Llanidloes open day

kitchen party

We had a final push to finish jobs in the Llanidloes garden yesterday before our open event in the afternoon. The weather stayed dry if a little windy, but we had around 70 people call in through the day to look at the transformed community space.

open day


We enjoyed pizza cooked in the cob oven, by our Newtown volunteer chefs, Chris and Alistair. We ate salad harvested from the garden.  On display was the photo diary of how the garden has progressed over the last year. Transformed into diverse habitats for wildlife, whilst providing food and sanctuary for all of us.

seed bombs



We made wild flower seed bombs for people to take home and spread around the place.





In the morning Dave, David and Brian put up the flag pole, we forgot to bring a flag so David quickly made one from scrap material. The flag pole was a request from the scout groups, so that when they are using the garden they can fly the Union jack. Most the time we will be displaying our Green flag award. If anyone is feeling artistic and wants to make us a community garden flag, please do. Brian and I finished the entrance sign off, attaching the waterproof clip frames, that will allow anyone to put up fliers and notices in the dry.

finished viewing platformRhys and I laid the paving in front of the viewing platform to give a smooth level surface to access this area. Whilst keeping an eye on the fire in the cob oven that needed to be lit three hours before we started cooking. Beryl arrived early for the open event and stepped straight in to help us out, planting the last of the plants in the bed for dye plants.


The garden is open at all times for anyone to visit, volunteer sessions are on Monday mornings. You can find the site behind Bethel Street Chapel in the centre of town.

Next week in the garden I will be teaching a two hour practical session on over wintering crops. Come an get stuck in, we will be planting and sowing a variety of crops that will give you a crop from May next year. Peas, beans, onions, garlic, salads, herbs. No experience needed, and it’s FREE. 10 – 12am. Booking is essential for this course, through the botanic garden of Wales.




Busy volunteer day and willow workshop

This Monday saw a busy day in the Llani garden, finishing off different projects before our open day next week. When we will be firing up the pizza oven, making wild flower seed bombs and praying for good weather.

The weather wasn’t looking to promising this week, but it turned out to be a lovely day, the rain held off and the busyness of activity kept everyone warm.

willow workshopwillow fenceBeryl Smith ran a day long workshop in willow weaving to create a beautiful and practical fence above the terraces. This was constructed with fresh green willow just cut this week, so still with leaves, but these will drop off over the next couple of weeks leaving a clean tidy weave. As we now have a pond in this area it is important that we close this area off from unattended children. The pond can be viewed from the new platform and there will be a gate giving access to this area for maintenance, harvesting and education. The fencing will give the neighbouring houses a bit more privacy, and hopefully they will feel a little less overlooked as visitors eyes are taken away from their back gardens and onto the planting around the pond. Now that this area has been completed It is wonderful to see the realisation of the wildlife area design that was created by level 2 gardening students from WEA Cymru (formally Coleg Harlech WEA). I think all will agree it is well designed and constructed and works beautifully.

gateBrain got together with Dave and David to hang the new gate, and fix the new gate post. Not an easy job as the post hole didn’t go far in the ground before hitting concreted bricks.



Rhys cob ovenMeanwhile our regular volunteer Rhys worked on his own make a clay, sand mix to patch up the oven before next weeks pizza session. The oven suffered some rain damage a while back before we had time to cover it, but it now has a roof to protect it and it no longer leaks. Rhys patched up the oven and gave it a new coat of clay all over, so hopefully this will keep it good for the winter.

Tinisha popped in for a lunch time session, when she grabbed an hour off from toddler and new baby. Plenty long enough to build a raised bed for her micro allotment, where she hope to grow herbs and salad for their great little venue The Old Mill.

seating plantedThe Cultivate team were here on mass this week, with Seri from the Cultivate nursery and Rachel working with volunteers to clear and plant the area around the sunken seating area. In preparing the ground four large pieces of slate were dug up, which we will find uses for around the garden. The bed was edged with wood and topped up with 1/2 a ton of top top soil. A box hedge was planted to back the bench seat, with rosemary and lavender for scent and to attract insects.

Hope to see everyone next Monday for pizza and pictures of the site development.

New pond for Llani

We had another good day developing the wildlife area in the Llanidloes cocaroline & Rees- digging the bog gardenmmunity garden. Regular volunteer Rees started the day with the help of Caroline and myself weeding the apple terrace and path, clearing seedling brambles and rosebay willow herb. We then moved on to digging out the bog garden. This is positioned at the end of this area just under the edge of the corrugated roofs, where it will catch the drips to keep the soil moist for all the bog loving plants.

