Help Save “Pumba”

This planted earth sculpture of a warthog’s head located in woodland behind the Summerhouse Café was originally lovingly created by the in-house gardening team in 2001. The feature was inspired by a horticultural feature seen in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall.

Sadly, “Pumba” fell into disrepair following repeated breakage of his protective timber fence.

Your donations received through a Bute Park Improvement Project initiative in 2020/21 have helped protect and restore him to his former glory.

Pumba following planting works in January 2022
Photo taken June 2020 showing “Pumba’s” profile and surrounding earth now worn down and few plants remaining

Your donation

Your donation has helped protect and restore him to his former glory.

The profile was re-established using recycled earth, and he was re-planted by our gardeners, volunteers and horticultural apprentices. Various ornamental grasses were used to give the impression of fur (Hedera helix and Pachysandra), black eyebrows (Ohiopogon planiscapus “Nigrescians”), a colourful billowing mane (Luzula sylvatica, Stipa tenuissima, and Crocosmia aurea) and a mohican (Miscanthus sinensis “Zebrinus”).

Protective metal railings and a gardener access gate were also installed.


The origin of “Pumba”

Assistant Manager for the South-eastern district, Roy Hutchins conceived the idea after visiting the lost gardens of Heligan and seeing “The Giant’s Head” back in 2000.

In preparation, soil generated from maintenance of the city’s bowling greens was stockpiled. The warthog design came about organically; there was no particular reason for it. Grounds Maintenance Area Manager, Will Power, created the profile of the head and carved the wooden ears and nose. Working Supervisor, Dave Hutchins created the eye mosaics using broken tiles and bicycle reflectors as the glint in his eyes! As a warthog, the feature gained the nickname “Pumba”. In 2012 the timber elements were replaced using cedar wood from a diseased tree in Roath Park. It was at this point the tusks were added.

The changing face of “Pumba”

The warthog has had several hairstyles over the years.

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Photo from 2002 showing Pumba in the first summer after he was first created.


Photo from 2017, shows ivy used for the fur and ferns added to his hair
Photo from 2010, shows a mohican of Miscanthus grass, turf fur and Ophiopogon eyebrows
Will Power and Roy Hutchins shown after completing a new makeover in 2006.
Photo from 2002, “Pumba’s” early hippy phase where he wore plaits in his Carex comans “Red” long grass hair


You can find “Pumba” behind the Summerhouse Café hidden amongst the trees by the Woodland Play Trail.