Welcome to our Gardening Club Rhydlewis and District Gardening Club has been around since the time of Adam and Eve. In fact, it is believed that one of our members planted and tended the very apple tree that gave rise to the pair being expelled from the garden!!

Whether this urban myth is true or not, the club is here to encourage, improve and extend the members' knowledge of all branches of horticulture. It is open to everyone and new members are all always welcome to come along.

Our activities during the year include a varied programme of talks and social events, summer garden visits, a plant sale, social gatherings/bbq and an annual open show in August.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

At One with Nature – Sue Parker and Pat O'Reilly of First Nature, consider the role of gardening in nature conservation

At One with Nature
Sue Parker and Pat O’Reilly, 
First Nature,  
Fig1s –
The Snapdragon, Antirrhinum majus
– tailor made for bees. 
consider the role of gardening in nature conservation
The role of gardening and gardeners in plant conservation is well known: botanical gardens around the world play a vital part in protecting endangered plants from extinction. This is a far cry from their beginnings, when they were developed mainly to house and propagate plants such as tea, tobacco and palms for their cash-crop value. Today, these gardens focus more on research and education, and as attractions that delight and inspire millions of visitors every year.
Fig2s –
A wildlife garden managed for insects –
 early springtime
Our own much smaller-scale gardening efforts may not attract massive grants from important organisations charged with attempting to reverse the mass extinction of plants and animals, but we can still play an important role in the conservation of wildlife. If you were to add up the total amount of land occupied by gardens across Wales, it would easily dwarf even the collective size of our botanical gardens and probably bear comparison with some of our national parks and nature reserves. 
How can we capitalise on this resource for the benefit of birds, insects and other wild animals? So-called 'wild' gardens may appeal to those who see this as an ecologically sound justification for avoiding the hard work needed to create a more formal backdrop to our homes. Others may simply see as a complete anathema gardens left in the busy hands of Mother Nature as overrun with 'weeds' whose hobbies include ripping clothing and flesh.  In reality, small changes to what we grow (and where) can determine whether or not our gardens are wildlife friendly.
Fig3s –
A wildlife garden managed for insects –
high summer
Gardens that reflect the surrounding vegetation have another advantage. They provide corridors through which wildlife can more easily migrate if their homes in the wild are damaged or destroyed either by natural disaster or by industrial zones, houses and other developments built with little or no regard for the ecological heritage of the area.
Growing native plants that have long-established relationships with Wales’s landscape and the creatures that live here is one of the surest routes to success, both for the gardener and for the local wildlife. This is true whether we grow plants for their beauty or their food value. Looking at the garden as a whole (thinking of it in ecosystem terms) rather than as a series of separate beds, borders and lawn areas can help, too. Putting plants in positions where they would thrive in the wild means that not only are they more likely to do well but also that they may quickly form mutually beneficial relationships with insects and other creatures that favour the same habitats. Such a garden becomes part of the complex web of biological relationships that occur in nature. 
Fig4s –
The Peacock Butterfly,  Inachis io –
 a lovely free late summer garden ornament
 if you get the plants right.
Large expanses of chemically-managed lawns devoid of trees, plants and other features benefit very few wildlife species; and, with drought becoming an increasing problem, they are costly in terms of water resources. 
One of the most pressing conservation problems is the alarming decrease in pollinating insects. Whatever is damaging them (and the jury is still out) is sure to be harming other insects, among them our native colourful butterflies and moths. Some flowers are much more beneficial to these kinds of insects than others are, and so it is worth trying to find out which plants are the best. Fortunately there are clues all around us, and even a short walk in spring or early summer will take you past a range of plants, some of which will be buzzing with insects. 
Bees, which can see ultraviolet, are attracted to plants with purple or blue flowers. The trick is to choose those that are sturdy enough to support the bee’s weight and shaped to suit its girth. A snapdragon, for instance, has a ready-made platform that leads the bee down a funnel to where it finds nectar - its reward for helping with pollination. Most butterflies like pink and yellow flowers, but they dislike windy and shady places. Plants chosen to support butterflies should therefore be grown in sheltered sunny spots, and preferably in big clumps rather than individual specimens. Planning for a succession of flowers that insects like will ensure that they have food throughout the year. 

Fig5s – 
The Orange-tip Butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines –
 most visible in springtime
 when the Cuckoo Flowers Cardamine pratensis are blooming.

Of course, if you can talk your neighbours into growing wildlife-friendly plants too, the wildlife will have an even bigger area in which to hunt for food without being exposed to predators as they travel from one small food bank to another.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Alex Hales - Christmas decorations from your garden

We were most fortunate to have Alex Hales. from No 21, the florists in Aberystwyth, who came to demonstrate how to use greenery and late flowers to create fabulous, traditional christmas deorations from your gaden. 
We learnt how to make a simple table decoration just using a flowerpot and a few bits of greenery from the garden, and a very impressive table decoration which included roses. Watching Alex make his Christmas wreath was a treat; again all you need is some florists wire (moss wire), clippings of greenery, berries and a nice, red bow, plus whichever fir cones and other natural decorations you choose. It looked a lot easier than I imagine it really was! 