The day started wet, with some heavy rain showers, but that was just what we needed to fill the pond that we had lined last week. The rain stopped mid morning, so we finished filling the pond with a long hose. Once the pond was full of water we could then trim off the excess liner and start to bury the edge.

julie & Caroline bog gardenThe trimmings of liner gave us just what we needed for the bog garden liner. These were laid in strips in the prepared bog area with a few holes made for drainage. We want the bog garden wet but not flooded. Level 2 gardening students that had designed the area came back to help. Julie and Alison came to join Caroline in the afternoon to get the area finished. Last but not least the planting could begin.

new wildlife areaThe planting plan has been designed for year round interest for us whilst providing food and habitat for wildlife. Planting is mainly based on native plants with a few naturalised and non native plants for added interest or to restrict growth and spread. Choosing a variety of colours and shapes of flowers attracts a wide range of insects. Always selecting single flowers for pollen collecting insects, rather than being tempted by multi petalled hybrids, that often are missing the sexual parts of the flower that carry the pollen.

Julie pondA mixture of woody plants (shrubs and climbers) and herbaceous plants (soft stemmed plants) gives habitat for a range of insect and amphibians all year. This area is one of the shadiest places in the garden, which is not ideal for ponds. The design has ensured that the pond will catch any available sun and will not be further shaded by planting. Lower growing ground cover plants have been used on the east side, so as not to block the sun, whilst taller plants at the back of the pond give protected exit routes for pond life.The sun directly hits this area most of the morning, whilst the decking continues to catch some sun into the afternoon.

What is needed now is a selection of nice big river stones to go around the pond and bog area. These will hide the pond liner and give hiding places for a range of wildlife.

Volunteers always welcome on a Monday. Over the next couple of weeks we will be building an entrance arch and notice board. As well as helping new allotment holders build their micro allotments ready for the free practical planting course on Monday  3rd November. This Saturdays course (11th Oct) is ‘Extend your growing season’. Booking for both courses is essential.

Come and join us for pizza and tours of the garden on our open day Monday 27th October 12-4 pm.

Sunny September in Llani

water collection- reducedWe had a lovely hot and sunny volunteer session this week and the perfect job for such weather. Starting the day with sorting out the water collection and recycling. We have been donated a very mucky IBC which regular volunteer Rees gave a good scrub to get clean.Whilst Brian fixed the gutters and down pipe running off the chapel.  We have also been offered a second water butt which we will link into the system when it arrives. A lot of the garden is made up of raised beds without a lot of soil under them, so they do require a lot of watering. We may not have had the water collection sorted for this summers hot weather but we will be ready for the next spell of dry weather.

tile workshop reducedThe next job for the day was fixing the finished mosaic tiled wall to the kitchen area. It was originally to go on the breeze block wall as a sink splash back, but it looks so fantastic we decided to put it in a prime visable location on our stud wall which makes up the kitchen area. This way it can be seen as soon as you enter the garden. The mosaic was created during a two day workshop hosted by Terri Sweeney as part of the ‘Grow wild’ summer activities. The participants cut and laid the tiles to make up individual letters, then designed insects and plants for the corners. Tiles were place upside down in an indirect method which later Terri fixed and grouted to the eight foot board.

commuity garden tiles- reduced

Terri is a local artist who runs a variety of courses and workshops in the community, at festivals and for schools.

finished tile wall- reduced







The Grow wild project has been running through the summer promoting wild and native plants and animals. We have had some funding to enable us to do a series of free summer art workshops for all ages. The last part of this project is to complete the wildlife area in the garden, including establishing a pond and native plants. I have the pond liner ready to go in and have just been donated some old carpet to use as underlay to protect it from stones. Come and get involved on Monday 29th September and 6th October.

Next week in the garden we will be making the last of the raised beds to be used as micro allotments. There are still a few plots available on a first come basis and we still need a donation of a few more planks for our 2m by 1.2m bed. Get in touch or get involved Monday 15th September 10am – 2pm. This will be followed by a short National Botanic Gardens course ‘Extending your growing season’. This course is on 11th October 10am – 1pm and only cost £5. Get started with some over wintering food crops for harvest early next year. To  enrol contact bookings.

Poster short gardening course 2014

We will be finishing our summer season with a half term Grow wild get together in the garden. Keep and eye open for confirmation of time and date. Join us for  a harvest gathering,  bring and share, fire up the pizza oven, sit around the fire pit and have fun with kids activities.


Grow wild

10593178_10202302906485938_8824817254722291747_nWe have had a series of grow wild craft workshop over the summer. Irene started the season with creating a colourful wall mural to cover the breeze block wall that backs the kitchen seating area. She followed this last week with a two day workshop making up-cycled insects that are decorating the garden, rambling over walls, crawling up plants and flying around our heads.

