The Dreaded Gardener; Members Social; Garden Safari; Drought Busters; Gardener’s World; Other Events

Malcolm Berry – The Dreaded Gardener:  ‘Weaving the Web:Towards a Natural Garden’

Malcolm’s talk about how he tries to garden in a way to create ‘dynamic stability’ where flora and fauna exist in harmony struck a chord with many of us. The State of Nature reports indicate that in Wales 1 in 14 species are heading for extinction, in a large part due to loss of habitat. To try and offset this even those with small gardens can help. Biodiversity was at the root of his message: diversity creates diversity, the greater the diversity in flora the greater the diversity in fauna.

 

Ideas he has implemented in his own garden:

  • Varied habitats such as a pond, mini meadow, deciduous and evergreen hedges, mature trees and shrubs, dry stone walls, log piles, stone piles.

Mini Meadow © Malcolm Berry

  • Flower counts throughout the year to assess where/when there is a lack. Self seeding annuals to increase flower numbers
  • Polyculture rather than monoculture: mixing veg in with shrubs and perennials. More naturalistic and gives better protection against pests and disease.
  • Clear areas for veg planting in Spring, weed through growing season, stopping in August. By winter the mix of weeds and crops cover and protect the soil which is better for both soil and habitats. Weeds are also a good winter flower source.
  • No power machinery, he uses only hand tools

© Malcolm Berry

  • Compost: use comfrey in layers when turning compost as it is a good activator
  • Seed saving: from most veg. Some such as parsnips, runner beans and leeks require a minimum of 16 plants to save seed from in order to retain diversity. Only save seed from the best plants/fruit. Store seeds in an air-tight tub in fridge with silicon gel packets as this significantly reduces conditions required for germination.

Parsnip seed saving © Malcolm Berry

  • The Moon: He uses the Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar which shows the optimum days for sowing, pruning and harvesting various plants and crops.
  • Non-interventionist approach, no pesticides or herbicides, nature will balance things out. He grows sacrificial plants to avoid significant predation on veg.
  • Minimum tillage, he does not turn the soil, practices good crop rotation and uses green manures to maintain condition and fertility.

It was a very interesting talk and generated many questions from the audience.


Members Social and Growing Challenge 7.30pm Coronation Hall, Pumsaint

Our August meeting is our members’ social evening when we meet for a relaxed get together bringing a plate of food to share. This year due to our increasing numbers, it is being held in the hall rather than a member’s home.

Pots planted for pollinators – with varying degrees of success!

The evening is also when we share the results of this year’s growing challenge. We were asked to plant up a pot with plants for pollinators. Do bring along your pots even if they haven’t turned out quite as expected – it has been a very challenging year weather-wise, but we can all learn from our successes and failures! If you can’t manage to bring the pot itself do try and get some photos of it and bring them along instead.

 

The evening will also be when we will be handing over our donation from the proceeds from the plant fair, a cheque for £500,  to Wales Air Ambulance.


Garden Safari

The garden safari is a club event in which we get to visit the gardens of those club members who wish to participate. The number of gardens taking part varies year to year, this year there will be just 2, Yvonne’s and Tina’s. The date on which it will take place is Friday September 7th. More details will be given at the summer social.


Drought Busters

A tip from Elena for watering…

  1. Place a large tub in a wheelbarrow.
  2. Fill with old washing up water – You can also add feed to the tub
  3. Dunk hanging baskets in the tub holding underwater till all the bubbles stop
  4. Lift out and rest on the rim of the tub to drain, some will also drop into barrow and can be re-used!
  5. Rehang you well-watered basket. Works well with small pots too

And from Julian: we’re now having to use my huge number of water filled polycarbonate drinks bottles as a valuable water resource with our spring running low, but I also found that if you drill a tiny hole in the top of the bottle cap, upend it, and ram it into the soil beside squash, courgettes or tomatoes, it’ll deliver variable, but fairly slow water release over a few days – good if you have to go away for a weekend in hot weather.

From the white board: water Camellias and other Spring flowering shrubs now to encourage flowers next Spring.

Some plants which seem to be coping well with the lack of rain, and don’t need watering:

Jenny says….

