Picture of Medwyn Williams

Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

Medwyns Vegetable Masterclass Weekend Friday 7th to Sunday the 9th November

Medwyn’s       of Anglesey Llanor, Old School Lane,

Llanfair PG, Anglesey, LL61 5RZ


email: medwyn@whh.2fb.myftpupload.com

Telephone/Fax: 01248-714851

My Masterclass weekend is always a huge success with a diverse programme to suit most people’s taste. Below is my introductory letter as well as the full programme and finally the booking form. Should you need any more information please don’t hesitate to contact me.





Friday 7th November – Sunday 9th November 2014

Dear Friends

This will be my 17th consecutive Masterclass Weekend for vegetable growers and I have tried to make it as interesting as possible whilst at the same time taxing our brains a little. I’m convinced it’s going to be every bit as good as all the others we have enjoyed in the past. Although very challenging and time consuming, I have enjoyed formulating every weekend over the years and some of you have attended all previous 16 weekends. Apart from learning something new about our favourite pastime, this weekend is also about meeting up with old friends as well as making new ones.

The Royal Victoria Hotel is unique for North Wales, nowhere else will you find a Hostelry amid such a spectacular part of Snowdonia, within the very heart of North Wales. It’s located between the twin lakes of Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris, surrounded by an established oak forest and positioned at the base of Snowdon within easy walking distance of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The hotel has 114 bedrooms all with a bath or shower en suite.

The cost for the whole weekend this year £220.00. per person. Should you be bringing a wife or partner, who will not be attending the lectures, the cost will be £155.00. If you intend to participate, please send a deposit of £80.00 per person with the enclosed booking form, as soon as possible, to guarantee your reservation.

Should you have any queries please don’t hesitate to give me a ring and I look forward to seeing you for another great and unique Masterclass Weekend.

Yours Sincerely


Medwyn Williams MBE AHRHS






Friday 7th – Sunday 9th November 2014



Friday 7th November

16.00 – 18.30 Arrive at The Royal Victoria Hotel to check in and relax before dinner.

18.30 – 19.50 A four course evening meal will be served (you may order wine at your table)

20.00 – 21.15 “Crops for Industrial Applications” Dr Rob Elias, Director, The BioComposites Centre, Bangor University. Dr Robert Elias has a joint degree in wood science and chemistry and studied the chemical modification of lingocellulosic fibres for his PhD at Bangor University. He has worked in industry and academia in the UK /EU and specialises in technology transfer working closely with industry to develop new processes and technologies. He is Director of the Centre and has over 20 years of experience in developing bio based technologies. His current research interest includes the development of new food packaging products, the development of bio-plastics and the closed loop economy.


A talk on how crops/plants are used for industrial applications. The BioComposites Centre was established in 1989 at Bangor University with the support of Welsh Development Agency. The creation of BC was in response to the need to develop better links between Universities and industry. This close collaboration with companies enhances the future potential commercial impact of research here in Bangor. Through this approach BC is helping Wales develop new collaborative projects with micro enterprises, SMEs and large companies. BC focuses on the utilisation, conversion and development of bio-based feedstocks as an alternative to oil based products.


This talk will explore the use of plants as a source of future feedstocks for use in the medical, personal care and industrial applications. It will explain some of the current research looking at the extraction of plant based molecules for the therapeutic treatment of Alzheimers, it will look at the extraction of herbs for essential oils/antioxidants and the extraction of natural plant waxes for replacement of petroleum based products.


Rob will give an introduction to bio-economy and will use some case examples. The use of biomass/plants in medical and industrial applications from treatments for Alzheimer to new bio based food packaging  will be discussed. This should be another interesting talk that will probably make us think a little more about the plants that are around us every day.


21.15 – 21.30 Question and Answer session.


21.30 – Time to relax after your long journey; share your gardening experiences with some of the speakers, fellow growers and exhibitors. Why not even enjoy a night cap at the bar before retiring.

Saturday 8th November


8.009.00 Cooked Breakfast

9.00 – 10.15 ‘Compost Tea’ by Gareth Cameron, Frizington, Cumbria. Gareth is a member of the National Vegetable Society and has won at National Level on more than one occasion. However a few years ago he seemed to have hit a brick wall, rather than his vegetables improving, they seemed to have taken a backward step to the extent that he wasn’t able to show any leeks or onions. In 2012 he heard about Compost Tea and started using it with the result that in 2013 he showed both leeks and onions with his onions measuring between 22 and 23 inches in circumference. Should be very interesting to hear Gareths view on this.