It might have been wet but there were still some creatures hatching. Here our regular volunteer Brian is busy helping one emerge.
















Meanwhile Terri has been working on the final fixings for the mosaic tiled wall. This workshop was held over a busy 2 days with 20 people attending on Monday to cut and fix tiles to spell out ‘Community garden’. Local youngsters went home inspired to draw designs of insect that were then made from tiles the next day to decorate each corner of the wall. We will be fixing the tiled panel to the wall behind the sink to give a washable hygienic surface in the kitchen area.

As a continuation of our Grow wild season we will be creating a wildlife area to increase the beneficial insects needed to protect all the wonderful bounty of fruit and vegetables from pests. Work will start soon on a viewing platform that will over look this area. On Monday 29th we will be fitting the pond liner and planting native plants. If anyone has any native plants that they can donate to the garden or if you wish to help form this new area please come and get involved or contact the Cultivate team. We will also need old carpets or sand as a liner underneath the pond liner to protect it from sharp stones. Donations gratefully received.

There are still some micro allotments available and we are after donations of wood to help make the raised bed to reduce barriers and encourage people to get growing. Planks either 1.2m or 2m long are needed please contact the team if you can help. On 11th October we are running a National botanic gardens one day gardening course ‘ Veg for autumn sowing’ Only £5 and perfect to get you started. For those wanting a bit more you can join courses through WEA Cymru starting 25th and 26th September in ‘Essential Gardening skills’ for beginners or ‘Level 2 gardening’ for those more experienced and wanting a deeper understanding.

The next couple of Mondays in the garden volunteers and micro allotment holders will be sorting out the water collection system…… better late than never, it will be ready for the next dry spell….

We will also be mulching perennial beds and preparing ground for planting.



Get in! Day

Here is a video of Cwm Harry’s ‘Get In’ Open Day which was held on Wednesday, 23rd of October, 2013. Young local people were invited to attend the Cwm Harry Pen Dinas Community Garden to learn more about the local food economy, self-sustainability and more. The day was a great success and this video demonstrates the learning outcomes.

Much thanks to Gary Mitchell, Anne Marie Pope, Kerry Lane, members and volunteers of the Cwm Harry Group and of course every attendee on the special open day.

Filmed and edited by Jamez Wilson

Summer craft workshop

Grow wild-summer craftsAs part of our summer season of Grow Wild workshops we have Terri Sweeney this coming Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th August, in Llani community food garden.Come and get involved making a mosaic tiled mural for the kitchen wall. Hang out in the sun and discuss future potential for this exciting new space. To keep younger children entertained and anyone else, we will be making wild-flower seed bombs to take home.

Please tell your friends and anyone who may be interested, families, artists, cubs, brownies, scouts etc.. Bring your own lunch. This FREE summer crafty workshop for all, is between 10am – 3pm on both days.

Then this will be followed by Insect sculptures on the 26th and 27th August with Irene Gardiner.

Throughout the summer as part of our Grow Wild summer season we will be creating a wildlife area.  Following the design produced by level 2 gardening students from ‘WEA Cymru Llanidloes’, the area will include a pond, planting, viewing platform and fencing. We are looking for donations of native plants, building materials, peoples time and skills. Please contact the Cultivate’s ‘Get Growing‘ team if you can help. Or visit us in Llanidloes on a Monday 10am – 4pm.

For anyone interested in Getting Growing we still have some micro allotment spaces left and we have a selection of growing courses coming up. From taster half and one day practical courses to regular weekly lessons.

25.9. 14 – Level 2 gardening 22 wks each Thurs 9.30- 3pm. – Llanidloes

26.9.14 – Essential gardening 12 wks each Friday 9.30 – 12 – Llanidloes

26.9.14 – Essential gardening 12 wks each Friday 1- 3.30pm – Newtown

11.10.14- Extend your growing season 10am- 1pm – Llanidloes

3.11.14 – Purely practical – overwintering crops 10am-1pm Llanidloes

9.1.14 – Garden design – design your own garden. 12 wks Friday Morning

20.2.14 – Organic gardening, 20 wks Friday afternoons

21.2.14 – Extend your growing season 10am- 1pm – Llanidloes

21.3.14 – Back garden edibles 9.30 – 1pm – Llanidloes

30.5.14 – Summer pruning 10am – 4.30pm – Newtown

Poster gardening courses 2014

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: http://www.cwmharryskills.org.uk/?event=introduction-to-working-with-herbs

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!

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 skills@cwmharry.org.uk

Editors Notes:

For more information, please contact Jodie Griffith on jodieg@cwmharry.org.uk 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 www.cwmharry.org.uk or www.cwmharryskills.org.uk for information about other courses and events.