  • Rudbeckia, Antirrhinum, Sweet William and Californian poppy.
  • Yellow Loosestrife, hostas and several unknown varieties of alliums have all flowered really well with minimal watering.

Sandy says…..

  • her 3 foot high unknown Phlox are doing well, and her Gunnera! She does live by a river which might help explain it.

Plants John and Helen have found are drought resistant are:

  • Erodium manescavii, Platycodon grandiflora and Scutellaria albida

Erodium manescavii with Geranium sanguinium

Julian and Fiona have found

  • Sea campion, Knapweed and Bird’sfoot Trefoil are all tough native plants to try, plus roses and clematis all seem to be thriving.

Ty’r Maes NGS Open Day

John and Helen had their NGS open day on Sunday. All John’s hard work watering to try and keep the garden looking good along with a little bit of help from the storms of the previous week certainly paid off. The garden was looking beautiful. The sun shone and the visitors flocked in – John said it was their best day for several years.  As always, thanks from them to all their helpers and cake bakers and to John and Helen for their donation to Cothi Gardeners funds.


Upcoming Events

Gardener’s World: Keith Brown whom many of us know for his lovely garden and talks he has given to Cothi Gardeners in the past, has been filmed for Gardener’s World. The piece is due to be aired THIS FRIDAY 10th August at 9pm

Llandeilo Permaculture Group: Llandeilo Permaculture Group have scored a coup, booking Permaculture designer Geoff Lawton for a talk in the Civic Hall on August 24th, 7pm. He’s done TED talks and lots more. This is his only date in Wales. Tickets are £10, includes a light buffet.

September Meeting

Paul Green from Green’s Leaves Nursery will be paying us another visit after his very enjoyable talk last year….. and he will be bringing plants again! Put the date in your diaries: Wednesday September 19th at 7.30pm


 

Cothi Gardeners Plant Fair

Cothi Gardeners Inaugural Plant Fair

Sunday 8th July dawned clear and sunny and turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, perhaps not ideal weather for anyone organising a plant fair! Fears that the heat would deter visitors and stallholders alike proved unfounded and the day was a resounding success with over 300 visitors.

The site was enjoyed by all with easy access for nurseries and stall holders, good parking for visitors and wonderful refreshments in the hall. Huge congratulations and thanks to John Brooks and his team for masterminding the day and putting so much time and effort into all the planning. Also thanks are due to all members of Cothi Gardeners who pulled out the stops to help in one way or another, cake baking, supplying plants, manning stalls, setting up, taking down, car parking supervision and much more. It was a real team effort and one of which we can be justifiably proud.

  

The nurseries and other stallholders seemed unanimous in giving it a ‘thumbs up’ and hope to join us again next year. A big thank you to all the nurseries and stall holders who supported us.


Next Meeting Wednesday, July 18th

Malcolm Berry – The Dreaded Gardener on Facebook will be giving a talk entitled “Weaving The Web: Towards A Natural Garden”
His website is dedicated to helping educate people about how to produce their own healthy food, and encourage biodiversity, using a mix of approaches combined under the banner of ‘Natural Gardening’. This includes aspects of permaculture, organic and biodynamic practice, and what comes naturally to him.
All welcome, starts at 7.30pm, £3 for non-members (includes refreshments).


 

Programme changes; Film Entertainment; Glorious Primulas; Mad Hats & Tea at Aberglasney

The Quiet American Gardener and Terry Walton

Following the last minute cancellation of Terry Walton’s talk to us last month due to family circumstances, we brought forward the film which was to be our November entertainment. The good news is that we won’t miss out on Terry’s talk as he has now confirmed that he will be able to come in November instead.

Hidcote Manor Garden

The film we watched, ‘The Quiet American Gardener’, was about the history and development of Hidcote Manor Garden by Major Lawrence Johnston. He was born into a wealthy American family of stockbrokers, which gave him the necessary funds to create this now revered English garden, once his mother had bought the Cotswold estate in the early twentieth century. It was passed to the National Trust in 1948 on his retirement to his estate, Serre de la Madone, on the French Riviera.

