AGM; SNOWDROP AUCTION & QUIZ; INAUGURAL PLANT FAIR; BUMBLEBEES & PYO WILLOW

AGM

The club AGM was held on January 17th and was very well attended with an excellent turnout of current members plus some new ones joining on the night. The chairman and treasurer’s reports indicated that the club is thriving but the point was made that we shouldn’t rest on our laurels but should actively encourage others to join. Thanks were given to retiring committee members, Avril and Jenny, for their hard work over the last 3 years.


Snowdrop Auction and Quiz

Once the business part of the meeting was finished Julian took up his meat tenderizer, sorry, ‘Gavel’,  to conduct an auction of snowdrops. This proved to be a highly amusing event and raised over £60 for club funds. Grateful thanks to Julian and Fiona for donating the snowdrops.

 

Food was next on our minds and we all enjoyed the varied offerings brought for our sharing supper.

With appetites satisfied we girded our loins and attempted to get our brains in gear for Derek’s quiz. He assured us it was easy this year with all answers some kind of plant. We were deceived! Plants ? Certainly. Easy ? ?? Nonetheless it was great fun and enjoyed by all.

         

Stumped?


Cothi Gardeners Plant Fair Sunday, July 8th 2018

The planning for our inaugural plant fair is progressing well. The date is confirmed, excellent nurseries, growers and other participants are booked. Detailed organisation for the day itself will need the active participation of all members to make it run smoothly and successfully so PLEASE PUT IT IN YOUR DIARIES NOW and be prepared to be involved! More on what this will entail at our next meeting in February.


“The Plight of the Bumble Bee” , Wednesday, February 21st.

“The Plight of the Bumble Bee” will be presented by Clare Flynn from the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust. This is a charity doing excellent work and research across Britain. Click here for more info.


 

Cut-your-own willow – January 2018 – available for approx. 6 weeks.

Donna has basket makers’ willow ready for cutting. Varieties include:  Fantail, Continental Purple and Golden. No charge, but I’d happily swap for a small basket! Please phone Donna, 01558 685717

Fantail: A vigorous ornamental willow known for its curiously flattened, recurved stems used in floral arrangements.  Click here for more info.

Continental Purple: Tall, with dark purple to mahogany stems, and a beautiful but very delicate pale purple bloom on the bark. Click here for more info.

Golden: A spreading medium-sized deciduous tree with bright deep yellow shoots bearing narrowly-lanceolate mid-green leaves and insignificant, slender yellowish catkins in early spring. Click here for more info.


 

Upcoming Events Not to be Missed!

Two events which are no doubt already in your diaries……….

First off is our big speaker meeting with Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers  (preceded by Pie Night at the Dolaucothi Arms) ……….

………….. and that is quickly followed John and Helen’s plant sale. This goes from strength to strength this year with Keith Brown selling plants as well as (it is rumoured) his friendsTony and Sylvia Marden, from Shady Plants in Gloucestershire.

Plant Fairs, Festivals and Crawls! Snowdon Night Hike

National Botanic Garden of Wales

Make a date for some blooming bargains at the National Botanic Garden annual plant sale.

Hundreds of plants, donated by Garden staff, volunteers, members and the public will be on offer over the two-day fundraising effort on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13.

There’s still time to donate plants – for details of how to do so, call Jane Down on 01558 667118 – but, mostly, you should be thinking about clearing a space in your backyard for the upcoming deluge of botanical bargains.

Last year’s volunteer-run sale raised more than £4,000 for Garden coffers and this year’s fair is again promising an interesting mix of stalls offering vegetables, bedding plants, perennials and plants for wildlife.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is open from 10am to 6pm, with last admission at 5pm, and the Annual Plant Sale will run on both days.

