It was a real pleasure to be given a tour of Bute Park Nursery by Chay Sanders, Nursery Supervisor and to see what lies beyond the walls of the Education Centre and Secret Garden Café in the heart of the park.

As well as growing plants for the parks across Cardiff, the small Nursery team together with volunteers produce the amazing hanging baskets, funded by For Cardiff, that we see throughout the city centre as well as poinsettias and primroses to sell to the public.   Volunteers contribute around a 1000 hours a year.  If anyone’s interested in volunteering then they can get in touch with Meriel.jones2@cardiff.gov.uk.

Kevin Thomas, the head propagator showed me the variety of ways that they grow plants from seed and Chay demonstrated one of the machines that allows them to pot up the many plants.  The nursery grows over 400k plants a year, make up about 400 hanging baskets and grow 1500 Poinsettias!

The Nursery offer apprenticeships to budding gardeners and I was lucky enough to hear from Ginny Head, Max Williams and Teaka Scriven during my visit. Chay told me that they’d been trying to establish a link between Bute Park and Mount Stuart, the Bute family home in Scotland and this year they’d managed to secure funding for the 3 apprentices to spend a week there and are hoping that apprentices from Scotland will soon be visiting Wales.

Bute Nursery also supports young businesses by renting out space and I had a quick look at the Salad Garden, a not-for-profit social enterprise which works with disadvantaged groups and individuals growing and selling fresh cut salad leaves to local businesses.  Another one is due to start there in a research and development phase looking at growing micro salads and herbs using hydroponics.

On my way out I walked through the Nursery shop with its amazing array of plants and hanging baskets. It’s well worth a visit whilst you’re in Bute Park and it’s is open Wednesday and Saturday 10-3.

Thanks to Chay and team for the work you’re doing to make Cardiff Central and it’s parks look so good.

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