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This web site is no longer updated.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

International evening in Llanidloes food garden

Photo-0102Llanidloes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts enjoyed a sunny international evening in the community garden Llanidloes on Wednesday 14th May. The younger Beavers and Cubs made bugs from around the world whilst older children made bunting to represent different nations.

international evening

The older Scouts and explorers sawed and chopped wood and made a fire in the cob oven for cooking pizza’s and made a fire to sit around. Everyone enjoyed traditional Italian style pizza from the clay oven, about 40 in all.  Stacks of pancakes with sweet treat toppings were consumed and drinks from around the world were tasted, such as: laasi from India and Ice tea from the States.


fire-pit seating area

Llanidloes Scouts are  fundraising for a trip to the international scout camp in Kandesteg, Switzerland. The 9 participants will be part of a jamboree camp with over 1000 Scouts worldwide. While individuals are paying for their own transport, camp fees and food, they are fundraising to take part in extra events such as staying in alpine huts high in the mountains and glacier walking.

willow fenceThe Scouts from Llanidloes will be sharing Welsh culture by inviting other nations to supper to share food, songs and games as well as exchanging Welsh symbols such as daffodil badges, rugby motifs etc while at the jamboree. They will also be visiting other nationalities to learn about their cultures.

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!

April in Llanidloes

sunken seatThings are developing fast in the Llani food garden. The sunken seating area has now had the wood slated seat fitted. This is made out of local untreated larch. Our aim was to give a more rounded seating area, the corners are to be covered with mosaic tiled art work made as part of a series of workshops during the summer with local artist Irene Gardiner.

wildlife area first plantings and new stepsOur next project is to develop the wildlife area which is part of the Grow Wild project funded by Kew Gardens and the National Lottery. In this area we are developing a wildlife pond, the soil being removed from this area will be used to fill micro allotment plots on a first come first serve basis. We have started to build the steps down through the terrace beds, these are also made from chunky untreated local larch.

Rosie tending her allotmentWe have a good team of regular volunteers now, which enables us to get a lot done each Monday during a volunteer sessions 10am – 4pm. Micro allotments are starting to come into use now and some of the plots that were started earlier in the year are even starting to get a harvest. There are still some available plots at only £10 a year. All tools are available on site and assistance available if needed on Mondays.

The willow hurdles we made earlier in the year are looking great around the seating area and so Level 2 gardening students are constructing some more to go on the other side. We will be making some more later in the summer to fence of the pond area, so if you are interested in getting involved get in touch.

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.

oven open day

Andy cooking pizza in the clay ovenMothers day, glorious sunshine and the first bake in our new clay oven attracted 46 people to our open day and wild workshops.

Andy and Leanne from’ Andy’s artisan bread’ fired up the clay oven and spent the afternoon cooking pizza’s for all the visitors. The oven worked well and the pizza’s tasted great, first pizza- Ralph & Hannahaccompanied with lots of fresh salad harvested from one of our polytunnels at the Newtown community garden.

Hannah and Ralph snapped up the first pizza out of the oven. The base was a little sandy and grey with ash, but they got better as the day went on and as Andy mastered cooking in the new day- eating area

This project has been funded by GwirVol youth led grant scheme, that paid for the materials for the construction of the oven and seating area,  workshops in clay & willow and volunteer opportunities in construction, cementing, block and brick wall building and plastering.

We had been busy this week finishing the sunken seating area and today open day-seating areawe put the fire bowl in place and the local youths lit a fire and heated up marshmallows, having lots of fun and really enjoying this new space. It is a multi purpose area, that can be used by all ages. Parent and toddlers will be able to throw down a rug and some toys and use it for containing the little ones while they work on their allotments or enjoy a chat. While others can take the fire bowl from the shed when needed.

seating area and fire bowl

We started the day running workshops in making bug hotels and wild flower seed bombs. Individuals could choose their materials for making the bug hotels, using moss, wool, hollow sticks and leaves they tied them together or slotted the Bug hotel - zeff Lyonmaterial into tubes or bottles. These were then putt into place in our larger hotel between the oil tanks in the wildlife area or they could be taken home. We also were making wild flower seed bombs made from a mix of sand and clay rolled in wild UK native annual meadow flowers. The flower bombs were put into egg boxes to be taken home and then Gary & Kids making wildflower seed bombsdistributed. The open day was 10-2 pm but with it being mothers day and the clocks changing it was a slow start, although it turned out to be such a beautiful sunny day people came for pizza at lunch and stayed till around 5-6 pm and made the most of the new garden and the weather.

We have just been awarded another grant called ‘Grow wild’ this funded the native seeds for the wild flower seed bombs and will be funding many more workshops during the summer. Our next project is to develop the wild life area designed by level 2 gardening students. This will have a large pond and bog garden planted with UK native plants. We will be constructing a small fence to ensure child safety and a viewing platform over the pond. The craft workshops coming up will be run by local artists Irene and Terry, dates to be confirmed. There will be painting a mural in the eating area, mosaic tiles for the kitchen and making insects out of recycled materials.



Llanidloes meeting and eating place

We have been busy in the Llanidloes garden during the last month finishing the clay oven and sunken seating area that has been funded by a youth lead grant from pavo. Creating the sunken seating area by converting an old crumbly greenhouse base. At times it has looked like we are making a swimming pool, but it is draining and the cement and rendering is now nearly all dry.

Willow workshopweaving willowWe held a one day willow workshop with Beryl Smith to make 5 hurdles that will surround two sides of the seating area to give shelter and privacy.

We had a fantastic hot spring day and everyone enjoyed learning skills in this traditional craft.


Some of the willow had been harvested locally just outside Llanidloes at Cae Felyn market garden. The rest came from a willow coppice on Bulmers water purifying land. Willow is a fantastic renewable resource, coppiced every year it increases yields year on year, giving straight lengths of a couple of metres.

completed willow hurdles


The hurdles are going to look great around the seating area, but first we need to cut out some tarmac and cement in place some posts.  These hurdles will go in place when the cementing and rendering is finished in the sunken seating area.


starting cementing


We eventually finished digging out the soil, which has been used to fill some of the raised beds. We smashed up some old broken bricks and paving to give a hard core base and then started cementing the base.

Bill rendering

Local builder Bill kindly gave up his Saturday to teach volunteers how to mix cement and render the wall. Also fixing the fence posts in place ready for supporting the willow hurdles.

This Monday regular volunteers Rhys and Luke continued with cementing the base, positioning some slate slabs to brighten up the cement.


Rhys & Luke cementingWork will be continuing this week to finish the seating area ready for our open day this Sunday. When we will be firing up the clay oven and Andy local artisan bread maker will be cooking up some pizza, whilst visitors will be able to take part in making a bug hotel or make some wild flower seed bombs to take home.


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.