Working with herbs – a day in the Pen DInas garden

Amanda Dean, Medical herbalist and transition trainer is an inspirational teacher

Amanda Dean, Medical herbalist and transition trainer is an inspirational teacher

Make your own herbal remedy, understand how to use herbs to support health and to identify different herbs in the wild.

The focus of the day will be starting to develop practical skills and confidence in becoming a “household herbalist”. In centuries past most households would have had at least one member with a working knowledge of medicinal plants. In current circumstances, with pressing issues such as antibiotic resistance and increasing levels of cuts in the NHS, having some knowledge of how to treat or prevent basic ailments at home will once again become a valuable asset. Even without these issues, having some basic skills in how to care for our family and friends using natural remedies is both pleasurable and rewarding.

10am to 4pm, Bring lunch to share. Max group size – 16

With Medical Herbalist, Amanda Dean. Full day taster course £30

- See more at:

Why do we foul our own water supply?

There is not enough fresh water in the World for everyone to do what we do.. it is expensive, unsustainable and a waste of a potentially valuable resource. The answer? Compost it! Its clean hygienic and cheap and opens up a world of new possibilities. This is a really important and often overlooked technology that we should all embrace!

compostA must for community growers and allotment holders.

Learn about different techniques and compost toilet designs and find out what is suitable for different sites and situations. The workshop will include a hands-on construction of a  simple humanure compost toilet for use in the community garden.

Led by Steve Jones, permaculture teacher and compost enthusiast.
The course costs £30, which includes refreshments – some concession available for community growers.

Bring and share lunch

- See more at:

Croeso, Welcome to our community gardening blog


Green power, broccoli man!

Green power, broccoli man!

This web site is no longer updated. The three year lottery project has now ended. To see the latest project info and blog visit our Cultivate website.

We are based in Newtown Powys, next to Theatr Hafren/ Newtown Coleg  & work all over North, Mid Wales and Marches region promoting community growing.

We have an organic market garden and horticulture training centre and are open to visitors and volunteers Monday to Thursday every week.

In 2014 we rebranded as Cultivate and we remain part of the Cwm Harry family of enterprises.


Snapshot of the Cultivate team in the Newtown Community garden, home of the Get-Growing project

cultivate logo + web

A Green Hub for Llanfyllin?

It was great to be back at the Llanfyllin Workhouse project this week, working along side the team there to help develop their community growing aspirations utilising the 6 1/2 half acres that surround the historic building. The 5 day Community Garden Design Course was commissioned by the Llanfyllin Green Hub project and delivered by the Cwm Harry Skills team.


PDC group at the Workhouse in 2009 left and last week, May 2014 on the right

As part of the the Sector39 partnership I have previously run 2 permaculture design courses there at the Dolydd and indeed we were based there for two years from 2009-2011 so I am very familiar with the site.

Cwm Harr’ys Get-Growing project has one year left to run and the third target area to work with is Llanfyllin. So this was an ideal opportunity for us all to work more closely with each other and to use the the Green Hub project to develop links between the various projects in the area. Between the community field and Cae Godfach, the allotments and now the Workhouse there is plenty of opportunity for coordinated action.


Species plan of the forest garden planting

Planting the Dolydd Forest garden 2009

Planting the Dolydd Forest garden 2009

It was very encouraging to see how some of the previous projects have really taken root and developed, so it is also exciting to thik about what hopefully might come out this latest crop of ideas for the Workhouse gardens.

Workhouse forest garden May 2014

Workhouse forest garden May 2014


Design ideas for the landscape around the Dolydd

barn at the Workhouse

Green hub for Llanfyllin? Could this be the ideal location for the Green Hub? The disued barn next to the Workhouse.

A proposal was made for consideration from the Community Garden design course.. that the Workhouse allow the Green Hub to use the currently disused barns for the coming year as abase for the Green Hub. The intention would be to hold weekly )Friday afternoon?) sessions there… as a base for skill sharing, community growing activities, selling produce and crafts and generally acting as focal point. As it is not part of the workhouse, or the community, it might provide an ideal neutral space for people to drop in, and either become involved in community growing activities around the community, including of course at the Workhouse as well. Local artisans have already expressed interest in perhaps using it as an outlet to sell crafts, distribute surplus produce etc.



Design group from the 2014 course, who have worked hard all week generating ideas for more community involvement at the Workhouse.


The Design group presented a collective vision of the Workhouse being a key hub in the local community growing scene. Via projects like the Green Hub and working with organisations like Cwm Harry they can use a series of courses, skill sharing and community events to both develop and manage the gardens at the Dolydd. Earlier plantings of fruit trees, living willow and forest gardens have all thrived there adding interest, edges and productivity to what is already a beautiful location.

For the organisation itself to thrive it needs to use its landscape and ambitions for protecting wildlife and biodiversity also as a way to actively build links with the wider community. From community gardening days, produce sales, tool sharing and maintaining,,, there are many ways a local Green hub group could contribute to the Workhouse and the wider community. Watch this space for updates!

