Garden Photo of the Day

Addicted to Plants!

By Kim Charles

Paul Cartwright of Cardiff, Wales shares his eclectic mix of garden styles.

"My garden is located on the very edge of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, UK, close to the iconic Castell Coch (Red Castle). I have been here 5 years, beginning with lots of gravel and overgrown brambles, and transforming it to what it is today – an eclectic mix of as many plants as I have managed to include. I am addicted to plants and love a wide range of garden styles. With a plot 35 metres by 10 metres, my challenge has been to fit them all in without creating a disjointed mess. I hope I have created sufficient transition between each of the small areas so that on a journey through the garden you can enjoy at least a flavour of woodland, Mediterranean, cottage, formal, Japanese and alpine planting. I just didn't want to leave anything out!"

The Green Fingered Blogger

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  1. user-7007498 03/21/2017

    Good morning, Paul. I love your garden. The overview picture is so pleasing with the use of purples, accented with gold foliage. Love the alliums (Christophii?). Dicentra always looks great in a woodland area. Great photos. Thanks for inviting us into Wales today.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Kevin, delighted to transport you to Wales for a short while. Top marks for identifying Allium Christophii! Dicentra is one of those plants that you have to have in your garden if you can. Its a spring favourite and fascinates children too. It was case of it being ideal for our mini piece of woodland so was an automatic choice. Glad you enjoyed the pics and thanks for commenting.

  2. tennisluv 03/21/2017

    Paul, your garden is so lush and contains many of the same plants that I too love. They are addictive, aren't they. It can be quite hard to say no, that won't work in my garden. Editing is much harder than just throwing your hands up in the air and saying, "Oh yeah, you are so pretty, interesting, etc., and I know I can find a spot for you." I think a walk thru your Cardiff garden would be a delight to the senses. Thanks for sharing.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Sonya. I do tend to seek out plants that I really like first, and then work out where I can find a suitable spot for them, because I do believe in right plant right place, though sometimes I forget about it when i'm shopping in the garden centre!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/21/2017

    Please rest assured, Paul, that as a self confessed plant "addict", you are in good company here in gpod-land. Oh, my, aren't those alliums festive holiday sparklers! Your table and chairs area is lovely and looks very inviting. You've done a wonderful job of taming your land and have created delightful gardens for you and others to enjoy.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      So kind of you to say so. Thank you.

  4. frankgreenhalgh 03/21/2017

    Hello there Paul - You have done an outstanding job in only 5 years. The colour combinations and variety of garden styles are wonderful. Congratulations on your achievements. Thanks for sharing. Cheers from Australia

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Frank. Its been hard work, but well worth it. Great that you enjoyed it from down under.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/21/2017

    Love to see pics from other countries. Beautiful garden, Paul.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Many thanks. How great to be able to share it like this with all of you!

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/21/2017

    5 years, Paul? Looks amazing. I love a jumble of plants and I think they naturally weave themselves together into a cohesive whole. I am crazy about your stone path and the stream feature. The small patio with the table and chairs looks like a great place to rest from your labors and admire the garden!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Hi Tim, I've tried to make most of the garden appear fairly natural. If there is a common theme through the different areas maybe that's it. A couple of small areas are precisely shaped, but I think I would get bored if all of it was like that. better to let the garden develop by itself a little bit and offer some surprises every now and then rather than have complete control of it to the finest detail. Thanks for your comments, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

  7. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/21/2017

    So many nice areas. lots to see and enjoy!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      many thanks for commenting.

  8. Chris_N 03/21/2017

    Paul - you certainly have fit a wide range of plants into your small lot. I like the repetition of the pink in the first photo that helps provide structure to the garden. Your stonework is amazing too. You even have espaliered apples!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Chris. To call them espaliered is generous! They spent a few years in pots without being trained that way. When we moved here I put them in the ground and started training them properly, so they are vaguely espaliered at least! I think its a good way to use the pergola and provide a backdrop to the bed, that is also productive.

  9. pattieswinfordclifford 03/21/2017

    Thank you for sharing your outdoor space!! It is fun to see plants growing in others gardens (even those far away) that also grow in mine.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Glad you like the photos. Where are you, and which plants are you also growing?

      1. pattieswinfordclifford 03/22/2017

        I'm in the United States, Indiana. I also have columbine, allium, bleeding heart, Rudbeckia....I've never had any luck with the lupines.

        1. greenfingeredblogger 03/26/2017

          The slugs really go for the lupins, but apart from that I find them quite easy. The columbines (we call them granny's bonnet) pop up all over the place by themselves, and I just move them to somewhere else to match the colour scheme!

          1. pattieswinfordclifford 03/27/2017

            I so enjoy "easy" flowers. Pulmonaria and Virginia bluebells are starting to bloom and the hellebores have been blooming for a while. I see buds on my redbud trees, they should be in full bloom later this week as we are expecting 60's this week.

  10. Maggieat11 03/21/2017

    So glad that you've sent photos of your lovely gardens for us to enjoy. It looks great! And I am eyeing that stone path.... love it. Your sitting area is so inviting, also. Thanks for sharing. You've created a beautiful place!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Many thanks for saying so, much appreciated.

  11. cynthiamccain 03/21/2017

    So nice this morning to see photos of your garden, Paul. It's shots like these that help me get through the sometimes gray days and up and down temperatures we've been having here in the Mid-Atlantic states. Your color combinations in that first photo are lovely and very harmonious. Thank you, Paul.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Cynthia. I have been hearing about some serious weather in New England the last few days. If you're a bit further south it might be milder but spring can sometimes struggle to make up its mind whether to stay or not! Wales is not renowned for great weather, but without the rain it wouldn't be so green, and it doesn't rain quite as often as people think! In fact we are fortunate that the Gulf Stream gives the UK a milder climate than we would otherwise have - Cardiff is further north than Calgary in Canada! They've hosted the winter Olympics - we haven't had any snow all winter! Hope the weather warms up for you soon!

