Tag Archives: llanfrechfa garden clearance

Garden Clearance Work Continues

Photo c/o Janet Kelly.
Photo c/o Janet Kelly.

Many of you will have seen the dense bramble thickets and small trees in the walled garden a few months back, and thought how on earth is this ever going to become a garden again! Well, as part of the process to develop some design ideas, we have done a lot of work to clear the site so that we can identify whether there are any features which we want to preserve in the new layout.

In December we reported that with the help of the Health Board ground maintenance team and Monmouthshire Grounds Maintenance Services, the main undergrowth and brambles were cleared away with a mower and flail. Since then we have had a lot of support from both the Health Board and other agencies and transformation to a garden is now looking much more feasible.

Photo c/o J. Kelly.
Photo c/o J. Kelly.

On another very wet day, a small band of hardy volunteers (and a few marital conscripts) under the leadership of Thom Board from Keep Wales Tidy,  led the next phase of the clearance which was dealing with the vast quantity of rubbish. A wide range of extraneous items seem to have found their way into the garden over the years , including the obligatory shopping trolley, several bits from large horticultural machines, pieces of an industrial size gas cooker, and a few car parts (?!). We are grateful to Torfaen Council services for help disposing of it.

Hedgehog box installed.
Hedgehog box installed.

We’ve also found evidence of hedgehogs on the site, and as we’d really like to have these helpful little beasts in the final garden, we’ve installed a couple of hedgehog houses with the help of the local Hedgehog Rescue group – many thanks to Keith for bringing these over.

Shredder at work clearing the garden - Feb 2016
Shredder at work clearing the garden – Feb 2016


More recently, we’ve also had welcome help from Torfaen County Borough Council’s Countryside Team in the shape of Jonathan and a large shredder, which along with Thom and his chainsaw have enabled us to take down many of the goat willow and ash saplings. We can now get a good view of the entire garden, although there is still work to do in terms of getting the bramble roots out and removing the old greenhouse bases.

Thank you to all the volunteers, Health Board and council teams who have helped out.

Call for Volunteers

Following the initial cutting back of the dense bramble in the garden we are now looking for volunteers to help with the next phase of clearing.  Supported by Keep Wales Tidy we are planning to spend two days in the garden:- Monday 14th DecemberIMG_20151106_150529_hdr and Tuesday 15th December (these are firm dates and replace the tentative long weekends previously published) Small oak tree - south gardenThere are a number tasks we want to complete on these two days, including raking up the vegetation we have already cut back;  preparing a ‘heeling-in’ area for a number of saplings that need to be moved and given space to grow;  clearing bramble and weed roots from the base of some of the more mature trees and the old greenhouse bases;  and sorting and moving old garden equipment and other items we found during the initial clearance. We would be delighted if you are able to offer some time on one or both of these days. For further information please contact the clearance team at   grangegardenjans@yahoo.co.uk We look forward to seeing you!  

Autumn Update

Welcome to our Autumn update on the Walled Garden project. autumn headerDesigning for the future

We recently contacted everyone on our distribution list asking if anyone who had landscape design experience or qualifications would like to get more involved in helping us translate everyone’s ideas for the Walled Garden into a design scheme. Thank you to everyone who got in touch and met with us on 26 October. We have now put together a small design team with those who took part. Over the winter the Design Team will plan a basic layout and planting scheme for the garden, e.g. the shapes and sizes of the beds, borders and lawn, and consider what facilities we need to include within the walls. We already have a number of features identified such as walkways and entrances, but we are eager to have your contributions to the plans. We will therefore be planning further events in early Spring to invite members of the public and staff from the Health Board to come along to view the layout ideas and have their say.

autumn header 2SG

Planting for the future

Some of us may find autumn windfalls messy but others enjoy this time of year when the leaves change colour and plants die back towards winter. We’d like to know what plants and shrubs give the best autumn show, and what would be appropriate for the Walled Garden. There are some plants that are at their best now and we’d welcome your suggestions. Perhaps you have a favourite that you can share with us? We hope that our garden will have areas that make the best of all seasons, and have something to enjoy all year round. Take a look outside and let us know what catches your eye over the next month or so whether it’s a tree in the park or something you enjoy in your own garden. You can post your suggestions on the comments form below or send us an email to WalledGarden.ABB@wales.nhs.uk

Clearing the undergrowth – Can you help?

Our next steps involve clearing away the undergrowth so that we can find out if there are any old features that we should preserve and include in the design layout for the future.

Jan Smith and Jane Nehaul at the end of a soggy November day clearing the garden.
Jan Smith and Jane Nehaul at the end of a soggy November day clearing the garden.

Given the derelict, overgrown and somewhat unsafe state of the garden, we felt that initial clearance should involve cutting back the bulk of the bramble and long grass, leaving a more workable environment for a more thorough clearance to follow.  The Health Board’s Facilities Directorate has kindly undertaken this initial clearance using a small tractor with flail and mower attachments.  Project team members Jane Nehaul and Jan Smith worked with a small group of  gardeners and managed to clear much of the ground area.

Visit our Gallery page to see a slideshow of before and after pictures of the garden.

The garden after clearing the brambles.
The garden after clearing the brambles.

Now that the initial clearance is done we have a much better idea of how much more needs to be done. There are however a number of things we need to put in place to assure the Health Board that we will be working safely before we can bring volunteer groups in to undertake further work in the garden.  This includes safety equipment, registering volunteers, insurance, access to toilets etc.

After the initial clearance.
After the initial clearance.


We have penciled in three consecutive long weekends when we will be looking for volunteers to give some time to help in the garden.

These are:

Friday 20th November – Sunday 22 November. Thurs 26 Nov – Sun 29 Nov Thurs 3 Dec – Sun 6 Dec


Please contact us at WalledGarden.ABB@wales.nhs.uk if you would like to get involved.

Autumn Newsletter print version