Stealth gardeners make Brecon a prettier place

By Ariane Brumwell in Local People

VIGILANTE gardeners used their green fingers to brighten up the old drinking trough near Brecknock Museum in Brecon last week.

Brecon residents will have been surprised to wake up on Friday to find fresh compost and begonias in the trough which was established in 1902 had been planted the night before.

The voluntary gardeners, not employed by the council, are the Brecon Food Festival organiser Andrew Powell and his fiancée, Guada Salamanca.

Andrew said: “The trough is on the tourist trail and everybody was moaning about how it looked on Facebook. I was in a really good mood, so we went to the garden centre and I spent around £20 in total on compost and flowers.”

They travelled 20 miles to the trough on the Thursday evening after work while it was dark so nobody would see them. They have visited every night since to water and maintain the flowers.

Andrew added: “Guada loves gardening. When I said I was thinking about it, she was like ‘we should just do it’. The general area needs a bit of tidying, maybe this will inspire the council to do it. I would do it but I’m nervous about going near the fence, and I don’t have a strimmer.”

Andrew also said while they are happy to continue watering the plants in the evenings after work, they would welcome any offers of help from volunteers who live locally to save them travelling each evening. Guada was also hoping to spend a few hours in the Peace Gardens, just down from the drinking trough and Brecknock Museum, on Wednesday (July 19) if the weather allows it. The Old Railway Line, where Andrew works, are donating plants to the entirely voluntary project.

The Peace Gardens, established on Wednesday June 23, 1999, have been in a desperate state of disrepair although Powys council workmen were seen briefly there last Friday.

The beds are full of weeds, there is moss making the paths dangerously slippy and the benches are rotten and falling apart.

Another planned new addition to the Peace Gardens will be a section dedicated as a memorial to those who served in the Falkland’s War, which ended 35 years ago last June.

There will be a stone bench, a memorial stone, flowers and it will include disabled access. The organisers of the Falkland’s 35th Ride of Respect, Drew and Jules Hore, who also run a stall at Brecon Market, are responsible for the upcoming memorial area.

Jules, who served in the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Call during the Falklands War, said: “We wanted to do it because there is just no memorial in the town, and it’s needed really.

“The gardens are a good place for it as well because people can have a sit and a think, or lay a wreath if they want.”

They are hoping to hold an unveiling ceremony, including a collaboration with St Mary’s Church, with a celebration in the Guild Hall afterwards. If you want to help with the gardening around the drinking trough and in the Peace Gardens, call 07779012019.

After being asked to comment about the plans for the Peace Gardens, Councillor Liam Fitzpatrick, the Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to provide part of the Peace Garden in Brecon for this worthwhile memorial.

“We will ensure that the Peace Garden is tidied up before the memorial unveiling ceremony takes place. We are always happy to help and will make sure that it is tidy, as the Peace Garden is important to Brecon.”

Cllr Fitzpatrick has also said that he is happy to assist with the work in any way he can.