Based in the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park, FCSBC runs a community Plant Shop selling trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetable plants, bulbs and herbs to the public. The profit from the Shop funds projects in the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park, Clyne Gardens in Blackpill and Plantasia in Parc Tawe. We have raised around £300,000 over the past twenty years, investing in items to increase the public awareness and enjoyment of our wonderful parks. Our current project is The Wildflower and Wellbeing Garden addition to the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park. Without our volunteers none of this would have happened; you really will make a difference.
Wednesdays – Mid January until - End of November 10am – 2pm
Saturdays - April until End of September 10am – 2pm
As well as running the shop we have a large custom-built work area where we pot up, pot on and propagate plants ready for sale to an appreciative public.
In a nutshell: teamwork, enthusiasm, humour and a shared interest in and love of plants. We meet every Wednesday and Saturday from 9am onwards until mid-afternoon. No two weeks are the same as the jobs are constantly changing with the seasons. Everyone’s contribution counts.
We are a friendly non-judgemental group of about 25 people of all ages and from all walks of life. Our oldest volunteer is a sprightly 93! We welcome volunteers whatever your level and knowledge of plants. All we ask from you is a willingness to learn, commitment and a sense of humour. We are busy people giving what time we can. Incidentally we are always grateful for any help with photography, computer skills and administration of the charity.
Take a look below at some of the thoughts of our volunteers about why they volunteer.
All you need is a packed lunch, a drink and some gardening gloves. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather; extra layers in winter, layers you can shed in summer.
Come to chat with us at the polytunnel Plant Shop just inside the gate of the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park any Wednesday from February onwards.
Or send us an email using the CONTACT FORM below giving your details and we will contact you with a date to come to meet us.
If you decide to become a volunteer you will receive induction training, support and a very warm and friendly welcome. We look forward to meeting you.
2015 was a year of change for me. It brought retirement, a new house and garden and was the start of volunteering with FCSBC. Being a keen gardener I had heard good things about the Plant Shop run by the Friends. I popped along one very wet Saturday morning to see for myself what was on offer for sale and was not disappointed by the choice and quality of plants. Pam and Bernice were on ‘duty’ that day and after a long and enthusiastic chat with them, I left with a collection of shrubs and a commitment to join as a volunteer. I have never looked back. Volunteering with such a great group of people is a joy. I have made lots of new friends and have learned so much about gardening and many other subjects varying from quilting, sewing, history, literature, travel, cooking and history to name a few.
Each week brings new tasks and the opportunity to work with different people, whether it be in the poly tunnel, the outdoor shop area, the greenhouses or the wildlife garden. Lunch times are never dull, we put down tools and sit together either in the pol tunnel or weather permitting outdoors by the beautiful herbaceous border with our packed lunches. Why is it that everyone else's always looks more tasty than mine?
On the subject of food there are some fantastic bakers in the group that would not be out of place on the bake off, they bring in cakes to celebrate birthdays and other occasions and not a soggy bottom in sight. We are not the quietest bunch of people, there's always non- stop chit chat and laughter, especially during the lunch break.
This year I have joined the herb team, headed by Amiel, who started volunteering the same time as me and this has been particularly enjoyable. I have also started to have an input into plant purchasing with Beth, which is like being let loose in a sweet shop! I just love plants and each week I cannot resist purchasing a plant or two or three to help establish my new garden. Two years ago my new garden resembled a scruffy car park, with endless areas of gravel and a couple of sickly shrubs with the only wildlife being a few noisy crows and occasional squawking seagull.
Now it is full of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that have attracted bees, butterflies and other wildlife. No matter how full it gets I can always squeeze in a new irresistible plant from the shop.
I've got to carry on volunteering otherwise the profits would dip! I've been volunteering for two years and I must have been having fun because it has flown by.
I joined the Friends as a polytunnel volunteer 8 years ago, after calling in to buy plants on a regular basis. The volunteers realised that I had a great interest in Fuchsias growing over 50 different varieties and ask me if I wished to join the team and pass on my knowledge to our customers. I love being front of house selling on a Saturday and Wednesday and have a particular interest in all the trees we sell. If I am not selling, then you will either find me mixing compost or on the lookout for more pots, sand, and gravel.
Three years ago I was elected onto the Committee which involves taking the lead on various aspects of the day to day running of the charity. I love what I do and have joined a very friendly group of volunteers. Come in and see us sometime.
My interest in gardening stems from my adopted father who worked at the Botanical Gardens from the late 30’s. Joining the volunteers in the Botanical Gardens has meant that I have made many new friends over the last few years. I also put my horticultural knowledge to good use when customers have queries, although you will probably more often than not find me doing the regular maintenance duties within the polytunnels.
It is now 11 years since I became a “polytunnel volunteer” after the death of my husband who was a botanist. Highlights have included being chosen to represent the volunteers at the “Green Flag Award” ceremony in Manchester a few years ago, as well as being part of the “planting team” in the new Wildflower/Wellbeing Garden.
Times are changing, budgets are being cut so it is even more important now for volunteers to support their local parks.
My Dad, Mered Jones, joined the Friends as a polytunnel volunteer in the summer of 2015, after a suggestion by his friend Beth Winkley who was volunteering there. In March of that year his wife of 60 years, my mother Meg, had passed away, and going down the gardens every Wednesday helped fill the void in his life left by her death. Mam and Dad had always loved working in their garden together, and every year they would grow a range of vegetables and an incredible display of flowers. When Mam retired from being a nursery nurse the school had given her a garden bench, and this bench has since been donated by Dad to the Friends. It now sits proudly in the polytunnel where weary volunteers take a break and enjoy a chat over lunch. I know Mam would be happy to see her bench getting such good use.
I know that Dad really enjoys working down there and he goes every Wednesday unless it is really cold. He tackles every task that he is given and particularly enjoys potting up the new deliveries. In the summer months he can also be found there on many Saturdays. Dad turns 93 this year and I believe he may be the oldest volunteer at the polytunnel – an inspiration to us all to get out there and work in the gardens.