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Members of U3A are all welcome to join the activities of  the groups.  Contact details of leaders are given in the Programme of Events.

This Gardening Group was started in May 2009 with the intention of visiting members and public gardens and discussing relevant topics.

Typical topics discussed are pros and cons of organic gardening, pest and weed control techniques, climate change, gardening for the credit crunch, etc.

Other discussion topics will be wine making, and techniques, such as bottling, freezing, etc that are successful for dealing with excess produce.

At each meeting members describe their current activities in the garden and discuss plants being grown, pests encountered, techniques and supplies used, and their successes and failures.

Members also share seeds, cuttings and coordinate the purchase of seeds and plants.

9th May was the date of the monthly meeting of this group.  It was held at Anne's in Tregynon with only 4 persons attending - Jackie being in hospital awaiting an operation and Judi on holiday. Irene has now left the group, because of her move back to Shropshire.

Anne gave a short talk on the pruning of fruit trees and shrubs and also read out a list of jobs to do in the garden  this month.  As with all our meetings, the conversations were varied and lively - discussions on types of vegetables grown by members, composting and successes and failures in the flower garden.

After tea and cake the group toured Anne's garden - lots of colour from azaleas,rhodos, bluebells, cammasias and other herbacous plants.

The June meeting (organised by Judi) will be replaced by a visit at 10.30 on 20th to Little House, Llandinam - a little gem of a garden set out by a true plantswoman.  This visit was advertised at the last general meeting of the U3A.  It will be announced  again in June and opened to members.

The April meeting was on the 4th  at the home of Paul West.

Attending: Anne Allen  Lynn Arthur  Judi Deakin  Nick Platt  Anna Pugh

Paul West

The meeting began with a discussion about a group leader.  As no-one volunteered Anne suggested that we meet at a different member's home each month and that member take the meeting.  This was carried.

It was decided that we continue to meet on the 2nd Monday of each month, and for 3 summer months,  to replace the meetings with visits to local gardens.  Judi volunteered to arrange these visits.  Car sharing would take place.If the various garden owners required  a minimum number then the visits would be open to other members of Newtown  U3A. An appeal for more members would be made at the next general meeting.

Paul read out a list of jobs to do in the garden this month  such as putting in early potatoes, sowing annuals, dividing perennials etc. weeding and mulching borders.  

We chatted about our own gardens and how advanced or behind we were - the difficult weather - hot by day, freezing by night - making it  a full-time job caring for our seedlings

We had a tea and cake break and then were shown around Paul's garden.  He moved to his present address about 2 1/2 years ago.   He inherited a greenhouse, many water butts, raised beds of shrubs and herbaceous plants and a large vegetable plot containing raised beds and a rabbit proof fence.

Paul's main interest is growing vegetables and this was very obvious from the quantity and variety  he has in the garden already.  He is a great believer in reusing as much as possible - all spent compost is sieved and added to leafmold  or his own garden compost (he has 2 large bays in the corner of his plot where he composts all his household waste, together with cardboard  and any odd scraps of paper and packaging).  He even uses the wood chips from old garden paths which rot down over the years forming a lovely friable mixture suitable for growing seedlings or potting on.

A very enjoyable visit - a textbook lesson in growing veg!!

The November meeting was at Judi's house with 7 members present.   The new member, Jackie, described her garden  and her gardening interests.  Judi then talked us through jobs for the month and there was a lot of talk about squirrels, rats and moles. We also discussed the phasing out of compast containing peat.  Derwen garden centre now sell  2 types on peat-free compost in bulk. One is Sylvagrow Multipurpose made from a blen of wood fibre and coir.  The other is Dalefoot Wool compost made from organic wool and bracken.  This peat-free compost is high in nutrients and potash so the need for feeding is reduced. 

The meeting ended with a tour of Judi's garden.

The Garden Group meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at the home of one of its members. The last meeting was at 10 a.m. on 11th October at my home - Anne Allen- in Tregynon.  5 members attended.

Each member spoke about the successes and failures in their garden throughout this year.  Some, especially Paul  whose garden was visited in September, have had no failures but bumper crops of veg.

I then read out a list of 'Jobs to do in October' - just to keep us on the straight and narrow!

We stopped for tea and cakes and then walked around my garden.  Many of my trees and shrubs are showing their spectacular autumn foliage -my Cercidiphyllum tree with its dainty butter yellow leaves, Euonymus - of which I have several, all with fiery red leaves and  herbaceous plants such as Michaelmas daisies in purples and white, crocosmias and the bright gold daisies, Rudbeckia all make vivid splashes of colour throughout the garden.  See photos below. 