The film was a fascinating insight into how the garden evolved and the influences that played a part: Italian garden design, architectural perspectives and their manipulation to create a particular effect are some that come to mind. The love of the place was apparent in the way the more recent gardeners talked about it and how they were trying to restore the garden to how Lawrence Johnston envisaged it. Click here for a trailer and transcript of the film.

 


Richard Bramley talking about Primulas – Wednesday May 16th at 7.30pm.

Primula sieboldii at Farmyard Nurseries

Another speaker cancellation occurred for May. Fortunately Richard Bramley, a popular and entertaining regular for Cothi Gardeners, was able to step into the breach and will give us a talk on Primulas. Richard has developed a fabulous collection of Primula sieboldii for which he is in the process of applying for National Collection status, and will no doubt tell us much about these beautiful Spring plants along with others in the primula family. He will of course be bringing plants for sale. More info on his website for Farmyard Nurseries (click here).

Primula sieboldii at Farmyard Nurseries

Candelabra primula in a garden setting

 

 


Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Aberglasney

There is a club outing to Aberglasney on Wednesday 6th June. Entry to the garden is at a reduced rate of £7.25 (free to members of Aberglasney) and the special afternoon tea (£12 per person) has been booked for 3.30pm.  Come early and enjoy this fabulous garden before sitting down to a  ‘proper tea’ with sandwiches, cakes and pretty china on the terrace overlooking the pool garden. Mad Hats to be worn (but not obligatory) to add to the entertainment! If you would like to join us but haven’t put your name down yet, there will be a list at the next meeting, or let Julian know directly. We need to give Aberglasney names  so that those attending can get the discounted rate.


Club Plant Stall

Now that we have had a welcome change in the weather (at last!) things have started to recover from the dreadful winter and spring. Do try and bring any surplus plants you may have to the next meeting for the club plant stall. The proceeds from the stall give a significant boost to club finances and all help both with supplying the plants and buying them is much appreciated.


 

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.


 

Brilliant Bob Brown; Quatre Vents – Gardening on a Grand Scale; Christmas Buffet

Bob Brown –  “Too many plants, too little space”

  

Preceded by another successful Pie Night at the Dolaucothi Arms, our October meeting saw us entertained by our ‘big name’ speaker for this year, Bob Brown from Cotswold Garden Flowers. The hall was packed with 40 visitors swelling our club numbers to over 80. There were some excellent raffle prizes to be won and members did us proud with their cake baking for the refreshments

  

Bob lived up to his reputation and gave us a highly informative and amusing talk on the subject ‘Too many plants, too little space’. Below is a brief summary of the main points he made.

“Too many plants, too little space”

  • Cut down size of garden
  • Make every plant earn it’s keep, opt for plants with multi-seasonal interest.
  • Multi-layer planting to extend growing season – as one plant goes over another is coming up to take it’s place – in the same space.
  • Throw out non optimal performers – be ruthless!
  • Go for AGM varieties as these are proven to be garden worthy.
  • Avoid ‘rare’ and difficult to get hold of plants – they are so described for a reason!

Bob also brought some of his lovely plants to sell, many of which were mentioned in the talk.

  

Many thanks to all those involved with the smooth running of the evening, and especially our programme organisers, Brenda and Yvonne, whose brainchild it was.

 


Quatre Vents – Wednesday November 15th

November’s meeting will be a quieter affair but non-the-less very interesting. We are showing the film made and narrated by Frank Cabot about the development of his family’s garden ‘Quatre Vents’ near Quebec in Canada.  Frank and Anne Cabot were the primary benefactors of the Aberglasney Restoration Trust. He set up the Garden Conservancy in the States to help save and restore special gardens around the world. Click here to read more. Sadly Frank died in 2011 aged 86.

The following is a quote about Frank Cabot from Alexander Reford, director of the renowned family-owned Jardins du Métis, also in Quebec.

“He was a formidable character and an inspiration to gardeners, both amateur and professional who work to emulate his horticultural prowess. His wit and wisdom were a welcome addition to our lives, his erudition encouraged many to take up gardening seriously, and his irony made sure that we did not do so excessively. He inherited the land, but he made the garden; it was his from start to finish. Whenever I saw him he was in jeans, his rubber boots, knee pads, dirt under his fingernails. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of plants.”

