The Valley Gardeners was founded in the year 2000. Several keen gardening friends, living in the Itchen Valley in Hampshire, had the idea to start a club for like minded residents of the villages and towns in the Winchester area. Now, 17 years later, the club has a 120 members (as well as a substantial waiting list) and is a thriving part of local life. Members enjoy not only the 16 plus events organised by the Club each year but the friendship and social interaction which comes through the shared love of gardening and plants.
Club meetings take place every 2nd Tuesday of the month, from January to November. In a varied programme of events, there are talks and lectures from experienced garden professionals, garden historians and designers, as well as demonstrations and workshops of practical gardening skills.These take place in the Itchen Abbas & Avington Village Hall at 2.30 pm, after which tea and biscuits are served. We also hold purely social gatherings, such as our Annual Lunch, which are hugely popular and we ran our very first Spring Flower Show in April 2017 which was a huge success with 163 entries. We will be holding the show again next Spring so hope for even more entries. In addition to our printing programme of events, we put on 3 evening meetings each year, covering a diverse range of horticultural subjects, with alcoholic refreshments provided!
In the warmer months of the year, The Valley Gardeners visit interesting and beautiful gardens throughout the south of England. This might be an afternoon visit to a local garden in Hampshire or a day long excursion by coach to a more distant garden (or two), often with lunch and/or tea included in the day's itinerary.
We organise a bi-annual holiday by coach,(and a mini-break in the alternate year) visiting gardens in different areas of the country and in 2012 we made our first foray overseas, to Normandy to see some stunning French gardens and a unique opportunity to visit the French version of the Chelsea Flower Show, at Courson.
The 2014 trip was a four day holiday to Kent from the 16-19th June when we visited 8 glorious gardens including Great Dixter, Pashley Manor and Titsey House. We also enjoyed our stay in the 4 star Chilston Park hotel near Maidstone for three nights. In July 2016, we visited 7 Yorkshire gardens and stayed in a 4 star country house hotel for our biannual holiday. Our mini-break holiday in 2017 is a visit to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, an overnight stay in a 4 star hotel and then a visit to 2 gardens the following day.