10.15 – 10.30 Question and Answer session

  • – 10.45 Coffee / Tea Break


10.45 – 12.00 ‘An amateurs guide to growing top fruit’ by David Allison FNVS from Ilkley, West Yorkshire. A farmers son by birth, so growing is in Davids blood. He worked on his fathers farm after leaving school  for three years, before embarking on a career in Banking for nearly 40 years. Gardening became his hobby and he joined the NVS in 1975, passed his judges exam in 1984 and became a fellow in 1986. Silver and Gold medal awards followed. David has been involved at DA, Branch and Trustee level for many years and was Instrumental in revamping the NVS members magazine, launching “Simply Vegetables” 5 years ago and editor for 4 years. David is now the new Chairman of the National Vegetable Society.


An introduction to growing fruit, mainly apples, pears, cherries and plums including; Soil, type and preparation, Budding and grafting, Rootstocks, Tree shapes, Pruning, Pests and diseases, Varieties, Uses.

12.00 – 12.15 Question and Answer session

12.15 – 14.15 A buffet lunch after which you have an opportunity to take a walk around the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hotel or perhaps a walk down to the Snowdon Mountain Railway in the village of Llanberis.


14.15 – 15.30 ‘The History and Production of Perlka over 100 years’ by Paul Corfield, Hoveton, Norwich. In 1895 two scientists Frank & Caro succeeded in binding nitrogen from the air with calcium carbide. In 1901 it became recognised as a nitrogen fertiliser and in 1908 a factory at Trostberg in Germany was built. This site continues to be the only production centre here in Europe producing this world renowned fertiliser PERLKA.

Pauls talk will describe how it is made, its uses through the last 100 years and how and why it is being used today in increasing volumes by both vegetable and arable farmers throughout the world.


Paul has recently retired from the seed company Clause Tezier and has given us a talk in the past on the growing of brassicas. This particular talk will be very interesting, particularly how beneficial Perlka is proving to be by allowing gardeners to grow brassicas on Club Root infested land.

15.30 – 15.45 Question and Answer session.

15.45 – 16.00 Coffee / Tea Break


16.00 – 17.15 ‘How to Grow a Beast’ by Ian Paton, Pennington, Lymington, Hampshire. Ian’s Beast’s are Giant Pumpkins of which Cinderella would be proud to have as her carriage! Ian has held the British Record for the heaviest Pumpkin on numerous occasions and his heaviest Pumpkin to date has been 1,502 lbs. The Current British Record is 1,520 held by Mark Baggs from Dorset, the current European record is 1,789 and the World Record is 2,032 grown by Tin Mathison from the Napa Valley California.


Ian will talk us through the growing year using a Power Point presentation from seed sowing to planting to growing techniques such as how to bend the stem around so that the pumpkin doesn’t kill itself! Ian is a great believer in compost tea and his growing techniques can also be used on a range of different plants. This is only Ian’s third talk ever with the first given to over 200 growers in Las Vegas so I’m very fortunate indeed to have such a passionate grower at my seminar. Ian is very kindly going to give away one free seed to everyone who attends his talk, the seed will be from his own giant Pumpkins so Enjoy!


17.15 – 17.30 Question and Answer session.

17.30 – 18.15 Time to relax and do your own thing before your evening meal, you may even feel the need to enjoy a drink at the bar!!


18.15 – 19.30 Time to indulge yourself in a four course evening meal. (you can order your wine at the table from the Victoria’s reasonably priced selection)

19.30 – 20. ‘Growing Cauliflowers for Exhibition by Jim Thompson, Caldecott, Gwent. Jim Thompson is certainly one of the top exhibitor of vegetables at National Level. Jim has always grown a very wide range of vegetables both on his allotment as well as on his fairly recent new garden at Caldecott. One vegetable that he has excelled at over the past few years has been Cauliflowers after he started growing them in earnest in 1990. This was on an allotment with no soil, no water but plenty of Cabbage Whites and ravenous Welsh Slugs. On top of all that he had to contend with the dreaded Club root and cabbage root fly was also endemic.


Jim has won the National Championships and the Welsh Championships on many occasions and is rarely without a cauliflower at any show. Jim will explain how he overcame the above difficulties so that Cauliflowers became the highlight of his many Collections ever since. His presentation will be through the medium of Power Point.