Spring at Pen Dinas


It was a stunning spring day in the Newtown garden today, a perfect moment to reflect o how far we have come in the 18 months since we started the garden here at Pen Dinas. Bees were humming around the spring flowers, blackbirds busy building nests and blossom was everywhere on the new fruit trees. One of the very last few of the micro allotments plots was taken up today and everywhere there was signs of hard work.


The last 18 months have been a constant hard work by the whole team here and it is on days like today that all that hard work really pays off. We received visitors as well day for discussions on some of the lessons learned so far and on strategies for starting similar ventures in other towns. The incredible edible movement and other community led growing initiatives have caught the imagination of many communities.. but in each place there is a different set of challenges, a different set of resources and different set of opportunities.


Later this month we are running a 5-day, how to design a community garden course in Llanfyllin.. using the same process we used to design the Newtown garden. Part of what we are now working on is to turn the experience of what we have learned here into courses and workshops where we can spread the learning and can assist other groups to achieve the same kind of results.


A key part of the project is to be able to replicate and spread the ideas and central to that is the plant nursery where we are propagating lots plants for sale and for use in other garden projects we are involved in. We are especially interested in perennial fruiting and herbaceous plants which we can use to attract pollinating insects, support biodiversity and of course produce food for ourselves.

Cae Bodfach – a community orchard for Llanfyllin

text on permaculture and forest gardens

Text from the Village Farm Orchard map for Stockbridge Liverpool

It has been a fantastic week for forest gardening, with the launch of the Village Farm Orchard project in Liverpool, something I have been working on for 2 years now.. and the planing of a forest garden orchard for the community of Llanfyllin. Cae Bodfach is an area next to the Cain river, upstream of Llanfyllin town that is rented by the town council from the Bodfach estate as a community asset. So we have been keen for while now to start something there that the whole community can benefit from. The potential for involvement is wide open, as we don’t intend to stop with the forest garden.. but this was a significant start to the project and I am thrilled by the interest so far. On Friday we were visited by 80 children and staff of the Llanfyllin primary school, who all got involved in planting, digging holes and adding tree guards to the young saplings they were planting.

Dewi with kids

Dewi Morris working with some of the local school children in the garden

It was a pleasure to work with freelance park ranger Dewi Morris, who has a fantastic repartee with the children and got them all busy working away and enjoying the fresh spring day down by the river. The design for the garden has been approved by the town council and involves planting a fruit hedge and shelter belt of elder, hazel, blackthorn, damson and brier.. and on the south side of that lines of orchard trees interspersed with herbs, shrubs and flowers that area ll good bee fodder and will help attract beneficial insects and build the fertility of the orchard.

Frog came to visit us planting, to see what all the fuss was about

Frog came to visit us planting, to see what all the fuss was about

Of course it is lots of fun working with young children, as every event is chance for major excitement. Find worms, a frog, bits of all clay pipe or broken plate all constitute major events and a chance for wonder and investigation. Ah the simple pleasures! Really fun to work with them all and a big thanks to the school and teachers for taking part and for their enthusiasm, I will look forward to more sessions in the future. Community Day Apologies for anyone who came later on and missed all the action and to anyone who didn’t know we were planting this weekend.. but there will be other opportunities and this is just the beginning of something we plan to build on.. so there will be other chances! I tried to count how many people came down.. 46 is my guess throughout the day.. and what was especially good we had members from across the local community.. all ages and back grounds from Town Councillors, to residents fro the housing association adjacent, folk from the surrounding hill and villages, past permaculture students,friends and more.. guild Members fro Tan Y Fron housing cooperative in Meifod came along to plant an apple tree guild.. and set of specific support species to help the tree get established. It will be really interesting watching this develop and we are planning some signs to help people interpret what is going on there as well as labeling the key trees in the orchard. Many of the trees have come from local nurseries and are old and interesting varieties. Mainly desert and cider apples, but we also planted cherry, pear, quince and plum and we will be adding roe later as well.. so it will only get more interesting over time hopefully. planted We managed to plant 33 fruit trees, 60 supporting trees in wildlife/ fruiting hedge as well as £100 worth of bee friendly plants donated by the RHS. We will be adding to this over the coming year and are open to suggestions for other elements we can include in the garden. It might be nice to include some veg growing facilities like raised beds etc… but for now we have concentrated on long term perennial plantings that will have a long life span and will also contribute to local food growing, wildlife and habitat provision.

plan of the garden

Plan for the Llanfyllin food forest

community garden planting pic

Tan y Fron Coop and friends, planting an apple tree and guild of supporting plants as part of the Cae Bodfach community garden.

Community Garden Design Course – Press release

Press Release

Date: 1st April 2014

Headline: Tree Planting : A new forest garden for Llanfyllin Town.

Local residents in and around the Llanfyllin area are invited to come tree planting to develop a new community orchard at Bodfach Field or Cae Tref next to Llanfyllin’s public car park in Llanfyllin on Saturday 5th April. Tools will be available, but bring a spade if you have one!