  12. anitaberlanga 03/21/2017

    omgosh! this is charming!!! Particularly loving the stone path - I'm having to actually 'do' a path (the giant dogs have worn a muddy rut in the lawn from the back to the front gate) and those stone slabs are a beautiful option. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely garden!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thank you Anita, glad you like it. Good luck with your own path. You never know, if you start digging you might find lots of large stones beneath your garden just waiting to be converted into a path!

  13. user-7008421 03/21/2017

    The alliums in the photo are enormous! So pretty. I love the creative mix of flowering and foliage plants. It all blends together naturally. My family was originally from England and Wales, so it is nice to see a Welch garden!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Glad to put you back in touch with your roots Karen! Thank you, (or diolch yn fawr!) for your comments.

  14. NCYarden 03/21/2017

    I really like the mix, Paul. My kind of gardening. I'm not one to adhere to a lot of rules, or self control for that matter when it comes to the fantastic variety of plants, so I find the whim appealing, especially in such a limited space. The inclusion of stones is a great naturalizer to the space. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Hi, thanks for commenting. Most of the rocks were buried a couple of feet under the surface when we moved here. I came across them when digging out the brambles! I like your philosophy of doing what works rather than what you're told! Sometimes the rules make sense but sometimes you need to improvise. Hope you'll follow me on the for more ideas along these lines.

  15. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 03/21/2017

    Good morning, Paul. You are in good company here for having an appetite to acquire every plant possible regardless of need or space. You've done a great job in 5 years at creating a very interesting, beautiful garden. I hope you occasionally take time to sit at your bistro table to admire your hard work. Thanks for a little glimpse of Wales.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Many thanks Linda, the table is one of my favourite places to sit, sometimes for breakfast, sometimes lunch or dinner. But usually I can't sit still long enough to really enjoy it, something always catches my eye and makes me get up to look at it, or weed it, or adjust it slightly. I think many gardeners find it just as difficult to sit and enjoy the garden - we just want to keep on gardening!

  16. user-4691082 03/21/2017

    Paul, what a delightful space you've created! Is the stream running under the rocks? How clever! Please send photos of your garden in other seasons so we can enjoy Wales right along with you!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Hi Rhonda, the stream in the picture is my own creation, and has a dry bed of pebbles for effect. We do have a real stream further down, which is a bit wilder and more natural. I will certainly send more photos in the future, its been great to read everyone's comments. Meanwhile please follow me on twitter @PlanPlantPrune and at and there'll be plenty of updates and photos all year round. Thanks for your great comments.

  17. Quiltingmamma 03/21/2017

    What a lovely garden! So mature after such a short time. I particularly like the little sun spot with the 'tea for two' seating. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thank you so much. Now if only I could actually sit still...

      1. Quiltingmamma 03/21/2017

        My recommendation is to find a good armchair, add a bird bath and buy a pair of binoculars. I expect birds flock to your garden.Birdwatching keeps me in my garden but not rearranging plants ;-)

        1. greenfingeredblogger 03/26/2017

          Good idea! there is a bird bath - there is a pic on my blog:
          We get plenty of birds, and I have a couple of nesting boxes hoping to encourage them to set up home here. We also occasionally get bats on summer evenings.

  18. Sunshine111 03/21/2017

    I love the variety! Kudos to you!!!

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thanks Lily. They say variety is the spice of life, but the truth is I just love all types of gardens!

  19. Cenepk10 03/21/2017

    Beautiful- giant aliums are incredible... such a lovely, artistic garden you've made. Beautiful

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Thank you. They are Allium Christophii. I love them above the topiary balls of Hebe, glad you like them too.

  20. Beezos 03/21/2017

    Beautiful!! What zone are you?

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Hi Terry, in UK terms I am zone 9. I know US zones are worked out differently but I think the outcome is also zone 9. Some winters it gets down to -10C but never for long as the British weather is so changeable. It never freezes for months on end, only for a week or two at most. This year we haven't really had any. I am about 65 metres above sea level and only a few miles from the coast (Cardiff was once the busiest sea port in the world). So cold is usually not too much of a problem but wet can be. I have a few plants that are considered Mediterranean, like the olive tree in the patio picture, and lavender. These don't actually mind a bit of cold, but cannot take too much wet. I have improved the soil drainage to help them. Some in pots like pelargoniums and herbs I can bring indoors for the winter months. Glad you enjoyed my photos!

  21. User avater
    user-7007816 03/21/2017

    Hello Paul. I think you have succeeded admirably in creating a unified garden with lots of different plants. This is also one of my goals. Wish I could drop by and see the garden.

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/21/2017

      Hi Dale, well if you are ever in Cardiff near Castell Coch you must drop in to see it for real! Good luck with your own project.

  22. thevioletfern 03/22/2017

    Wonderful! I am in love with your little sitting area and have just transported myself there with my coffee — hope you don't mind. I imagine this pleasant journey to the sitting area through all those gardening styles that, yes, you have successfully tied together! Thank you so much for sharing. Really only five years???

    1. greenfingeredblogger 03/26/2017

      Thanks Kathy, yes, only 5 years though the first was full of a lot of hard work and a huge number of trips to the garden centre. After a couple of years the garden starts to do the work for you, but I keep finding new things I want to do...

  23. greenfingeredblogger 03/26/2017

    Much appreciated Diane. At different times of the year that path gets covered in moss which lends it an even greater sense of japan I think. Glad you like it!

  24. user-6536305 01/02/2018

    Beautiful garden and decoration! Thanks for sharing!

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