Gavin and Maxine work at the centre
It's National Gardening Week - and green-fingered residents are being invited to enjoy a visit to the blooming marvellous Learning Curve Garden Centre and Coffee Shop in Maesnewydd, Aberdare.
If you need blooms to add colour to your borders, perennials for your pots or shrubs to create horticultural features, look no further than the innovative Rhondda Cynon Taf Council venue, which is showcased in the image gallery below.
As well as being a thriving and attractive garden centre with an associated gift shop and café, Maesnewydd also offers adults with learning difficulties essential work experience, training and development opportunities.
Open from 9am to 3.30pm, five days a week, the centre invites you to browse through its extensive range of plants, shrubs, trees and seeds. There are always experts on hand to help with all aspects of gardening – including what to plant and where, seed propagation and keeping your garden in tip-top condition all year round.
Once you have made your selection for the garden, you can also peruse the gift shop, which has gardening tools and accessories and a lovely range of decorative items including wind chimes, bird houses and fountains.
What better way to finish your visit than with a cuppa and a freshly-made sandwich or baguette, or a slice of cake in the coffee shop, which is open the same time as the main garden centre.
Up to 12 service users work at the venue at any one time, gaining training and experience in a range of areas including customer care, gardening and catering.
Many have gone on to secure paid employment across these sectors as a result of the important opportunities they are offered by the Council at the garden centre and the wider Learning Curve service, giving them the skills and independence they need.
Cllr Mike Forey, Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Adult Social Services, said: “It's National Gardening Week, so it is a perfect time to celebrate and improve your own outdoor space, whether that is a luscious, large lawn or a windowsill planter.
“By enjoying a visit to Maesnewydd Garden Centre, you can pick up all you need for your garden at great prices, knowing you are supporting local services that help local people.
“As well as being able to buy lovely flowers and accessories for your garden, the staff at the centre are on hand to offer advice to make your outdoor space bloom - from the best plants to use, to how to grow your own from seeds. And, of course, the cafe with its delicious range of hot and cold drinks, cakes and refreshments is a great place to relax and take a break.
“Importantly, as well as offering a great service to residents, the garden centre is also helping many adults with learning disabilities, allowing them to secure life skills and work skills through vocational training and development.”
Find out more by visiting the centre during opening hours or call 01685 872446.
Don't forget, if you are out in the garden, or cleaning out the shed or the greenhouse, you can recycle more than you thought! Visit the Garden and Green Waste pages to find out more