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.
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.
“The recent glorious weather we have all been enjoying has turned thoughts to outdoors and the garden.
“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. Maesnewydd forms part of the wider Learning Curve service that gives adults with learning disabilities access to training and employment.
"As well as working in a friendly, professional environment that offers a great service to residents, the garden centre is allowing life skills and confidence to bloom."
Find out more by visiting the centre during opening hours or call 01685 872446.
If you are spending time in the garden this week, don't forget you can recycle your garden waste and our Community Recycling Centres are open if you need to dispose of old greenhouse and shed panels, broken garden furniture and the like.
Learning Curve also has a fantastic venue in Taff Ely. The Talbot Green Coffee and Craft Shop is open five days a week and serves up a range of treats, including breakfasts, soups, panninis, baguettes, a range of delicious coffees. It also has an associated home-made craft shop where you can pick up a bargain. Find out more about Talbot Green Coffee and Craft Shop.