Admission to the Garden is £10.50 for Adults (including Gift Aid), £8.75 for Concessions and £25 for a Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children). For more information about this or other events, call 01558 667149 or email info@gardenofwales.org.uk

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Team Large’s Snowdon Night Hike

At our meeting in April Anne explained to us the challenge she and members of her family have undertaken as a positive response to the cancer diagnosis she had last year. In aid of Breast Cancer they are aiming to climb Snowdon at night! The Night Hike takes place on May 20th. Do follow the link to Team Large’s Justgiving page to learn more about it. All support gratefully received. (Click here)

 

April Green’s Leaves; May gardens at a Castle, Mill and Croft

Paul from Green’s Leaves gave us a lively insight into the plants his nursery grows. Paul’s philosophy is that a plant needs to earn its place in a garden by any of four main criteria: coloured foliage, scented, southern hemisphere or sheer weirdness! He then proceeded to illustrate his talk using plants that he had brought with him and giving many tips on the best way to grow them.

  • light improves the depth of colour of dark foliage plants
  • judicious pruning helps limit size and in some encourages repeat flowering. With early season flowerers prune by 1/3 to improve shape.
  • Planting in a ratio of one dark to two light gives a good contrast.
  • Hardiness is on a scale of H1 to H7 (less to more) but the degree of hardiness of a particular plant will also depend on its age, moisture, size of pot/in the ground,wind, location in the garden, etc

In case any of you didn’t get a name or missed the meeting, below is a list of most of the plants Paul mentioned:

  • Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ – prune after flowering to keep size manageable
  • Polemonium ‘Heaven Scent’ – trim whole plant after flowering to encourage repeat flowers
  • Physocarpus – good for clay soils and can be pruned
  • Actea ‘Black Negligee’ – good for moist soils
  • Rogersia ‘Bronze Peacock’ – also good for moist soils
  • Black Catkin Willow
  • Black stemmed Dogwood
  • Prostanthera rotundifolia (Australian Mint Bush) – hardiness H2
  • Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ – bullet proof and copes with poor soil
  • Hollies – 1 male needed to 20 females to produce berries. Examples included ‘Sliver Hedgehog’ and the Chestnut Leaf Holly.
  • Spirea vanhouttei ‘Gold Fountain’ – good in pots; in sun foliage is gold, in shade, lime green
  • Epimedium frohnleiten –good for shade and ground cover
  • Hakonechloa
  • Sorbaria – this plant suckers so plant in a large pot buried in the ground. Lovely early foliage, flowers, and autumn colour.
  • Eupatorium ‘Mask’ – great for butterflies. Needs sun or part shade and a moist soil.
  • Gillenia trifoliata – white flowers in June and very good autumn colour.
  • Buffalo Currant – yellow flowers, smells of cloves and great for bees. Plant in sun.
  • Acers – the more dissected the leaves, the less wind tolerant
  • Cercidiphylum japonicum pendulum
  • Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’ – an alternative to box.
  • Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ and ‘Alexander’s Great’

All in all a highly entertaining, informative talk.

Topical Tips

The topical tips for April were from Anne and Julian.

Anne showed us her bulb planting trowel which is much narrower and more pointed than a conventional one. She says it is the only sort she now uses and not just for bulb planting but weeding and many other things too. When buying one remember to check the weld as this can be a weak point.

Julian’s tips: firstly, our preferred method now for weed control on our quite extensive paths and yard. Having previously tried Pathclear, steaming, hot air (from an electric paint stripper – not Julian’s mouth) and a flame thrower. We use an 8 litre watering can with a fine rose, 750 grams of table salt and a small amount of liquid washing machine detergent (say half a cap full). Dissolve with stirring and using water as hot as you have, and then water the paths. Ideally do this at the beginning of a dry spell. It needs repeating maybe 6 or 7 times a year, and occasionally you may need to do a little hand weeding as well, but it’s better than anything else we’ve ever used, with surprisingly little collateral damage. We usually begin as soon as the first seedling leaves appear, in very early spring or late winter, and repeat as necessary. One watering can full will treat between 10 and 12 sq yds. Of course this being the UK he couldn’t possibly advise that any of you do this. We’re just telling you what we do!