10 acres of land has been leased to the Llanfyllin Town Council for the use of the Town by Simon and Maggie Baynes of Bodfach Hall. Work on Friday and Saturday will turn part of this new public open space into a community orchard. Cwm Harry, local charity, are supporting the project and have secured fruit and hedging trees from Llanfyllin Town Council, The Woodland Trust and Keep Wales Tidy to plant up at the site.

Dewi Morris, local resident who has been volunteering on the project, says “it’s great that we’ve managed to secure so many trees to plant up at the Wetlands. I’m really looking forward to getting the Primary School and rest of community involved in planting up the site to create a beautiful community resource.”

Pupils from Llanfyllin Primary School will be planting some trees on Friday 4th, and people are invited to continue the planting from 10am on Saturday 5th.

This will be part of a larger project to transform Bodfach into a community forest garden in partnership with Llanfyllin Town Council, Cwm Harry and Llanfyllin Green Hub. Cwm Harry runs a community garden project called Get-Growing, which will support the development of the garden with community involvement. Get-Growing has developed community garden sites in Newtown and Llanidloes.

To find out more, please call Steve on 01686 626234 or email

Editors Notes:

For more information, please contact Jodie Griffith on or 07814 271360

Cwm Harry is a registered charity focusing on sustainable land use and working towards a zero-waste world. Activities and projects include community gardening, local food production and marketing, skills and training opportunities in practical sustainability, renewable energy, sustainable homes and waste reduction.

Get-Growing is a 3 year lottery funded project managed by Cultivate, part of the Cwm Harry family of enterprises.
The Get-Growing project is based on the Coleg Powys Newtown campus where we are developing a 21/2 acre community market garden, with wildlife and play areas. We are working closely with a range of volunteers, apprentice gardeners, students, local schools, community groups and other enterprises.
We are a national Lottery funded project, launched in March 2012 and are based in Newtown, Powys, Cymru/ Wales

See or for information about other courses and events.

Community garden design

We are thrilled to be able to offer this course without charge, thanks to funding accessed by the Llanfyllin Green Hub project.

Cwm Harry Skills and Sector39 Permaculture have developed this course over the last three years and have used it now to design and build a series of community gardens. There is a huge opportunity to be had in finding productive, low miantenance wya to manag public spaces, to be able to do that we need a mechanism with which to be able to resolve the many different perspectives and constraints on any potential situation.

It can be a real challenge when a mixed group of people with different objectives, priorities and concerns to come together to try agree about how to manage and develop an asset such as land, a farm or small holding.

This is an ideal opportunity for permaculture students working towards their diploma, Transition trainers, managers of public spaces, project developers, communards and more.

We have developed a collaborative, consensus based design process, based on the principles of ecology, permaculture and cooperation. Using this informed and ethical based design system we can develop wonderful diverse gardens, landscapes and public spaces that meet the needs of people, nature & biodiversity and are attractive, beautiful and easy to manage. Permaculture is sustainability by design, a conscious informed process that invites feedback and deliberately aims to meet the requirements of all stakeholders. This is a great an practical introduction into this design system for regeneration and abundance.

Art and design for Cultivate

The Get-Growing project is located on the Coleg Powys campus, and how coming under management of the Cultivate Horticulture team. A recent project in collaboration with the college has been around exploring messages and marketing of how we might communicate so of the aspirations and values of the project via logos and design. We now have the hard task of judging the best entries, meanwhile here are some of the ones that caught my eye

Cultivate logo

Cultivate logo

Dancing carrot

Dancing carrot




Some of the Cultivate team viewing some of the art entries

Some of the Cultivate team viewing some of the art entries

Super hero

Super hero

Recycling logo

Recycling logo

Green power, broccoli man!

Green power, broccoli man!

Water bucket/ headphones

Water bucket/ headphones

Broccoli figure

Broccoli figure



Cultivate centre, Newtown.

View of the Cultivate horticulture centre

View of the Cultivate horticulture centre and our new notice board

I took the liberty of adding a couple of pictures to the notice board in Photoshop. the Get-Growing project has made its home in Newtown at Pen Dinas, on the old Llanidloes road in Newtown. The team behind the project and the local food hub are now officially called Cultivate and we even have shiny new notice board to prove it.

Get-Growing is the three year lottery funded project with the specific aim of developing three community growing hubs in the North Powys area, there are in Newtown, Llanidloes and the third one will be in Llanfyllin.

From the outset of the project we had the intention of using that investment to develop a set of enterprises that would at least have the potential to carry on once the funding was used up. In fact we were told not think of it as funding at all, but as investment in a new community horticulture enterprise. To that end we have started a forest and wildlife garden plant nursery, raised bed production, a training enterprise providing horticulture and community development skills and a local food distribution hub. All these and more go on at the new centre, we are open to visitors and volunteers and host regular events.


The Cultivate Team outside the Roundhouse in the Newtown community garden, Feb 2014