Pine Martens, Willow, Volunteering and Christmas Lunch


Image courtesy of the Vincent Wildlife Trust

We had another very successful meeting in November when Dave Bavin from the Vincent Wildlife Trust came to give us a talk on the Pine Marten Recovery Project. It was a fascinating talk explaining how wild Pine Martens from Scotland were being reintroduced Wales. An area near Devils Bridge and the Ystwyth valley was selected as being the most suitable habitat to help re-establish the Pine Martens. Soft release pens were used to acclimatise them and radio collars were fitted to track them for the first 10 months after release. The first group spread out quickly, some travelling nearly 100km to the North Wales coast, while others moved south to the Llyn Brianne area. It needs at least 40 Pine Martens for the population to sustain itself due to their low levels of reproduction (between 2 and 4 kits per year depending on conditions, of which half don’t survive). Following the success of the first group, a second group have now been released. Pine Martens are a useful addition to the wildlife of Wales as they predate grey squirrels thus helping the red squirrel population to recover (red squirrels have evolved a strategy to enable them to co-exist with the Pine Martens). Pine Martens are omnivorous carnivores which causes concern among landowners, particularly those with pheasant shoots. The Trust is engaging with landowners and local communities to educate and inform them so that all can co-exist happily.


John and Helen reported on their successful plant sale which raised £250 for the NGS and £15 for Cothi Gardeners, and thanked everyone for their support.



Daisy asked for any nominations for posts on the committee that need filling next year. These include Chairman (for which there is already one nomination) Treasurer and two people to ‘Meet and Greet’.

We all need to play a part in the running of our club for it to continue into the future and we all get a great deal of pleasure from it. So if you feel you would like to put something back into it and would be able to fill one of these roles, then please do get in touch with Daisy.



Various lengths, some stems up to 3 years old, some ready for a first cut. Altogether, about a hundred stems.

Varieties include:

Continental Purple (Salix Daphnoides)
Beautiful purple colour which develops a white bloom once the willow has dried. Suitable for living willow structures but smaller rods can be used in baskets. Rods can grow up to 8 foot in one year.

Salix purpurea Dicky Meadows

A very slender willow – lovely to use in basketry and is yellow/green in colour. Can grow up to 1.8m. Sought after by basketmakers.

Salix purpurea “Jagiellonka

Jagiellonka is quite a vigorous purpurea which shoots out very pretty purple/red new stems with bright leaves in the spring. This willow provides interesting texture and contrast in the garden, and looks great in a summer arrangement. Use for (coarse) basketry

No charge, but please make me a small basket!

For more details, please phone Donna on 01558 685717



MEMBERS CHRISTMAS LUNCH – at the Dolaucothi Arms , 12 for 12.30 on Wednesday, December 14th

Time is running out if you haven’t let Anne have your menu choices and full payment for the Christmas Meal – the deadline is December 1st. For the menu please see the previous post (click here).

Roses, Pine Martens and Christmas Lunch

Growing Roses in West Wales by Richard Bramley of Farmyard Nurseries was one of the best talks we have had for a while. Informative, practical and humorous, Richard took us through how to buy, planting, diseases/pests and types of rose before showing us specific varieties. West Wales is not the ideal climate for roses and his sound advice when choosing a rose to avoid disappointment was to consider ‘not what you want but what you can grow’.


Rose de Rescht

Roses worth a mention as being ‘good doers’ were the Rugosas generally, shrub roses such as Bonica and Rose de Rescht, and ramblers or tree roses such as Pauls Himalayan Musk and Seagull.

Paul's Himalayan Musk

Paul’s Himalayan Musk grown up a Hawthorn Tree




Photo courtesy of the Vincent Wildlife Trust

Our speaker in November is rather different. Usually we learn something horticulture-related but in a change to our original programme (sadly Keith Brown couldn’t join us due to ill health), we’ll be welcoming Dave Bavin from the Vincent Wildlife Trust.
Some of you may have heard about the plan to re-introduce Pine Martens to Wales and one of the sites selected by the VWT is near Pontrhydfendigaid.  Please join us on November 16th at 7pm to hear the background to this ambitious project and to follow the progress of some of Wales’ new wild residents.


Photo courtesy of the Vincent Wildlife Trust

These websites offer an insight into these lovely creatures.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust is also leading the control of grey squirrels locally, in order to encourage the three populations of red squirrels in the forests to be able to get together and party.  Many members in the local community are taking part in this project.

Please note: Now that the clocks have changed, our meetings begin a little earlier at 7pm. This is the last open meeting of Cothi Gardeners for 2016, our 2017 programme will be available shortly.




Christmas Lunch

Our Christmas lunch this year is taking place on Wednesday, December14th at the Dolaucothi Arms at 12 noon. Please remember to bring your deposit (please note that this is £7, not £5 as previously thought) and menu choices (see menu below) to the November meeting.

Dolaucothi Christmas Menu 2016

£22 per person for three courses

Jerusalem artichoke soup with spiced hazelnut crumb and lemon oil (gf/df)
Potato pancake, smoked salmon, horseradish creme fraiche & salt baked beetroot (gf/ df on request)
Caramelised pear, chicory and mouldy mabel bruschetta
Chicken liver, apple and smoked bacon pate, sourdough bread

Free range Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, bread sauce (df on request)
Mushroom, chestnut & Caerphilly wellington
Rump of Welsh beef with sherry & shallots (gf/df)
Hake with winter vegetable saffron chowder (gf)

All served with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Figgy toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce
Mincemeat strudel & brandy butter (df on request)
Chocolate cardamom mousse cake, poached pear (df, gf)
St Clements Trifle (gf)
Two cheeses, oatcakes & homemade preserves (+£2)