing Centre, and radio favourites Terry Walton and Lynne Allbutt gave a talk in the Tabernacle Chapel.

There will be an exhibition of photographs taken during the weekend on show in March 2019 at the National Park Information Centre at Oriel y Parc, St Davids as a stimulant for the 2019 event.

“It was a delightfully mad and enjoyable weekend so do put next year’s date in your diaries now – June 29th and 30th,” said Julia. “Anyone who might like to volunteer, or join in with their garden, or patch of land, or who would like to support our drive to raise wildlife and general environmental awareness in our City of St Davids please do get in touch with us.

“A staggering £4,645 was raised for Prostate Cymru through ticket sales and the entrepreneurial gardeners selling plants, soaps, teas, cakes, drinks, story telling and painting pictures. One gardener who has a vintage car, charged visitors to sit in it and have their photo taken.

“There is a thank-you page on the Open Gardens’ website for those who took part – gardeners, sponsors, supporters, but we should like to thank everyone who was involved in any way and look forward to seeing them next year.”

Presentation photo by John Mansfield. Garden photo by Stephen Horton

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