Our renowned ‘herbaceous border’ runs parallel to the river Taff from the summerhouse café to the site of blackfriars friary, and is a striking display of perennial and herbaceous plants.

It provides a spectacular horticultural display throughout much of the year and was first established in the 1950s by the park superintendent Bill Nelmes.

The border was originally created as a solid block on both sides of the path and was considered to be the longest herbaceous border in Wales.

1960s Herbaceous border

In the 1970s, the original curved front to the border was straightened by Bill Nelmes’ son (also called Bill) who took over his father’s post as Chief Parks Officer in the mid-1960s. At this time, the planting was made bolder by increasing the areas of the different plants, but this reduced the complexity and overall effect of the bed and the quality of the feature began to decline during the 1980s.

The feature was reduced in size by removing the continuous bed on the western side of the path and reforming this into a series of island beds in the 1990s, which is what you see today.

Our gardeners and horticultural apprentices work tirelessly on weeding and tending to the beds and the result is a magnificent display from spring to autumn every yea

  • Herbaceous Border 2013