To look at the thriving gardens at CAT's Visitor Centre, it is hard to imagine that 40 years ago the site was covered almost entirely with slate waste. With hard work and a lot of compost, we have been able to develop a variety of display gardens as well as our vegetable field, which supplies our restaurant with delicious organic salad.
Come and experience the atmosphere, wander among the blooms and butterflies, get inspired and pick up tips for your own garden.
Visit gardens.cat.org.uk for more information about CAT gardens, or below for an overview of the garden areas at CAT.
The Whole Home Garden
Could this be your ideal ecological garden? A 'suburban' size garden showing all the features of a productive and wildlife-friendly garden including planting for beneficial insects, composting, herbs, flower borders, soft fruit, top fruit and an ecologically managed lawn.
The Urban Garden
No soil? Our urban garden shows how to grow a range of the tastiest and freshest veg, fruit and herbs in pots, right outside your door - just where you need them.
A favourite space when it's raining, our tunnel is green and jungly in summer with figs, grapes, peaches, squashes and peppers. Salads are grown here all year round providing some good green stuff in the deepest depths of winter.
The Mole Hole
Megan the Mole welcomes you underground where you can meet all those critters who look after the soil.
The Soil Display
It ain't just dirt. See the magical effects of compost. Learn how we built up our soil from slate waste into fertile, thriving beds. The green manure bed shows some of examples of plants you can grow to improve your garden fertility. The mulch and ground cover bed shows how to protect your soil from sun and wind.
The Lawns and Borders
Sit among the flowers, enjoy the views..... This area includes our edible bed, a long border of pretty, but also edible plants.
The Forest Garden
A truly ecological way of growing food. In a forest garden, the plants grow under and over, in and among each other. It is designed so that the plants help each other grow - with trees providing shade to shade-lovers, ground covers suppressing the weeds, and nitrogen fixing plants increasing the fertility. It has the same multilayered structure as a woodland, but all the plants are edible or useful. Check out our string plant and our creeping raspberry.
The Compost Display
Ah, so many methods, so many types of bin; a panacea of composting opportunity. Which type will be for you?
The Hobby Allotment
An allotment style vegetable paradise, with lush and large organic veg, surrounded with colourful flowers for beneficial insects. Learn how the friendly insects help control the pests and discover more about wild and honey bees in our beautiful bee house.
The Garden Steps
Wander down the garden steps for a view across the vegetable field, where salad for staff and visitors is grown. A summertime mass of colour, packed full of veg, but with plenty of flowers too. They earn their keep by attracting beneficial insects, but as Head Gardener Roger McLennan says "they're food for the soul". Have a look at our organic gardening courses, too.
This stretch of woodland has is an interesting mix of native and non-native trees. Some areas are coppiced whilst others are left to naturally regenerate. We are blessed with dormice and do regular surveys in this area.
The site is blessed with some rarities such as lesser-horseshoe bats, dormice, yellowhammers and much more. In the summer look out for our healthy population of dragonflies and butterflies, and marvel at the diversity and rarity of mosses and lichens that favour the conditions of the old quarry. You can study nature at CAT in one of our short courses.
Beautiful flowers grow in our solar dome glasshouse, where you can also discover more about the world's carbon footprint and climate change.
Read more about CAT's Organic Gardens at http://gardens.cat.org.uk
Coming up! Grand opening of CAT's Quarry Trail - 24th October. More details coming soon...