Even though the property has been open to the general public for only four days each summer, the gardens are world renowned. Hilary Weston and Nicole Eaton featured them in their book In a Canadian Garden, and Reader’s Digest once referred to them as “Canada’s best kept secret.”

In the year 2000 Frank Cabot was awarded the Veitch medal by the Royal Horticultural Society. He also received the Garden Club of America’s 2006 Achievement Award for “the greatest horticultural accomplishment in America in the last half-century” and numerous other awards.

“His book, The Greater Perfection, received the Council of Botanical and Horticultural Libraries’ 2003 Literature Award, and was described as “one of the best books ever written about the making of a garden by its creator”

Perhaps Gardens Illustrated described him best:  “part eccentric, part scholar; a thinker, a gatherer of ideas, a plantsman, and a patron… above all, as is essential to all great gardeners, he is a visionary.”

The film shows gardening on a grand scale, but is still very stimulating, and you may well not get a chance to see it anywhere else, so it’s well worth coming along.


Christmas Buffet

Our Christmas meal this year is a buffet and will be held on the evening of Wednesday December 13th at the Dolaucothi Arms, meeting at about 6.30 pm for a 6.45 to 7 pm start. Final details will be circulated nearer the time but members should be aware that places are limited, so if you do want to come you need to let Julian or Stephen know as soon as possible to secure your place. Payment needs to be made by the November meeting at the latest. The menu is below.

The DOLAUCOTHI Arms – Cothi Gardeners Christmas Buffet 2017

£15 per person

Hot

Dinefwr Venison sausages with red onion, apples and sage

Mushroom, chestnut & red wine bourguignon (gf, ve)

Buttery mashed potato (v)

Root vegetables roasted with thyme (gf, ve)

Cold

Home cooked glazed ham with cranberry and orange stuffing (gf)

Raised rainbow vegetable pie

Spiced red cabbage slaw ~ Chicory, celery & walnut salad ~ winter salad

(all gf, v)

Sweet (all v)

Mince pies with brandy butter

Orange, almond & polenta cake (gf)

Mulled pear and gingerbread trifle


 

Vicki Weston of Big Sky Plants; Summer Social and Growing Challenge; Bob Brown; Updates and Forthcoming Events

Vicki Weston of Big Sky Plants talking about ‘Penstemons and Salvias’  – 20th September at 7.30pm

Flower Border – Photo courtesy of Big Sky Plants

Vicki runs a nursery and smallholding  located on the top of a mountain in Ceredigion. (click here for her website) She specialises in perennials, especially Penstemons and shrubby Salvias. She grows most of her plants from seed, division or cuttings so they should all be well adapted to the west Wales climate. Plants will be available for sale.


Summer Social and Growing Challenge

This year our summer social was held at Gelli Uchaf, the home of Julian and Fiona Wormald. Although the weather did not smile – in fact it tipped down – the atmosphere inside was warm, comfortable and friendly and the evening went with a swing.

The growing challenge this year was for members to bring to the social some food they had cooked/ made from something they had grown in their garden. Many rose to the occasion and we were spoilt with a wonderful array of savouries and desserts – home-grown and made sausages, pizzas and salads, peach muffins, cheesecake and rhubarb crumble to name but a few.


Bob Brown Meeting

As most of you will be aware, our October meeting is the ‘big one’ of the year with speaker Bob Brown coming to talk on ‘Too many plants, too little space’. Posters will be available at the September meeting for anyone to take who can find somewhere to put one.

Offers of help for the night will also be gratefully received – tea/coffee serving, putting out chairs, clearing up, etc. More details at the next meeting.


Ty’r Maes NGS Open Day, 6 August 2017

Despite experiencing our first wet Open Day in 9 years, visitor numbers held up very well, and a good time was had by all.  Very many thanks to everyone who made it such a great event and helped us to raise over £700 for the NGS – too many to name individually, but we certainly couldn’t have done it without your help and fantastic cakes.  As usual, a donation goes to Cothi Gardeners with heartfelt thanks to all.  John and Helen.


