Garden visits is a (new) blog series where I visit gardens, then blog about them!
On our holidays we visited the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth Wales.
There are several allotments and polytunnels at CAT, and they gave me serious garden envy.
Before you enter the Big Polytunnel there are some experimental raised beds to check out. The round bed demonstrates different mulches and ground covers, from slate and plastic sheeting to oregano, wild strawberries and periwinkle. I love the cute little pond in the middle!
The Big Polytunnel is amazing, I really want a polytunnel but I don't have a big enough garden. I would totally put one in the front garden, but sadly Joe isn't down with that. The polytunnel at CAT has beautiful flowers, grapes, figs lots of crops and a pond. It's lovely to hang out for a while and poke about, it's so big there's lots of room to wander round and it has natural ventilation from the slate beds below, so it's not too sticky and hot.
There are two allotments on site, the smaller of the two being the Whole Home Garden (part of an example of an eco friendly home).
The allotment is surrounded by these espaliered fruit trees and currant bushes.
There are lots of raised beds, as well as some areas with herbs and trees and flowers. I think I could fit a little hoop tunnel like the one in this photo, over my front garden raised bed - it's not a polytunnel but it'll do a similar kind of job.
I really love these cobweb plant supports.
The conservatory of the Whole Home really inspired me to make the most of our conservatory. I won't be growing a grape vine in there (not this year at least!) but I can definitely make room to grow more peppers and to try growing tomatoes in there this year. I'd like some kind of citrus tree too.
The second allotment is a huge showcase of lots of organic growing methods. Can I please draw your attention to the size of those leeks!
The allotment is fenced off by a living willow archway, fence and tunnel!
There are little details everywhere at CAT that show love and care for wildlife. Piles of sticks are left all over the place for critters to live in, but this is a pretty impressive bug house with a herb planter on top.
Even the walls have insect habitat built in.
If you have a spare bath hanging around you could always turn it into a raised bed! See the planting in the back bed, it's all good for pollinators and I was excited to see crimson clover because that's something I'm growing this year.
The nice man in the Small Polytunnel (so called by the CAT staff, but it seemed a very large polytunnel to me!) let me have a wander through as well, although it was roasting hot in there so I didn't linger for much of a chat. Look at all those little plants waiting to go out, there were so many courgettes and squashes and peppers, and so many tomatoes all the way down the middle. I told you, serious polytunnel envy.
I went away from my visit to CAT totally inspired and empowered (and dreaming of winning the lottery and being able to have a much bigger garden!). There's also a forest garden at CAT, but I'll show you that another time.
Have you been to CAT? What did you think?