Outings, Meetings and Events 


Thursday 9 February 2023, 7:30 p.m., Crops in Small Spots with Jane Moore

The Gardening Club is aware that we have had very few talks on growing fruit and vegetables and to remedy that we have invited Jane Moore  to speak to us about this subject. She last visited us in 2016 and has since then published her book "The little book of Crops in Small Spots"; prior to that she published "Gardeners' World: 101 Ideas for Veg from Small Spaces", as well as "Planting for Butterflies" and "Planting for Wildlife".   Jane is Head Gardener at the Priory Hotel in Bath and also now Group Head Gardener of several Andrew Brownsword Hotels . She has exhibited at Chelsea, presented on BBC Gardener’s World and writes regularly in trade and popular magazines as well as written her own books. 

Thursday 9 March 2023, 7:30 p.m., ReWilding with Chris Sperring MBE
Chris Sperring MBE is a naturalist, broadcaster, presenter, writer, wildlife photographer and musician as well as many other things. He is frequently photographed with an owl or mentioned in connection with a variety of conservation projects in the Levels. Today's subject is ReWilding, whether Nature actually needs a helping hand through planting, seeding and protecting it or should it be left to grow grass that turns into scrub and eventually woodland?

Thursday 13 April 2023, 7:30 p.m., Hydrangeas with Sally Gregson

Sally Gregson is a writer, author and lecturer based in Wells. Her talk about hydrangeas covers different species, their growing conditions, care and propagation. She will also offer us the opportunity to purchase some of the books she has published about a variety of gardening subjects.

Thursday 20 April 2023, day trip to Chideock Manor, Bridport, Dorset - Cost £27
Leaving Wells Bus Station 09:15 and back 16:00

This 12 acre private garden is a mix of formal and informal; it has clipped hedges, lime and crab apple walks, herbaceous borders, mature trees beside a stream, a fernery, walled vegetable garden, a nuttery plus an orchard in which to wander and smell the blossom, as well as the chance to stroll in the woodland and take in some fine views. In addition the owner has kindly offered to provide optional refreshments of tea/coffee/cake at a modest charge of £5 or we can take our own picnics to consume off site.

Thursday 11 May 2023, 7:30 p.m., A Victorian Head Gardener with Francis Burroughs
Francis Burroughs will share with us the type of gardener's working life that his father experienced who started from the age of 11, before WW1. He began as a pot washer, then mowed acres and acres of grass as a teenager and was exempt from military service due to his work in food production. To gain promotion and experience, he changed jobs by moving to Sussex and then to the West Country. There will be plenty of  photographs to illustrate the life of a Victorian Gardener.

Wednesday 14 June 2023, Deans Court, Wimborne, Dorset - Cost £24

Leaving Wells Bus Station 09:15 and back 16:30

We were to have visited this grand place in 2020, so it’s a case of better late than never. The coach will drop us off in The Square and we will walk together the 200 metres to the Court. Jonathon will give us an introductory talk after which we will be able to ‘free range’ the walled organic kitchen garden, discover the Saxon pond, orchard, Victorian greenhouses and fragrant flower beds. There is a small cafe with a rather tempting menu; we are asked to go in ‘dribs and drabs’ so as to not overwhelm the space.

Thursday 20 July 2023, Houghton Lodge Gardens, Stockbridge, Hants - Cost £32
Leaving Wells Bus Station 09:15 and back 16:00

This 14 acre estate has a wonderful 300 foot herbaceous border that will be a riot of summer colour, espaliered fruit trees in the walled garden including no less than 32 varies of apples, there is a stunning topiary peacock garden, there will be roses, delphiniums and one can wander the lawns to the river Test beside which mature trees grow. Although we can’t take our picnics into the gardens, we can enjoy them off site or have tea/coffee and lemon drizzle cake in the Orangery for an additional £6.