Forthcoming Events

GREAT CHARITY PLANT SALE

For National Garden Scheme and Cothi Gardeners

Sunday 22 October, form 1.00pm

Ty’r Maes, Ffarmers SA19 8JP (on A482 opposite turn to Ffarmers)

Tea and coffee provided


Drefach Felindre Gardening Club (DFGC) Open Meeting 2017

DFGC would like to invite members of Cothi Gardeners to their Open Meeting on Wednesday 4th October at 7.30pm in the Red Dragon Hall.

John Shipton of Shipton Bulbs will give a talk on “Plants of Western China”. Refreshments will be provided at the end of the meeting.


 

Pies and Veg; Spring Bulbs and Cinnamon; Green’s Leaves

Following another highly successful Pie Night at the Dolaucothi Arms (thank you Dave and Esther) our speaker, Ivor Mace gave, us an excellent, amusing and informative talk at our meeting in March. Drawing on his 40 years experience he guided us through the trials and tribulations, joys and successes of growing vegetables. We picked up many tips and useful information on:

  • crop rotation to help reduce diseases such as Club root
  • when to dig different soil types
  • use of green manures
  • raised beds
  • most useful tools (draw hoe, fork, spade & dutch hoe)
  • sowing times and sowing tips
  • sequential planting
  • varieties of vegetables
  • pests and diseases

Sadly we needed much longer than the allotted 45 mins – 1 hour for Ivor to include detailed information on more than a couple of vegetable types. We will have to have him back for another session.

The club plant stall continues to do well – keep up the good work all of you who supply plants and those who buy them. There are many bargains and some unusual  plants to be had; and remember the proceeds go to club funds enabling us to have a wider range of speakers.

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After Ivor’s talk we had our new slot for member’s monthly tips. If you have a tip or item of information you think would be useful or you would just like to share please get in touch with Julian before the next meeting so that it can be included.

This month’s tips were:

1: Tenby Daffodils (From Julian)

Do we all know what they look like? And do we all grow them? They’re actually a species daffodil native to this part of the world, so not surprisingly grow very well here. They’re probably one of the most vigorous forms we grow, and reliably some of the earliest to flower – usually in time for St David’s day. This year we have masses of flowers from them. But my first tip taken from moving snowdrops in the green, is if you’ve got a vigorous form like Tenby, try moving them in the green – maybe 5 or 6 weeks after flowering. So long as you do it in damp/wet conditions, and then water them well in any dry conditions, they’ll survive and it’s much easier to get them where you want, between other bulbs and plants than buying in more dry bulbs in the autumn. They’ll probably sulk for a couple of years. But then be fine. Anyone who hasn’t got any, but would like some – more money for club funds, folks, come and have a word afterwards, and Julian can probably lose 30 or 40.  (So maybe 4 lots of 10?)

2: Cinnamon for gardeners. Elena found the following information and shared it with us:

Whenever I think of cinnamon, I immediately think of sweet treats around Christmas time. But cinnamon really is an incredibly healthy spice that has more uses than just adding flavour to your favourite desserts and drinks. Yep, some of the best chilis and grilled meat spice rubs that I’ve ever had contain cinnamon. And did you know that cinnamon is good for your heart health, your brain functions, and blood sugar regulation? Amazing stuff!

Maybe you already knew all that but here’s one that very few people know about: you can use cinnamon for gardening. “Huh? How can you possibly use cinnamon for gardening!?” Yes, I know it sounds completely crazy, but you really can use cinnamon to very legitimately help you with growing certain plants.

Have you ever heard of damping off disease? Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, but you may have seen it before… it’s a soil-borne fungus that looks like cotton and it grows on the stems of your seedlings. Infected plants might still germinate, however it’s only a matter of days before they become mushy, limp at the base, and die. Nasty stuff. But this is where cinnamon comes in…

As it turns out, cinnamon has anti-fungal properties so it’s a great solution to keeping your plants free of damping off disease. Just sprinkle the cinnamon on the soil (don’t worry if you get some on the leaves) and the wonderful spice will get to work protecting your babies.

