Edith O’Brien’s garden is so bloomin’ lovely it’s weeded out the competition to be crowned the best in Cardiff.
The pensioner, known as Josie, from Llanrumney, is so green-fingered she’s been winning garden competitions since 1972.
Almost 40 years on she won Cardiff in Bloom’s award for being Llanrumney’s Best Senior Citizen Gardener three years on the trot – in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
And now the 81-year-old has achieved the ultimate accolade. Ask her how her garden grows and Josie can tell you it’s won Cardiff in Bloom’s Super Garden Prize.
Josie, who lives on Croyde Avenue, with a garden full of cosmos, gladioli, sunflowers, lilies and lavateras, said: “I was quite surprised because I hadn’t heard anything. I knew the judge had come around in July and in August, but they usually let you know by the end of August.
“My neighbour asked if I’d won but I just told her to forget about it.”
But Josie had a surprise when she returned from a garden show in Usk to a find a letter informing her of her latest success in Cardiff in Bloom.
She said: “I was over the moon. My daughter Patricia, who lives in France, was too and my son John – they’ve also got lovely gardens. I’ve got 24 plaques altogether. I started entering competitions in 1972.
“I thoroughly enjoy my gardening, especially in the springtime when I’ve got all my daffodils and tulips. The council always did a competition and I would always enter, but then they stopped. So I was pleased when Cardiff in Bloom started.
“The garden was coming on lovely, then we had all that rain and it just kept growing and growing!”
Josie had hoped to create her own Diamond Jubilee tribute along her garden path, by planting red, white and blue flowers.
She said: “I had white cosmos, lavateras, geraniums, but the white flowers just kept growing and overtook the other two. They grew as tall as my handrail! It’s a bit like a jungle here now, but a few weeks ago it was nice.”
And she’s keen to keep her fingers green and carry on keeping her garden in check, growing her favourite flowers – lilies.
Josie said: “I do like the lily. Before my husband John passed away, he would love to go out the garden and smell the scent of the lilies.
“He was never a gardener, though. He would always water my plants but he couldn’t trim or plant anything. And he would make sure the children would stop messing around in the garden too.”