Thursday 14 September 2023, 7:30 p.m., How to garden the low-carbon way with Sally Nex
Sally Nex introduces herself to her Twitter followers as "a Cotswold award winning journalist; plants, books, family, friends and gin make my world tick". Her blog can be found on https://thechattygardener.com  Sally's book "How To Garden The Low-carbon Way" highlights the steps we can take to combat climate change. She usually writes, teaches and gives talks on veg growing, self-sufficiency and sustainable gardening and we are sure to come away inspired. 

Thursday 12 Oct 2023, 7:30 p.m., Fungi - the good, the bad and the ugly with Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is an English mycologist with 26 books to his name but probably best known as the author of "The Encyclopaedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe". He is founder and Chairman of the Association of British Fungal Groups (ABFG).

Thursday 9 November 2023, 7:30 p.m., The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum with Aron Clay

Aron Clay is a Senior Gardener at the Bishops Palace Garden and will talk to us about his experience dating back to the time when he worked a the Hillier Arboretum. 


This year, 2022, we have managed a number of events. On 8 February twenty of us went on a garden visit to Camerton Court near Bath to enjoy this 20 acre garden with a fabulous snowdrop display. In February about 40 members gathered in the Town Hall for the AGM followed by a quiz and on 10 March we were treated to a talk by Mary Payne M. Hort. (RHS) MBE about "Compton Acres - Revisited". In April we had an evening about hedgehogs followed by "Influences on Indian Gardens" in May and a trip to the Walled Gardens in Cannington as well as Greencombe in Somerset and in June Compton Acres in Pool. In September, Timothy Walker spoke to us on the subject "What have plants ever done for us?". We had a feast of photography with Rosemary Legrand showing us her pictures taken in Japanese Gardens in October. In November James Cross, the Head Gardener at the Bishops Palace and our Club's President, found time to talk to us.


In the summer months we managed to make a number of visits to fabulous local gardens. In June we visited Stoberry Park with breath-taking views over the City of Wells and the Vale of Avalon, walled garden, ponds, wildflower meadow, sunken garden, potager, lime walk and plenty of benches to sit and relax. In July we were once again welcomed by James Cross at the Bishop's Palace Garden and wandered about on a beautiful summer's evening. In August Simon Tudway Quilter kindly agreed to allow our club exclusive access to the 5 acre garden on the lower slopes of the Mendips. There were some interesting walks into the arboretum, along the terraces, herbaceous borders, rose beds and swimming pool with splendid views of the City of Wells. In September we saw Yeo Valley Garden In Blagdon. In October we managed to visit Lady Farm at Chelwood, which was a treat. And in December we were treated to enjoying the festive Bishops Palace and illuminated gardens.


We had lots of plans for this year but then... the Pandemic got in the way.  In January we held our AGM with a quiz, raffle and refreshments. In February we met again and listened to a talk by Alan Power from Stourhead: "A Journey Through Great Gardens". Our last actual meeting before the Corona Pandemic happened was on March 12, when we were treated to a talk by Andrew Tolman from the Walled Gardens of Cannington and Greencombe in Somerset on the subject of "Stumperies, Ferns and Shady Friends".   The meetings from April 2020 until the end of the year had to be cancelled. We missed out in April on the subject of "GreenDaffodils and Wonderful Weeds" - a plant tour of Morocco by Rosemary Fitzgerald. In April we would have also made a garden visit to the Walled Gardens of Cannington and Greencombe near Porlock.  For May we had planned a meeting with a talk by wildlife photographer Colin Varndell about "The Hedghog Predicament" and we sadly had to shelf plans for a garden visit to The Shute House in Donhead St Mary, Stogumber Open Gardens in the Quantocks, Kiftsgate Court and Deans Court in Wimbourne Minster in Dorset.  We were very sad that we could not welcome Nick Bailey of Gardeners' World to hear him talk to us in September. We also had to cancel Christine Stones talking about "Gardens of the First World War" and Julie Henderson ending our year with "The Twelve Plants of Christmas".