Secondly, a plug for specialist nurseries. 2 examples. We now grow a lot of daffodils, particularly late flowering ones, many of which we get from Ron and Adrian Scamp in Cornwall. (www.qualitydaffodils.com). They have a huge selection, a great physical and online catalogue and these 2 later flowering favourites which are about halfway through their flowering time now (mid April). The one, rather appropriate for Carmarthenshire being called “Merlin”,

N. Merlin

and the others are called “Oryx”.

N. Oryx

All Scamp’s daffs are grown in Cornwall and most seem to cope very well in our conditions. Most people order daffs in the autumn, but some of his good varieties sell out even by now, so have a look soon if you’re interested.

Richard Bramley, who most of us know, has recently built up an amazing collection, in flower now in one of his polytunnels at Farmyard Nurseries Llandysul, of Primula sieboldii.  I’d urge anyone who likes the look of them to go and visit Farmyard whilst they’re still in flower.

 

                  

May Meeting – Roddy Milne from Picton Castle

Our meeting on May 17th promises a restful departure from the busy time that most gardeners are having this month.

The topic is “The Woodland Garden and its Plants” and the talk will be presented by Roddy Milne, head gardener at Picton Castle. Some of you may already have visited Picton Castle, but do come along as enjoying an hour with Roddy as he gives us tips and advice is not to be missed. If you are planting up a wooded area yourself then you’re sure to get some hints on how to proceed. There will be time to ask questions and a plant sale, plants brought along by Roddy and of course those grown by our members.

If you would like to know more about Picton Castle, near Haverfordwest, and perhaps plan a visit this spring, have a look at www.pictoncastle.co.uk for more information. This 40 acre site is at its best at this time of year, especially the woodland walks and spectacular display of rhododendrons.

Garden Safari

This is taking place on Wednesday May 10th. If you haven’t already given your name to Julian please do so asap. We need to know numbers to organise car sharing to Donna’s. The plan is to meet in the car park at Cymdu pub at 11.50 am and sort out filling the 4 cars Donna can accommodate from there/organise a shuttle service if needed. After Donna we go on to Elena for lunch – remember to bring a sharing plate of food; and then on to Tina’s for about 2.30 ish.

Westonbury Mill and Hergest Croft Visit

Anyone interested who hasn’t done so already and would like to car share, please let Julian know. The date for this is 24th May. The aim is to meet at Westonbury Mill in the morning, when it opens at 11.00 am and go on to Hergest Croft for the afternoon. Lunch can be had at either. Details will be finalised at the May meeting.

Cardiganshire Horticultural Society

The members of Cardiganshire Horticultural Society have very kindly said that any members of Cothigardeners who would like to join them on any of their outings would be very welcome to do so. Click here (http://cardhortsoc.org.uk/day-trips/ ) to go to their website if you are interested. Visits this year still to come include: Swansea: the Clyne Gardens & Penllergare; Powys: Bodfach & Bryn y Llidiart; Shropshire: Ruthall Manor & Dudmaston Hall; Chester Zoo Gardens. Details are also on our Members Offers page (click here)

Roses in Wales; Charity Plant Sale; Surplus to requirements; Club Plant Shop

Our next meeting is almost upon us – Wednesday, 19th October at 7.30pm. Growing Roses in West Wales with Richard Bramley of Farmyard Nurseries. As we all know roses are not the easiest of plants to grow in a wet climate, so we look forward to Richard’s talk with great anticipation.

Rose-de-rescht

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John and Helen’s annual charity plant sale takes place this Sunday (23rd) from 1pm  at their garden Ty’r Maes, Ffarmers. “There will be plants for sale, the proceeds of which will go to the NGS, and plants to swap, where we would hope visitors will put a donation in one or more of the charity boxes.” So if you have any plants to spare, share or swap, do take them along.

