Cothi Gardeners Visit to Picton Castle

Cothi Gardeners Visit to Picton Castle

Wednesday, May 25th , 5pm for picnic, 6pm guided tour by Roddy Milne the Head Gardener

Picton Castle Gardens are described as one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Great Gardens of West Wales. As their website says:‘What you can see today is the result of many centuries of gardening styles, each overlaying the next, where no one style predominates.’

In the 40 acres of the garden there are woodland walks, a medicinal herb border, a fernery, a walled garden and jungle garden all in the wonderful setting of the 13th Century Castle.

As the talk is in the evening (6pm) we plan on meeting at 5pm in the car park for a bring your own picnic within the grounds.

If you have not already put your name down please do think about coming and let Margaret know at or before our next meeting on April 20th. It should be a really fun and interesting outing and if we can get a group of 20+ together we will qualify for reduced entry of £4.50. Otherwise the entry charge is £7 (concessions £6). Car sharing is available for those who prefer not to drive so please don’t be put off by the distance. From Pumpsaint to Picton should only take about 1 ¼ hrs.


May is a lovely time to visit a garden, but particularly one with an abundance of mature Conifers, Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias such as Picton. To quote from their website for May last year: ‘With the first half of May seeing the wonderful old Magnolias between the castle and walled garden coming into flower, pay a visit to Picton Castle and Gardens this month and you’ll quickly understand why they are famed for its Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and Magnolias. Some have enormous scented flowers and others, such as the Japanese Azaleas, have many intensely coloured flowers borne in great profusion.’

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Rhododendron ‘Old Port’ reputed to be the largest in the world! Photo taken May 2015

See the Picton Website for more details


Cothi Gardeners Growing Challenge and Meetings Updates

2016 Growing Challenge

Do you like a challenge? The 2016 gardening challenge was launched last month by our chairperson Daisy. After a successful Tomato Growing Challenge last year, this time it’s a quite different theme: “What can you grow in one pot?” Daisy suggested a medium-sized (about 20 cm diameter) plant pot, either plastic or terracotta, whichever you prefer. You can grow whatever you like, however, you need to be able to bring your pot along to the August meeting, so try and make sure it won’t be too heavy or awkward to lift. As with all our challenges, it is not a competition, just good fun and a chance to be creative.

Meetings Update

Keith Treadaway talk              Keith Treadaway talk 2

We had an excellent meeting on March 16th when Keith Treadaway gave a very informative talk on Clematis and how we could have Clematis in flower all the year round, by choosing the right varieties. He showed us examples of the different Clematis categories, explaining which were relatively easy to grow, along with those that were rather tender or prone to disease, and concluded with a summary of how to plant, care for and most importantly prune them. For those who were not able to make the meeting, or weren’t able to get a handout on the night, Keith’s list of all the Clematis he mentioned or illustrated in his talk  is shown below – remember that not all those in the list are necessarily suitable for our gardens so it is best to look them up before buying. Keith also gave out another handout with  a few useful addresses and some basic tips which is shown below the list. His garden, ‘Rosewood’ is open for the NGS on 17th July – for more info click here.




Keith Treadaway summary 1

Our next meeting is on April 20th at 7.30pm when we welcome back Richard Cain from Penlan Perennials. The theme of Richard’s talk this time is ‘Colourful Shade’ and he will also be bringing some of his excellent plants for us to buy. Penlan Perennials in N. Pembrokeshire specialise in hardy plants used to coping with low temperatures and high rainfall. The nursery is completely organic and has recently won an Environmental Excellence Award from Horticulture Wales. Click on the link to go to their website, , to learn more. We do hope you will be able to come and join us for what will prove to be a highly informative and enjoyable evening.

The Plant Shop – this has started well so please do come and support it at each meeting. Remember:  good quality, potted up, labelled, and priced plants to be donated. A table will be set up for the ‘Plant Shop’ at the back of the hall, with a tin for the money to be left in. Please price your donation/s according to size of pot, type of plant and so that it reflects the true value while being less than a garden centre would charge. This way those purchasing will have a good quality product at an advantageous price.

Cothi plant shop



Many thanks to Anne for this excellent suggestion to help increase club funds and provide a little plant retail therapy for all members without breaking the bank! Do try and find something to bring/be prepared to buy/both (!) at our next meeting:

Wednesday 16th March when Keith Treadaway will be talking to us about Clematis – Start time of 7.30pm


Clematis montana ‘Broughton Star’


By definition all Cothi Garden Club members are likely to be plant lovers. Therefore it makes sense to have a stall at each of our meetings where plants can be purchased. This can then raise much needed funds for the continuation of the club and also feed our ‘plant habits’! Surely a ‘win- win’ situation.

This is therefore a request for good quality, potted up, labelled, and priced plants to be donated each meeting. A table will be set up for such a ‘Plant Shop’ at the back of the hall, with a tin for the money to be left in. Please price your donation/s according to size of pot, type of plant and so that it reflects the true value while being less than a garden centre would charge. This way those purchasing will have a good quality product at an advantageous price- again a ‘win – win’ situation!

Plant sales


It would be good if the ‘Plant Shop’ involved as many members as possible. It is understood that not everyone will be in a position to offer plants so perhaps they could consider purchasing one instead so that this is a fully inclusive venture.

The Plant Shop will be open for business before the meeting while refreshments are served so it will not be competition for any of the speakers who may also be selling their plants after their talks. Please remember to take home your unsold plants at the end of the meeting.

Many thanks and look forward to seeing what interesting plants are available for sale.

Gardeners’ World – featuring Gelli Uchaf Garden

Gardeners’ World

Saturday March 5th at 8pm (Friday March 4th if you are in England!)

Gelli Uchaf Garden

We were rather pleased to get a call from a BBC2 Gardeners’ World researcher a few weeks ago asking about what Spring bulbs we grew and a bit of background to the garden and ourselves. We were told decisions would be made whether to come and see if we were suitable in the next few days…… a call duly came through and a visit from the recce team was scheduled for the following week. Two very nice chaps came and spent a couple of hours with us walking round the garden and chatting in cold, mizzly conditions while recording it all on a hand held video camera. Now we have been down this path before with the Beeb and it is at this point that we don’t hear anything further – for whatever reason we haven’t been quite what they were looking for. So we were more than a little surprised but delighted to get a call a couple of days after the recce to arrange dates for filming the following week.

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Filming crocus in the snow!

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Crocus opening in some sunshine

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Another take – in the rain!

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Filming Carol Klein as dusk falls

We would have to say it was the garden with its profusion of early spring flowers – Cyclamen, Snowdrops, Hellebores, Iris reticulata, Scilla mischtschenkoana et al all doing their best to impress, rather than the 2 gardeners that convinced the Beeb to come. The weather threw everything at us, mercifully with the exception of strong winds, which was brilliant as it demonstrated just what these wonderful Spring plants have to cope with and yet still manage to delight us with their early colour.

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The three days of filming, one with the full team of five including the lovely Carol Klein, will be condensed down to about 6 minutes and will be broadcast in the first episode of the new series of BBC2 Gardeners’ World on Friday 4th March if you live in England, and Saturday 5th March at 8.30pm if you live in Wales.

FW & Carol Klein (3)

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You can read a write-up about it on the NGS website by following this link:

or our own blog/website by following this link:

Fiona and Julian Wormald