Green-fingered Cartrefi Conwy tenants dig their way to victory

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A hidden gem of a garden alive with colour and created largely from recycled material has rooted out a major honour for a green-fingered quartet of housing association tenants.

At their first attempt the Happy Daze garden, lovingly nurtured by the Cartrefi Conwy residents behind their maisonette block in the town’s Ffordd Dulyn, has landed a coveted prize Llandudno in Bloom 2016.

Organised by the Town Council, the annual competition is open to residents and businesses from across the area and the neighbours came up smelling of roses in the category for communal apartments, health centres, hospitals and care homes.

Entrants are judged in various categories including categories for hotels and guesthouses, shops, schools and private residences.

The Ffordd Dulyn garden is a joint labour of love for 61-year-old Sharon Parry and her neighbours Stephen Pickering, 58, Maxine Murphy, 50, and 58-year-old Leslie Shorthose (CORRECT).

It’s been four years in the making and has become a popular attraction for neighbours from the estate as well as a haven for wildlife as diverse as a family of foxes and a sparrow hawk.

According to Sharon, who originally planted the seed of an idea for a garden, it all started four years ago, soon after she moved in.

She said: “Myself and an elderly lady who also lived in the block but has now sadly passed away decided to brighten things up and started buying loads of grow-bags of soil to cover up the gravel which was originally all that was behind our homes.

“We then brought in lots of potted plants and arranged them all around the place.

“The other people in the block then started to join in and things have just grown and grown from there.

“We’re very proud of the fact that most of the pots and ornaments in the garden are recycled.

“We pick them up from all sorts of places. Neighbours or friends bring them in or we get them from car boot sales.

“My 10-year-old grand-daughter, Stevie Marie Moore, lent a hand by painting an old metal mop bucket in a lovely shade of yellow and putting my name on the side.

“We’ve got things like little statues, and pair of scales from an old-fashioned grocers shop and lots of little cement figures.

“We’ve had to do a bit of repair work on some of them, like giving the duck a new beak and attaching a new leg to a hedgehog. But everything’s filled with flowers and plants and I think it looks just stunning.”

She added: “We’ve got all sorts of plants including dahlias, fuschias, laburnum, bizzie lizzies, petunias, gladioli, geraniums, anemones and even a cherry tree.

“We’re all over the moon that our garden has won a prize in Llandudno in Bloom at our very first attempt.”

Maxine, who has lived in Ffordd Dulyn for the past two years, said: “At night everything lights up like a fairy grotto because we’ve got little lights everywhere, in rows and on the walls.

“Keeping it nice is a real interest for all of us and we’re very proud of what we’ve been able to do.

“People come from all over the estate to see the garden and say how lovely it looks.

“None of us are professional gardeners, we just love to do it and make it look nice, so to win in Llandudno in Bloom is just marvellous.”

Stephen, who moved into Ffordd Dulyn about a year ago, said: “I do most of the heavy digging but Sharon is the real boss. In fact, I call her Charlie Dimmock and she calls me Alan Titchmarsh.

“People are really surprised when they see what kind of a garden we’ve created behind our homes, like one of the judges who came along to do the inspection for Llandudno in Bloom who looked round the fence and was taken aback by what she saw.

“Apart from people coming to see our garden it’s also become a bit of a haven for wildlife. It attracts all kinds of birds and, apart from butterflies and bees, we’ve also seen a badger and a female fox and her two cubs.

“We’re thrilled that we’ve won an award in Llandudno in Bloom, which we see as a reward for all the work we put into it.

“We’ve been spurred on by our success and we’re already planning to enter it again next year.”

Cartrefi Conwy spokeswoman Linda Humphreys said: “Cartrefi Conwy is all about creating communities to be proud of and encouraging people to have pride in the places where they live. The garden at Ffordd Dulyn is a great example of that, especially as the residents have done it all through their own enthusiasm.

“We’re delighted to share their story of success in Llandudno in Bloom with our other tenants and hopefully more of them will be inspired to take on their own patch of green space and possibly enter a local ‘in Bloom’ competition in future years.”