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, 16 years later, the club has over a 120 members (as well as a waiting list) and is a thriving part of local life. Members enjoy not only the events organised by the Club 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 refreshments are served.
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 years we don't have a longer holiday) 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 this year, we will be visiting 7 Yorkshire gardens and staying in a 4 star country house hotel for our biannual holiday.