3: Scilla bithynica.  The Turkish Squill (From Julian)

A bit like a smaller bluebell, but with flowers all round the stem, and a great nectar flower. Like bluebells it does well in moist shade, say under trees or shrubs and with us seems to produce lots of seed, though this will take a few years to grow to flowering size. Slugs and rabbits don’t seem to like it, and the great thing is the colour of the blue, and that it flowers for quite a bit longer than bluebells, and about 6 weeks earlier, so gives an extended season.  Well worth a try, and we got them from locally based John Shipton, who seems to be one of the few suppliers of this bulb (currently 5 bulbs for £9.50 + shipping. Click here for his website)

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There will be lots to discuss at our April meeting, the topic is “Choice Plants for Early Season Interest” by Paul Green.

There is so much to do in the garden at this time of year but Paul will help to get you going in the right direction with tips and advice so that you can focus your attention on what will do well during the spring. Paul’s nursery, Green’s Leaves, specialises in rather unusual plants which have been grown in the UK, making sure they are suitable for our cooler climate. Look at their website for more information www.greensleavesnursery.co.uk  and come along on 19th April as Paul will bring a selection of plants for sale. These are sure to be different from those found in most garden centres.

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PLANTS FOR W WALES; TIPS; CHALLENGES; VISITS; PIE NIGHT and GROWING VEGETABLES

We had a hugely successful first meeting of the year on Wednesday 15th, with an excellent turnout including many new faces and some we hadn’t seen for a while plus a brilliant speaker in Joseph Atkin from Aberglasney.

joseph-atkin-1-2

Joseph’s talk on plants for a West Wales garden was interesting, amusing and informative. He confirmed many of our views that we are fortunate to live in an environment that enables us to grow a great range of plants, particularly those native to China and the Himalayas – as long as we can control the slugs. He showed us some old favourite plants together with some lovely new ones, particularly some of the species lily family and gave us some very useful tips on propagating from seed and how he deals with slugs at Aberglasney.

joseph-atkin-2

The club plant stall was well supplied with some excellent plants so very many thanks to those who brought plants and to those who bought them. The proceeds are an essential part of raising funds so that we can continue to enjoy a wider range of speakers each year.

plant-stall-2

Julian, our new Chair, fortunately sailed through his first meeting without running aground. He introduced a new 5 minute slot for members to share any topical tips, plant favourites, etc with the rest of the club, kicking off with a couple of his own, and brought the club’s whiteboard into use to highlight some of the plants mentioned. Our club has an enormous font of knowledge and this is an opportunity for everyone to share in it, so if you have something you think would be of interest to other members, then do please get in touch with Julian well in advance of the next meeting so that it can be included in one of these slots.

Julian’s tips for February were:

  1. Jakoti hand shears. One of the most useful tools we’ve come across. They have a longer blade than secateurs, can be used with one hand easily and cut more in one go than conventional shears. They are also self sharpening. Available online for £30-£35.
  2. Three plants for February:

a) Cyclamen coum. Copes with anything the weather throws at it. Flowers from November through to March/April. Grows in free draining soil in semi shade. Maybe best on a slope – if you haven’t got a slope try making a sloping raised bed area, beneath a tree or large shrub.

cyclamen-coum-p1030362-2

b) Galanthus x valentinei. A lovely vigorous snowdrop out in time for Valentine’s Day, which has appeared in our garden – we really don’t know if it’s a seedling cross, since we have no record of ever buying it. Best planted like most snowdrops beneath a deciduous shrub or tree.

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c) Daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill. Heavenly scented flowers from December through March. Well drained soil, semi shade. If you can get hold of one on its own roots, it will sucker like a wild cherry and you’ll end up with plants eventually up to 7 feet tall, covered in these scented flowers for up to 2 months.

SDIM0035 (2)

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MEMBER’S MEDLEY AND GROWING CHALLENGE

The club growing challenge this year is for members to grow something that they then incorporate into a dish that they bring to the meeting in August to share – along with an example of what they have grown or photos if that is not practicable. Members can then share their ideas, successes or failures and sample the results. It is hoped to hold the event at Gelli Uchaf or, if the weather is bad, in the Coronation Hall as normal. Thank you to Brenda for the idea for this year’s challenge.

