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 of Anglesey


Friday 9th – Sunday 11th November 2012



Friday 9th  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  ‘Bring Life to your Soil’ by Paul Lowe from Symbio, The Environmental Bio Technology Company.  It is said we know more about the stars than we do about our soils.  Paul Lowe is technical adviser in micro biology, specialising in healthy soils and beneficial soil biology, he has been working with soil biology for over 20 years as an agronomist in sports turf. He now specialises in ‘the soil food web’ Compost Tea, organic growing and sustainable management, writing regular articles and conducting many talks.

He has a light hearted yet educational slant on the soil and the microbes that live in our growing medium. Healthy soil is a living, biologically diverse environment that recycles nutrients, captures carbon, fights disease and so on. All to create the food we eat, the plants we grow and natural environment we enjoy. Intense agriculture and horticulture has come to rely on inorganic salt based fertilisers, water and chemical pesticides to stimulate plant growth and disease control.

Organic growing is more popular today than ever before, but fertilisers are not cheap, many pesticides are banned and productivity of compromised soils is declining.  Paul will talk about the fascinating roles of soil microbes, how different vegetables have a different symbiotic relationship with microbes and how you can encourage more life to your soils and how organic growing benefits from nature.


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 10th  November


8.00 –  9.00  Cooked Breakfast


9.00 – 10.15   ‘Growing Vegetables Under Straw including Cauliflowers’ by David Metcalfe from Nelson Lancashire.  David is well known to all exhibitors of onions and in particular Leeks being the breeder of both the Pendle and Pendle Improved.  The Pendle Improved is certainly winning at the highest level now and is fast becoming more popular than the Welsh Seedling. David however is not so well known perhaps for his cauliflowers but he did win the National Vegetable Society Championship class last year Llangollen with a fantastic set of three. David grows a number of vegetables very successfully under straw, both indoors and outside. Part of the success stems from using it as a mulch which not only conserves moisture but also helps to prevent weeds developing. The talk will be supplemented with slides.


10.15 – 10.30  Question and Answer session

10.30 – 10.45  Coffee / Tea Break


10.45 – 12.00  ‘Growing Vegetables for the Millennium Class’ by Mark Hall, Wellington, Telford.   Mark is Grounds Manager at Harper Adams University College Newport  Salop. Mark is one of the longest reigning executive member of the National Vegetable Society and is currently the Vice Chairman of the midland Branch.  He has served many positions over the years within the Society for which he has been awarded the Societies highest honour, the Gold Medal.

The Millennium Class was created with a view of having a collection of five kinds of vegetables, four of each kind, that don’t require artificial lights or heat to grow them.  The requirements at the National are as follows – Potatoes: white or coloured; Carrots: stump rooted; Beetroot: globe; Tomatoes; Onions: each onion must not exceed 250 grams. Mark has won this class on more than one occasion and he will show his own method of growing each of the cultivars.


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  ‘Growing Vegetables for the Table at Cilgwyn Lodge Llangadog Carmarthenshire’ by Keith Brown. –  As a boy growing up in the post war years in rural Gloucestershire, from a very early age Keith fell in love with plants and the countryside. His father, no natural gardener, grew vegetables of necessity, and by the age of 6  he remembers being given a patch in which to grow his own. His first successes were with lettuces, radishes and strawberries. That thrill of growing plants has never left him, (Gertrude Jekyll once remarked that “the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies”) and now nearly 60 years later and in retirement he is even more passionate about plants and gardening. Over the years he has substantially extended the range of plants he grows to encompass hardy and tender plants, displayed in large colour themed borders within his one acre plot – and of course his beloved vegetables.


Keith will give an overview of growing vegetables from the perspective of a non – shower grower! How growing vegetables fits into his garden year, the yearly sowing  and planting calendar /summary of key stages throughout the year. Size of his plot, aspect, soil and planting regimes. Range of vegetables grown, favourite varieties and those which perform well in his garden and many more. Keith truly has an amazing garden that is in the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) for which, together with his wife, he has raised nearly £20,000. You can check his garden out if you visit www.cilgwynlodge.co.uk


15.30 – 15.45  Question and Answer session.


15.45 – 16.00  Coffee / Tea Break


16.00 – 17.15  ‘How to grow a Giant Marrow and other Vegetables’ by Kevin Fortey from Cwmbran, Torfaen.  Kevin has grown the second largest marrow in the World weighing in at an incredible 12 stone.  He was also the National winner in the grand final of the Great British Village Show held at ‘Highgrove’ with a marrow weighing 110lbs.  Kevin as a young lad followed his dad all round the giant vegetable shows starting off at the Mill Tavern in Cwmbran.  He was soon hooked on growing vegetables and his Dad gave him the means to carry on by giving him his own plot.


Kevin will give his talk through the medium of Power Point cover the whole spectrum of growing from seed germination (which can often be tricky with these giant specimens) how to pollinate them as well as lots of other useful tips. Guidance on how to grow other vegetables will also be given


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 – 20.45  ‘Growing Long Beetroot for the Show bench’  by Jim Thompson from Undy, Caldicott 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.  Jim has converted this garden to his own specialist needs where he grows a range of vegetables. One vegetable that he has excelled at over the past few years has been the longest beetroot, not the easiest of vegetables to grow and quite rightly up graded to 20 points a few years ago by the RHS.


Jim has won the National Championships 3 times and the Welsh Championships on many other occasions. Jim will discuss how he has managed to cross the old Long Black Beet with Cheltenham Green Top, a cross that has proven to be very successful.  His talk, through the medium of Power Point, will cover sowing times as well as his own special mix. To complete the talk Jim will give a resume of the Parsnip trial he has been conducting for me this year where 17 new varieties were grown. It should make interesting viewing.


20.45 – 21.00  Question and Answer session.

21.00 – For the next hour or so as you will be entertained by the singer Chris Mitchell from Holyhead.


Sunday 11th  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 Long Carrots for Exhibition’ by Ian Stocks from Dunipace in Scotland.  Ian is a retired Fire Service Officer (2010) who had 34 years service, culminating in being awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal in the 2009 New Years Honours List.  Ian has been growing for exhibition for over 25 years and is currently the Treasurer of the Scottish Branch of the NVS and a member of the National Executive Committee.

Over the last 5 years he has concentrated on  carrots, both long and stump winning the long carrots at the Scottish Branch for 4 consecutive years 2008 -2011. Ian also was 2nd in the National Championships in 2010 in the stumps class and won the same class at Llangollen in 2011. Ian will talk us through how he grows his long carrots from the preparation required and seed sowing, through to the mix he uses and finally to staging them on the bench.

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*


2013 Seminar will be from the 8th to the 10th November.


For further information please ring on 01248 714 851 or email

Medwyn Williams.


Growing Parsnips

25th July 2007 I am often asked what is the best method of growing both long carrots and parsnips for the show

Read More »


  1. I would be grateful for more information on the Masterclass, with regard to availability and cost.
    Many thanks in anticipation.
    Alun Edwards

    1. Dear Alun,
      Please let me have your full postal address and I will send you the full details.my email is – medwyn@whh.2fb.myftpupload.com

  2. Please advise me of cost and availabilty for the Llanberis Masterclass. Regards Paul

    1. Hi Paul, There is room at the moment. The cost of the whole weekend is £210.00. If you are interested , please ring me on 01248 714 851.

  3. You can certainly attend on a daily basis, please ring me on 01248 714 851 or on my mobile 07957 884 384

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