The tiny milk bottles Alex uses in this larger decoration can be purchased from his shop as can dried apple decorations, orange slices and whole dried oranges, cinnamon sticks etc.                              

Thank you Alex, I'm sure a lot of us will be inspired this year, and those who felt it was all a bit above their skill level can see what Alex has to offer at http.www.no21flowers.co.uk

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rhydlewis Gardening Club Anual Produce Show

At three pm on the afternoon of Tuesday the 25th August, Rhylewis Village Hall looked like this; ready and willing to be transformed. 

Then contributors began to arrive, and the exhibits just kept coming!  

LIlies in Class 35, a vase of cut garden flowers

Floral Class 31
Three Hydrageas Heads

Fantastic display of Pot Plants in Bloom in Class 36
By five pm, when the judges were due to arrive, it was bursting with vegetables, fruit, flowers and homecraft goodies.

Floral Art, Class 39, A Basket of Flowers for the New Royal Baby
and Class 40, a seasonal arragement incorporating a tea cup and saucer.

A delicious-looking baking section, Classes 41, 42, 43, 44, 45
Homecraft Classes 47,48, 49,
Jams and Marmalades 

The Homecraft sections did well this year, as so did both the floral garden sections and the floral art sections, thanks to members contributions and the contributions of the new Rhydlewis Art Group. Vegetables were understandably thin on the ground (and below it); the onion sections particularly did poorly because of constant wet soil. 
Class 5, a popular one this year; Courgettes!
But a fantastic turnout, and a very enjoyable evening, which included the auction of generously donated exhibits. Miar Morgan, longstanding member, stated that it was the best Produce Show she could remember.
Congratulations to all who entered – all the exhibits made the show what it was, not just the prize-winners. However, very, very well done to the prize-winners too! The winners of the categories are as follows:
Floral Prize (most points gained in the floral classes) Jenny Archibald, Newcastle Emlyn.

Challenge Cup (most points gained in vegetable and fruit classes) Janette Sharman, Rhydlewis.

Roses Shield for class 33   Marg Fogg, Tregroes.

D & G Williams Shield (most points gained in homecraft section) Vicky Wade, Brongest.

Huge thanks to the new Show Secretary, Liz Blackler, for organizing the show, to the judges and all the volunteers.

Monday, 6 July 2015

The 2015 Rhydlewis Gardening Club Party.

A massive thank you to Carrie and Trefor Davies, who allowed us to invade their lovely garden and home. As usual, there was a wonderful spread including cold roast beef and poached salmon, and a lively atmosphere.

Hillcrest has wonderful views as well as an already mature aspect, but there are new projects afoot, which Tefor and Carrie explained as they  showed us round.

The next meeting is the Garden Visit. We meet at the gardens at 6pm.  Entrance cost is £4.00  If you're planning to come, you can make your own way to  Bro Meigan Gardens or contact Nina and Jim on 01239 851096 to lift share. Now run by Yvonne & David Gillett, Bro Meigan is near Boncath, SA37 0JE, tel 01239 841232

As always, those who wish will be carrying on afterwards, to eat at the Nag’s Head, Abercych, 01239 841200. If you would like to do so, and have not yet put your dinner order in, please contact Nina and Jim on the number above. We need to have numbers for the meal by Friday 24th.

And in August, we have our produce show. The schedule is available from the Show Secretary, Liz Blackier, tel 01239 851851, or downloadable from this website.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Successful and Well-Attended AGM for the Rhydlewis Gardening Club

Tuesday February 24th saw more than thirty people turning up for the AGM. 

Wine and delicacies were served, and Marianne ran a quiz on bees, which linked in well with Gerald Cooper, from New Quay Honey Farm, who gave a talk on bees last year. Carrie Noakes won the prize for her bee knowledge. As member Rita Hyde said "I thought the AGM went well last night, with a good turn out...I enjoyed the bee quiz, even though I had forgotten most of the answers. The food seemed to go down well and it was nice to see everyone standing around chatting."

Quite a lot of business was done, and you can read the entire minutes by going to the link; http://rhydlewisgardeningclub.blogspot.co.uk/p/annual-general-meeting-2013.html

Please note the new membership fee, and please, if you weren't at the meeting, contact Marianne to pay your subs as soon as possible.

The new programme was handed out, but you can download it by going to http://rhydlewisgardeningclub.blogspot.co.uk/p/programme-of-events.html
make a cake from your courgettes

A great idea from Liz Blackler, our new Show Secretary, was brought into action. She will collate any recipies you have that you use to cope with gluts of produce at harvest time. Preserves, cakes, dishes – just sort them out and give them to Liz. She will have them available at meetings, especially around harvest time, to share.

Don't forget the Spring Show is the next event, get ready with your six tulips, and contact Liz Blackler, if you don't already have your show schedule. liz_blackler@hotmail.com

Just one more thing; don't forget that we are constricted to a two hour slot in the village hall, and we ask you to arrive promptly for meetings; the hall will be open from 7pm to facilitate a prompt start at 7.30pm