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, 20 years later, the club has 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 or cakes are served. We also hold purely social gatherings, such as our Annual Lunch, which are hugely popular. In addition to our printed programme of events, we put on 3 evening meetings each year, covering a diverse range of horticultural subjects, with alcoholic and non-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 have introduced Study Days recently when a small group of members concentrate on a specific topic with refreshments provided of course! In 2020, David Hurrion will be teaching us how to create our own cutting garden.
We organise an annual holiday by coach, 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. Last year, we visited 4 wonderful gardens in Essex including the iconic Beth Chatto garden.
In 2020, our holiday for 38 members and guests will be a two night/three day trip to 7 gardens in Monmouthshire and South Wales.We will stay 2 nights at the 4 star St. Pierre Park just outside Chepstow and enjoy wining, dining and socialising with our fellow Valley Gardeners.
April 2020: Sadly, we have had to cancel the above holiday to South Wales due to the coronavirus lockdown. Hopefully, we can run it in June 2021.