20.45 – 21.00 Question and Answer session.

21.00 – For the next hour or so as you will be entertained by Al Diamond, a singer from Holyhead who sang for us last year, everyone enjoyed him so much that I had to have him back.

Sunday 9th November

8.00 – 9.00 Cooked breakfast

9.00 – 9.15 Photo call, bring your camera along and take a group photo as a memento of the occasion.

9.15 – 10.45 ‘Growing Gooseberries for Show’ by Graeme Watson, Danby, Whitby. Graeme Watson is a well known grower of exhibition vegetables but few people realise that he also has a passion for growing huge Gooseberries. The talk will touch on the origins and long history of gooseberry shows dating back to the 1800s. He will mention the Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society, the varieties to grow, (you can’t make a silk purse from a sows ear!) propagation, as well as the culture for heavyweight berries. Finally the eccentricities of gooseberry showing!


Graeme is a member of Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society where the membership is £5 per annum payable before the AGM on Easter Tuesday, entitling members to exhibit at that year’s show. Graeme will bring with him cuttings of his special stock at £1 each or a bundle of 5 for £5 a bundle to include 2 yellows, 1 each of red, green and white thus giving people a chance to compete in each colour category (should they be successful in raising all their cuttings of course and Graeme will explain how to do this)


He also has a limited quantity of 1 year old potted young bushes which will cost £2.50 each

Thus anybody electing to join his Society would in effect get 5 free cuttings or 2 young bushes free of charge. All the money raised would go to the Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society funds.


Graeme is hoping that we will retain interest long enough to raise our own stock and compete a future shows. As cuttings and plants are limited, please let me know if you require any so that Graeme can bring enough with him.

10.45 – 11.00 Question and Answer session.

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee / Tea Break


11.15 – 12.30 ‘Gardeners Question time with the Speakers’. A roundup of the weekend. It doesn’t matter how well you listened to the talks, there’s always that gardening problem or question that you forgot to ask that may be still bothering you. It allows you the opportunity to ask the speakers further questions on vegetable growing that may not even be related to any subject discussed during the seminar – why not challenge them with a problem that’s been a source of worry to you for so long .

12.30 – Traditional Welsh Sunday Lunch before departing .


*Please note that the time limit allowed for each speaker will have to be adhered to but may have to vary to suit circumstances outside of my control*


A Date for your Diary – The 2015 Seminar will be held from the 6th to the 8th November.



Booking Form

The Vegetable Masterclass Weekend

Royal Victoria Hotel Llanberis November 7th – 9th 2014

Please print clearly

Title –          Forename –                                Surname –

Address –



Post code –

Home Tel –                                                         Mobile – 

Deposit enclosed of £80.00 per person (as part of the course fee of £220.00)

Please make cheques payable to Medwyns.

The full fee is to be paid approximately two weeks prior to the Seminar date on receipt of my ‘Final Payment’ letter. At this time please let me know in writing of any special dietary requirements.



Date –


Please return with your deposit of £80.00 per person to Mr Medwyn Williams MBE, Llanor, Old School Lane, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, LL61 5RZ.


Should the number of bookings be insufficient to make up a viable group for the weekend, MEDWYNS reserves the right to cancel the booking no later than a month before the commencement of the seminar, in which case a full refund will be made.




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2 thoughts on “Medwyns Vegetable Masterclass Weekend Friday 7th to Sunday the 9th November

  1. A huge thank you to Medwyn and his family for allowing myself and my two daughters to spend time with you all this afternoon, it was a fascinating educational experience for us in growing ( and tasting !) such an amazing variety of produce !
    As a student in naturopathic nutrition, home grown nutrient dence produce is of paramount importance for myself and for my family’s health, and being able to show my children how to grow vegetables and have them taste them straight out of the ground was such a delight that has given us all the motivation we needed to trying it out for ourselves !
    Thank you so much for your very generous grocery box, which we have used tonight in our tea and will be drinking in our smoothies for the rest of the week !
    Beautiful produce grown by beautiful people
    Best wishes for a successful summer harvest

    Jo , Emily and Evie Brierley

    1. Hi Jo, Lovely to meet up with you all yesterday, I’m so glad the two girls enjoyed the experience of eating raw fresh vegetables straight from the soil, you can’t beat it.

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