A retired police officer from Gellifor has transformed a once small and unloved piece of land into a colourful garden visited by people from across the county.

Iola Quinn and a team of volunteers, with the support from Keep Wales Tidy and Denbighshire Housing, have created a space in the village that the whole community can come together to enjoy.

The garden was initially developed using a starter package from Keep Wales Tidy, designed to help local communities improve habitats for pollinators.

The package included compost, shrubs, a ground frame to plant the shrubs, a trellis, bug hotel, gloves, and handbook.

Denbighshire Housing supported the project by putting in a path, four raised beds, a garden shed, benches and a picnic table.

The team of volunteers used the "no dig planting" process to cover large parts of the land in cardboard and organic manure and then planting into the ground.

The garden was then developed from plants and flowers donated by the volunteer gardeners and wider community.

As a result, they have created a garden full of flowers and plants loved by pollinators and butterflies, while also establishing an enchanting community space.

Iola said: “As a child growing up in the village, the land really was a sorry sight. It was overgrown, and nothing was being done to enhance or protect the local wildlife and its habitat.

“I am so proud of the garden the community has come together to create. Now it’s a real space for inclusion, everyone benefits from it, from the local school children to churchgoers on their annual pilgrimage.

"We regularly hold social events in the garden such as afternoon tea and summer solstice events. It goes to show how one idea can make such a difference to a community. And it’s certainly put our little village on the map.”

In 2021, the garden was awarded ‘bee friendly’ status by the Welsh Government, and in 2022 the garden won the Denbighshire Housing Tenants award for Best Community Garden.

Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change said: “Climate change is threatening our plants and wildlife. We need to protect them as much as we can.

“It’s wonderful to see people like Iola proactively making important changes to their communities and seeing the positive difference it has made for those around them. Thank you to Keep Wales Tidy for giving people access to resources many thought would be out of reach to them.

“It just shows how by making changes together we can have a bigger impact on tackling climate change, protect our planet and make a real difference.”

Gareth Jones, Project Officer (Denbighshire) at Keep Wales Tidy said: “At Keep Wales Tidy we know that a good quality environment matters to people and that the benefits are not only good for nature and the fight against climate change, but can make a real difference to our health, well-being, communities and to our economy.    

"Our Local Places for Nature scheme, funded by Welsh Government, transforms unloved areas like the one at Gellifor into beautiful gardens where wildlife can thrive, and communities can come together to enjoy the nature on their doorstep.”