Friary Gardens is the triangular space between the modern day Boulevard de Nantes and North Road, divided by the Dock Feeder Canal. This space was originally part of the Greyfriars site which included a lodge on the western side adjacent to North Road. This lodge which is shown on both the 1880 and 1901 Ordnance Survey maps was at the extreme south of, or just beyond, the modern day gardens.
When it was agreed in 1897 that the Council would purchase Cathays Park, the 3rd Marquis of Bute made it a condition that the plot which was to become Friary Gardens should be laid out as an ornamental garden and never be built on. In the autumn of 1904 the space was enclosed with a low wall and iron fence. It was laid out as a formal Dutch garden the following winter and was formally handed over to the Parks Department on 27th September 1905, although not opened to the public until 1910.
For many years this space was known as the Dutch Garden. In 1923 the Parks Committee decided to call it Priory Gardens but it was pointed out that "Priory" was incorrect as a reference to the Franciscan Friary associated with the site. The Parks Committee agreed in 1928 to another change of name to Friary Gardens. A statue by P. Macgillivray of the 3rd Marquis of Bute was placed there in 1929.
The photographs below show the layout and bedding schemes in the early 2000s.
Sources of Information
In general, the information in this section is taken from A. A. Pettigrew, The Public Parks and Recreation Grounds of Cardiff, Volume 5.
Other sources are: