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.


 

Farewell 2017, and a Happy New Year to all for 2018

Christmas Social and Buffet

Our last event for 2017 was the Christmas meal and get together at the Dolaucothi Arms. In spite of the weather doing it’s best to thwart the event with excessive snowfalls the weekend before, the thaw set in in time for everyone to make it.

 

 

This year we opted to have an evening do to accommodate those members who work and are therefore unable to come to a lunchtime meal. We also opted to try the buffet format as our numbers have increased to the point that a sit-down meal is less easy to manage.

It proved to be one of our most enjoyable Christmas meetings, the food was excellent with both hot and cold options and plenty of it! Seating was much more relaxed, less cramped and folk were able to move round and chat to different people more easily. All in all a resounding success and our grateful thanks to Dave and Esther and their staff for their warm welcome and hard work to make it so.

(My apologies, there are no embarrassing photos as I forgot my camera!)


AGM, Snowdrop Auction, Supper and Quiz

2018 kicks off with our AGM. Once the official business (usually mercifully brief!) has been dealt with we will be having a mini auction of a few snowdrops for club funds. Julian & Fiona are kindly donating these and the photo below shows some of the snowdrops they had in flower on New Year’s Day – each flower in the photo is a different variety.

 

 

Click here to see a guide on how they grow theirs,  plus pictures of many of them which will (hopefully) show that there’s a bit more to snowdrop forms than you might think! After the auction we will enjoy our ‘bring a plate to share’ supper and finish up with Derek’s light-hearted  quiz.

The AGM is a members only meeting but if anyone wishes to become a member and join on the night they would be very welcome.


2018 Programme

The 2018 programme finer details have almost been sorted and programmes will be available from our February meeting. In the meantime take a look at what is in store for us on the website programme page (click here). A big thank you to Brenda and Yvonne for doing such sterling work as our programme secretaries.

Our first open meeting is on 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.

      


BACK COPIES OF GARDENING MAGAZINES

We have back copies of the following magazines available for a small donation to club funds for anyone who would like them. Nearly all are from 2016:

  • Gardens Illustrated
  • The English Garden
  • RHS The Garden

If anyone is interested email Julian and Fiona at cothigardeneers@gmail.com, and we will bring them along to the next meeting.


 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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:

http://www.ngs.org.uk/what-we-do/news/bbc-gardeners-world-will-feature-colourful-welsh-ngs-garden-gelli-uchaf-in-carmarthenshire.aspx

or our own blog/website by following this link:

https://thegardenimpressionists.com/2016/02/15/tarka-on-stage-imogen-and-typhoon-tv-funny-valentine/

Fiona and Julian Wormald

Happy New Year to all; Colesbourne Park Snowdrops

A very Happy New Year to you all.

Llinos sent the following photos of the snowdrops at Colesbourne Park to cheer us up amidst all the rain! Click here to see their website

Snowdrops Colesbourne 1 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 2

 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 3

 

Snowdrops Colesbourne 4

 

Apologies for the lack of activity on the website/blog over the last few months but we have been without internet since the beginning of November. A new satellite system has now been installed so we will (hopefully) be back in action from now onwards.

The incessant rain over the last months and the unseasonable warmth we have experienced have combined to make gardening both miserable and surprising! Weeding and general maintenance have been challenging with the ground badly waterlogged and many bulbs (including a poor deluded Camassia) and other early flowering plants have been out weeks earlier than normal with us.

Hellebores & Cyclamen

Hellebores and Cyclamen

Jaqueline Postl

Daphne Jaqueline Postl started flowering in early December this year

Looking forward to meeting up again at the AGM on Wednesday 20th January.