Since we are not currently meeting but have time and great weather to get our gardens in shape we thought it would be good to share sphotos of some of members' gardens.

anna1   anna2
Anna's garden

irene1  irene2
Irene's garden

mike2  mike3
Mike's garden

paul1   paul2
Paul's garden Cherry blossom                                                                                   Orange tip butterfly

This is one of our group visits in the good old days, before social distancing.  We look forward to group visits again.


The March meeting was at Anne's house, Tregynon, and started with a slide show of photos of plants in Annes's garden, most of them taken in summer/autumn .  We then did our usual tasks for the month and had some lively discussion about when to sow seeds.  A few items for the diary:

1st and 2nd May the Newtown Garden Club will hold a plant sale at the Newtown Market Hall.

On Sunday 19th April the Shropshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society will hold a Spring Fair at the Baystock Hill Memorial Hall , SY3 0DR.

The December meeting was the non-Christmas get together at Judi's house. Judi talked about Charles Dowding and his approach to Organic Gardening.  He has adopted a no dig approach and uses cardboard and compost to suppress weeds and maintain soil condition and fertility.  He also uses double cropping by the use of fleece and polytunnels. With this approach and about half an acre of land he achieves £20000 worth of veg sales a year. More details can be found on his web site at https://charlesdowding.co.uk/
Judi also showed us a slide show entitled Joys of Winter with pictures taken during the winter months in her garden and elesewhere.
The meeting finished with a lunch provided by Judi with contributions from other members including Nick's homemade wine. We welcomed new member Paul and were impressed by Irene's floral display.


The November meeting at Jackie's consisted of a demonstration by Sheena of methods of propagation.  Sheena brought samples of various shrubs and plants and demonstrated the correct way of taking cuttings, root, stem, leaf, hardwood, depending on the type of plant.  We all took cuttings away to try for ourselves at home.  Sheena also brought a selection of the many books she has on gardening and plants.  Jackie provided refreshments as usual.  

Notes on Propagation by Sheena:

1. Herbaceous perennials
Most are easily propagated by division in Autumn or Spring.  Some, those with fleshy or roots or rhizomes, can be propagated by root cuttings in the Autumn and Winter eg: Acanthus, Anemone japonica, Crambe , Dicentra,  Eryngium,  Hemerocallis , Papaver orientalis,  Phlox, Primula, Verbascum.

Prepare cuttings 2-3cm in length inserting them right side up, with tip level with surface of the compost, in gritty compost or vermiculite ,1- 2cm or so apart. Label and put in a frame or sheltered spot. Water in then leave over Winter, watering sparingly, but making sure they do not dry out if under glass. When shoots appear and are growing strongly, feed, then pot up only when well grown. Plant out the following spring.

Semi- mature cuttings can be taken from perennials that remain green above ground in Winter eg: Achillea, Artemisia, Dianthus, Geranium, Hyssop, Iberis, Linum, Veronica

Take cuttings 5-10cm long from the base of the plants in September. Insert in a suitable gritty compost. Place under glass. Pot up when growing strongly in spring.

Basal cuttings, ideally with a bit of root attached, can be carefully removed from the plant stool in spring and potted up individually or in groups in gritty compost.

2.  Deciduous shrubs
Many well- known favourite shrubs can be propagated easily by taking hardwood cuttings at the end of October/early November eg: Buddleia, Caryopteris, Ceonothus, Forsythia, Kerria, Philadelphus, Photinia, Rhododendron, Rosa, Spiraea, Sambucus,Viburnum , Weigelia.

Some trees can also be propagated in this way: eg Acer, Eucryphia, Prunus, Salix.

Evergreen hardwood shrub cuttings
eg Aucuba, Berberis, Box, Garrya, Ilex, Myrtle, Lavandula, Skimmia, Sage, Viburnum.

Take cuttings either in late Autumn or early Spring. Select strong shoots. Trim just below a node. Several cuttings can be taken from a single shoot. Trim any large leaves by half to reduce loss of moisture. Insert in gritty compost and treat in the same way as deciduous cuttings. Spring cuttings will respond very well with bottom heat and will form strong plants very quickly. Pot on as soon as they are growing strongly and plant out in autumn or the following Spring.