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Do check out the surplus to requirements page on the website. A recent addition is a petrol strimmer for just £25.

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Club Plant Shop – A quick recap………..

Our plant shop has been very successful through the year.  For those purchasing plants from the stall please remember that it is no longer run on a donation basis. Members bring good quality plants which are potted up, labelled and priced, so please check the label and put the relevant amount in the tin. Any plants not sold should be taken home by the member who brought them.

A big thank you to everyone for your support.

Plant sales

Meetings, Events and More

Firstly a reminder about our visit to Picton Gardens……………..

This is a brilliant opportunity to see these beautiful gardens under the expert guidance of head gardener Roddy Milne. We need to get the numbers in very soon so please if you haven’t already done so, contact Margaret or Daisy asap to confirm whether you are able to go or not. The more we get the cheaper the cost of entry  (20+ = £4.50 – a real bargain!) We meet at 5pm for a picnic (bring your own) in the gardens followed by the garden tour. Plants will be for sale but please take cash with you as the shop will be closed

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Plants for Colourful Shade

We had a well attended meeting last week at which Richard Cain of Penlan Perennials gave a very informative talk on colourful plants for shade, covering the different types of shade and a whole variety of plants both familiar and not that can be used in these conditions to give colourful interest.

Richard had a good selection of plants for sale and offered to take any pre-ordered from his nursery to any of the plant fairs he will be attending for members to collect. See below for details of fairs. Click on the link to go to his website: penlanperennials.co.uk

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Our next meeting ……………………………….

Gardeners can be a funny lot….One minute they’re talking about Galanthus, the next Snowdrops. First it’s phormium, then it’s flax.
If you would like to untangle the Latin, then come along to our illustrated talk “Botanicus Tongtwistii” in May, when the speaker will be Carrie Thomas from Touchwood, Killay, Swansea.

Carrie holds degrees in botany and zoology so we are looking forward to an informative and entertaining evening, after which we’ll know exactly why a Red Hot Poker is called Kniphophia.

Visit Touchwoodplants.co.uk for more information about Carrie and her garden.

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Gerddi Cae Hir Gardens Plant Fair
May 2 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cae Hir

 

Cae Hir Gardens Plant Fair. Come and enjoy this lovely six acre garden in the heart of Ceredigion. It is an RHS Partner Garden and entry to the Garden and Plant Fair is free. There is a small charge for parking at the local school.

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Ceredigion Garden, Craft & Food Festival, Aberaeron
May 29 @ 10:00 am – May 30 @ 5:00 pm
Free entry

Ceredigion plant fair

Now in its 7th year and expanding all the time. Held on Alban Square Field, Aberaeron and organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association, this is the premier event of its type in West Wales.

Over 70 stalls selling plants, craft and food, together with music & entertainment. Something for everyone and FREE ENTRY.

No dogs allowed on the field (except service dogs).

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Aberystwyth Summer Plant Fair
June 11 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

A host of great nurseries from three counties on the Farmer’s Market site from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Summer bedding, veg and perennials amongst others. FREE. Organised by Ceredigion & District Growers Association

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Llanllyr NGS Garden Plant Fair
June 26 @ 12:00 am – 5:00 pm

Llanllyr

The Ceredigion & District Growers Association hold a Plant Fair at Llanllyr Garden on their National Garden Scheme Open Day. Entry to the Plant Fair is free, however normal NGS charges are payable to go into the garden. Ample free parking. Please note the Plant Fair finishes at 5.00pm and the Garden is open until 6pm.

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Finally……………………………

Dismantled Greenhouse – details of this came through by email. Please contact Carolyn Somers if interested: ceejaysom@btinternet.com

An Eden greenhouse, 6’x8′ . Most of the glass is there with some pieces broken, all the frame is there but without the door as this was lost to the storms. The only thing is there are no nuts and bolts but these can be bought from B&Q. I am in Nantgaredig just outside Carmarthen.