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Stunning new rose garden honours 18th-century Welsh horticulturist John Ystumllyn

07 Jul 2022 4 minute read
John Ystumlly and the rose named in honour of him

A care organisation has paid a touching floral tribute to one of Britain’s first black gardeners who lived most of his life in North Wales

Pendine Park has planted a bed of 18 roses that were bred in honour of John Ystumllyn who was abducted in western Africa in the 18th century and raised in Cricieth in Gwynedd

The striking yellow bloom is taking pride of place outside Pendine’s Bodlondeb centre of excellence for dementia care in Wrexham.

It went on display for the first time at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and has also been planted at Buckingham Palace.

The rose was bred by Harkness Roses in Hertfordshire which is also responsible for a rose selected by the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Pendine has planted a bed of the Queen Elizabeth roses at its Bryn Seiont Newydd care home in Caernarfon.

At the time John Ystumllyn was abducted Britain was still engaged in the transatlantic slave trade which it’s believed is how he arrived in Gwynedd.


Early in his life he was taken by the Wynn family to its Ystumllyn estate in Criccieth .

He was christened with the Welsh name John Ystumllyn and learned to speak English and Welsh and worked as a gardener on the estate.

The campaign to have the rose bred was led by Zehra Zaidi, who founded the group, We Too Built Britain, which tells the stories of under-represented people.

Planting the commemorative roses outside Bodlondeb has been a labour of love for Pendine’s head gardener, Andrew Jones.

He said: “It’s a really beautiful rose and has a wonderful scent. The rose is very, very nice. It starts off a creamy white and then goes a gentle sort of yellow as it opens.

“As a gardener myself, the fact that it’s commemorating a gardener is quite meaningful for me.”

Bodlondeb and the other three care homes on the site in Summerhill Road are surrounded by 11 acres of land tended by Andrew and his six-strong team of green-fingered staff.

Head Gardener at Pendine Park Wrexham Andrew Jones. Picture Mandy Jones

The vast array of thousands of varieties of flowers and plants at provide a blaze of colour  and a profusion of mother nature’s perfumes.

Offering everything from roses to rhododendrons and alliums to geraniums, the gardens across each site have been described as looking “absolutely stunning

Andrew has been given free rein by Pendine’s nature-loving owners, Mario Kreft MBE, and his wife, Gill, to  choose exactly how the gardens should look, working without the constraints of “a plant budget” as he continually eyes up ways to further enhance the grounds.

Bodlondeb manager Ann Chapman said: “The bed of roses to  honour John Ystumllyn is absolutely stunning.


“This rose is perfect for us because our residents are diverse, our staff are diverse, and really, it’s absolutely just perfect. It depicts who we are and it’s so pretty – absolutely fabulous.

“The gardening and maintenance team do an absolutely incredible job led by Andrew.”

“The garden gets so many compliments from the people who come here. You could open up this garden to the public and people would come flocking here.”

Andrew, who previously worked for the John Lewis Partnership at their Leckford Estate in Hampshire, added: “There’s something to see at Pendine all year round and it’s been designed with that in mind.

 “It creates a lovely atmosphere for the residents, the families and the staff – it’s for everybody.”

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