Take heel or stem cuttings 10-15cm in length in late summer/early Autumn. Strip the lower foliage and insert in pots of gritty compost. Water and place in aframe.

LayeringCan be successful with many shrubs and trees eg: Chaenomeles, Cotinus, Daphne, Dianthus, Euonymus, Lonicera, Rhododendron, Wisteria.

Take a low supple branch in Autumn, Winter or early spring. Strip a section of bark about 1cm long or using a sharp instrument make a cut through 1/3 through the stem. Pin the stem into the ground with a wire peg, adding in a mixture of peat and grit around the wound. Mark with a stick. Leave for at least a year, sometimes two then sever the layer from the parent plant and then after a further 4-6 weeks lift carefully and replant in final place.

The meeting in September was at Jackie's and was taken up by a very interesting talk by Sheena on propagating.  Sheena had brought samples of a number of different shrubs and showed us how to take cuttings of the various types of plants and what to do with them to ensure succeful propagation.  These included shoot, root, leaf and hardwood cuttings.  Most of the members took away samples to try in their own gardens.  Sheena also brought a selection of her extensive collection of gardening books.
We also discussed future meetings and agreed some of the dates.

In August we went to Judi's and spent most of the meeting digging through her collection of HPS seeds due to be dumped if not wanted.  Most of the members present found a number of promising prospects to try.  Judi explained how the HPS seed collection and distribution works.  After tea and cakes we explored Judi's garden which she admits is a work in progress but certainly looks very different from when she first moved into the property.  We also discussed future meetings and activities, see side panel for details.

In July we went to Bont Dolgadfan to visit Sheena's 'new' house and garden. First we visited another garden, the Old Vicarage, in the village, arranged by Sheena, and this was a lovely, established garden that the owners have been working on for fourty years.  And it shows, there is lots of variety, mature trees, ponds, terracing and even productive fruit and veg production.  Everything has been done to encourage wildlife.  We spent a couple of hours there being shown around by the owners.
We then went to Sheena's and had tea and delicious cakes while Sheena showed us slides of scented plants.  We then toured her garden and she would be the first to admit that it is a work in progress.  Apart from the borders around the house most of the land consists of a steep sided dingle with a small stream running down it.  We look forward to a return visit, probably in a few years time to see progress made.


The June meeting was a combined one with the Walking Group to Hurdley Hall gardens then Roundton Hill for the walkers. This is our third visit to Hurdley and each time we are impressed by the gardens and the changes that take place.  We particularly love the borders, the orchards, ponds, magnificent wildflower meadow and the veg plot.  As on previous occasions we were also impressed by the quality of the home made cakes and scones.

garden view

The May meeting was a visit to two very different gardens near Shrewsbury. The first was to Avocet which is a small garden divided into many different areas of interest.  The whole garden is planned to encourage wildlife of all sorts with bee, bird and insect homes scattered throut.  A very interesting and pleasant place to visit.  We went from there to Bowbrook Allotments which is a large community allotment with all the plots well kept and productive.  The areas around the site feature different aspects such as wild meadows, willows to aid solve water problems and a pond. Another very interesting place to visit, not surprisingly there is a waiting list for plots.  Thanks to the owners of both properties and to Judi for organising the day.


The meeting in May at Anne's started with a slide show of various gardens, including her own, Powis Castle, Portmeirion and others.  We talked about things to do in the garden this month, a busy month of seed sowing and preparation.  Judi told us about the Shropshire Hardy Plant Society's Spring Plant Fair, to be held at the Bayston Hill Memorial Hall, Sunday 14th April, 12.00-15.00. Non members welcome.

The meeting in March was at Mike's and was well attended. Mike showed pictures from a recent trip to Madeira which is a very lush island with a number of excellent formal gardens.  We also had a short quiz which proved to be too easy for these experienced gardeners.  Then, after a short review of activities in the garden for this month, we discussed possible garden visits for the summer.

The February meeting at Nick's mainly concentrated on plans for planting over the next couple of months.  We also taked about possible visits including Broadheath House, Presteigne and the Dower House, Shropshire.  The group also had a tour around the garden with very little happening at this time of year but we discussed possible pruning needed to shrubs and fruit trees.

Meetings normally held:
Second Monday of month starting at 10 am.

The group will pay a visit to 
Little House, Llandinam on Monday 20th at 10.30am. Car sharing where possible.       

Links: Welshpool U3A       The Virtual U3A (vU3a)