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GARDEN VISIT

We are planning an all day trip over the border at the end of May/early June to see two gardens that come highly recommended. The first is Westonbury Mill Water Garden (click here), entry £6 and the 2nd is Hergest Croft (click here) entry £6.50. The plan is to go by car and meet up at the gardens, having lunch at one or the other – both have cafes. The timing should be excellent for Rhododendrons.

There will be a form for anyone interested to sign at the March meeting. If you would like to add your name but can’t make the meeting then let either Julian or Fiona know.

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CLUB GARDEN SAFARI (CRAWL)

In past years we have had some fun days visiting fellow members gardens and it has been suggested that we do it again this year. If anyone is interested in adding their garden to the list of those to be visited please get in touch with Julian or sign the form at the March meeting

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PIE NIGHT

We are planning on having another Pie Night get together at the Dolaucothi Arms before the next meeting. We will meet at 6pm to eat at 6.15pm. Dave and Esther kindly allow us to come early so that we can get to the meeting on time. In order to do this we need to let them know our pie choices in advance, so anyone who would like to join us needs to let Julian know by Friday March 3rd so that we can get menus out and choices in in time.

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So with Spring  just around the corner and if you’ve already enjoyed the cheerful sight of Snowdrops and Crocus recently, why not give some attention to the vegetable garden in coming weeks?
To get you started, we have invited Ivor Mace to give a talk on March 15th. Ivor has over 40 years of growing experience and has won prizes for his show onions and leeks. He’ll tell us about soil condition, pH levels and no doubt recommend varieties which should do well in your garden. There will be time for questions and answers at the end of Ivor’s talk so if you fancy having a go at growing a prize winner for your local horticultural show or would like to add some home-grown veggies to your dinner plate, then come along. Even if you don’t have space for a vegetable plot, a few container-grown plants will add vitamins and minerals to your diet and the whole family can enjoy eating what they’ve grown.
Join us on March 15th at 7.30pm, please note the later start time.

Happy New Year! AGM and the Year Ahead.

cyclamen   hamamelis   snowdrops-2

With the days getting longer, Spring doesn’t seem that far away. The signs are already there  in the countryside and our gardens. Snowdrops, cyclamen, Hamamelis all brightening up the days when the sun doesn’t shine.

Our 2017 programme kicks off next week with the AGM – 7pm, Wednesday 18th January. It is always a fun social occasion as, once the usual business has been finished, we enjoy a ‘shared plate’ supper followed by a general knowledge quiz  organised by Derek.

Daisy, Margaret and Anne are all retiring from the committee this year after giving unstintingly of their time, knowledge and help. A huge thank you to them for all they have done over the last 3 or 4 years.

Our programme for the year is almost ready for publication, (full details will be published on the programme page of the website shortly). We have Joseph Atkin from Aberglasney to look forward to in February

aberglasney-2

and  to whet your appetites for later in the year…….

The Spring meetings include talks about growing vegetables and woodland gardens. During the summer we can find out about about scented plants and what to grow in ‘problem’ places. In August there’ll be an informal social evening, perhaps with a local garden visit. Moving into the Autumn there are talks about specific plant species and what to do if you have just too many plants and not enough space! The year ends with a relaxing evening watching a film about ‘Quatre Vents’ in Quebec, in December club members will round off the year with Christmas Lunch at a local restaurant.

So for anyone reading this who isn’t a member of the club but is keen on gardening, either growing flowers, shrubs or vegetables, you may like to come along to learn something different, make new friends and even buy some plants at bargain prices.
The Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month at Coronation Hall, Pumsaint and the membership includes gardeners of all abilities from beginner to expert nursery women and men. Many of the membership bring along cuttings and surplus plants from their own gardens which are sold to raise funds for the club. Annual membership is £14  visitors are welcome at just £3, and the evening always starts with coffee, tea and biscuits and a chance to look over the plant stall or chat to other members.

We’re a friendly group, meetings start at 7pm (7.30pm in the summer) There is plenty of parking at Coronation Hall, and if you’d like a drink before or after the meeting, the DolauCothi Arms is just opposite.

 

PLANT SHOP AT COTHI GARDENERS MONTHLY MEETINGS

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

Montanas

Clematis montana ‘Broughton Star’

 PLANT SHOP AT COTHI GARDENERS MONTHLY MEETINGS

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.