Outings, Meetings and Events 


Thursday 11 January 2024, 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall, Social Evening and AGM
As always in January, we will enjoy a social evening with Pip's fiendish quiz. There will also be refreshments.

Thursday 8 February 2024, 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall, 
Hilary Little: Ecuador - 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'
Hilary Little is widely travelled from Australia to most of South America and Europe. Her trip to Ecuador will tell us about the tropics, the exotics and the 'big Daisy'.

Thursday 14 March 2024, 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall, Sally Morgan: The Climate Change Garden

Sally Morgan runs courses at Empire Farm, which is located just south of Wincanton. Course subjects range from butchering, curing and smoking your own meat or fish and various aspects of smallholding. Sally is the editor of the Soil Association’s Organic Farming magazine, author of “Living on one Acre or less" and a co-author of “The Climate Change Garden”. She will speak to us how we as gardeners can adapt to changing and unpredictable weather. She will give us advice on more suitable plant choices, gardening practices and design.

Thursday 11 April 2024, 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall, Brian Jaques: Exotics (Part 1)
Brian Jaques has been interested in gardening since about 1963 when there were only Amateur Gardening magazines to read in the dentist's waiting room. After retiring from university lecturing and research (chemistry) and then community pharmacy, he returned to gardening in 2000 with a new interest in sub-tropical plants. In Ditcheat he grows bananas, gingers, colocasias, brugmansias, and other things outside and manages this with minimum coddling of these plants over winter.
He enjoys  talking about sub-tropical plants and passing on his newly learnt knowledge and he is looking forward to talking with fellow enthusiasts. Brian will also bring some of his exotic plants for sale.

Thursday 25 April, GARDEN VISIT: Minterne House, Minton Magna, Dorset.

Leaving Wells Bus Station at 10:00, back by 16:15.  Cost £27.00 for non-members of RHS and HHA; members of RHS and HMA £19.00 on production of a membership card on the day.

Voted one of the 10 prettiest gardens in England, Minterne House, home of the The Lord Digby, is a riot of spring blossoms with cherries, azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons lining the many walks that lead down to streams, lakes and cascades…take a chance to explore the Himalayan garden and rest awhile on one of the many benches. We can enjoy a picnic in the grounds and the Himalayan tea terrace will be open for refreshments.

Thursday 9 May 2024, 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall,  Keith Ferguson: Plants for Enthusiasts

Keith Ferguson writes on his website www.ebotany.co.uk   about this talk: "A wide range of more unusual and some well know perennials, shrubs and climbers. Aberrant British natives like the peloric form of Linaria vulgaris, Hyacinthoides non-scripta var. bracteata, jack-in-the-green primroses and our native Daphne laureola together with other Daphnes. There are Chilean Berberis valdiviana and Crinodendron hookerianum; Asian Berberis jamesiana and Clematis koreana; old cultivars are not forgotten with pinks and paeonies and the talk would not be complete without specialities Veratrum, Trillium and Galanthus.

Thursday 20 June, GARDEN VISIT: Athelhampton House, Puddletown, Dorset. 

Leaving Wells Bus Station at 10:00, back 17:00.  Cost £32.00 for non-members of HMA;  members of HHA need to inform membership details in advance (see booking form) for a cost of £20.00

As well as the famous topiary at Athelhampton, we will be able to enjoy a wonderful display of roses and discover tranquil garden rooms. Athelhampton sits beside a river and has some fine water features set with statues and quirky buildings. We will also be able to take a look inside the house, visit the Coach House Restaurant maybe make a purchase or two in the shop which sells local goods, gardening items and gin!!

Thursday 18 July, GARDEN VISIT: Mapperton House, Beaminster, Dorset.
Leaving Wells Bus Station at 10:00, back 16:00. Cost for non-HHA members £32.00; for members of HHA £20.00 on production of a membership card on the day

The third visit in our 2024 trilogy of Dorset gardens is to Mapperton House, as featured in a recent documentary on the county and described as a gem. Mapperton is set on a slope and has terraced borders with lawns, lovely summer blooms, walks to wilder wooded areas; they have some splendid topiary and plenty of benches on which to rest and enjoy the views. Refreshments in the Coach House café must be pre ordered  so the café can get sufficient stocks in for us… Sue will be in contact with the menu to take your choices;  there are some picnic areas too.

Thursday 12 September 2024 at 7:30 p.m. ,Wells Town Hall, 
Anne Brake: Why Create Botanic Gardens?

Anne will be talking about why Botanic gardens are important and using the University of Bristol Botanic garden for examples and talking mostly about their work.

Thursday 10 October 2024 at 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall, 

Neil Ross: The X Factor - 10 tips to give your garden the Wow Factor

On his website Neil Ross sums up his working life as consisting of “designing, teaching, writing and digging”. He has been involved for over 30 years with gardens including Great Dixter, Leeds Castle, Sissinghurst and Ayrlies Garden in NZ. He has developed and designed gardens in the Bath and Mendip area. He is also writing for UK and NZ gardening publications and has published books and blogs for Root Connections. He teaches RHS courses at Bristol Botanical Gardens and speaks to gardening groups. On his visit to the Wells Gardening Club he will pass on his top tips how we can give our own garden “The X Factor”.

Thursday 7 November 2024 at 7:30 p.m., Wells Town Hall,
Rosemary Legrand: Adventures in Yunnan

We previously welcomed Rosemary Legrand to Wells in October 2022. This time she will explore the Chinese Province of Yunnan with us with focus on its species of plants. In her extensive career Rosemary was a former nursery owner, a hybridist of azaleas and rhododendrons and as a fabulous photographer she has amassed an extensive library of pictures resulting from her extensive travels. She has also written for RHS publications and the book “1001 Gardens you must see before you die”.

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We started our year with the AGM and Annual Quiz Evening in January and listened to Jane Moore who talked about "Crops in Small Spots". In March, Chris Sperring MBE addressed the subject of "ReWilding" and in April Sally Gregson focused on "Hydrangeas". Our first day trip this year was made to Chideock Manor in Bridport on 20 April. May brought a talk about a Victorian Head Gardener and in June we visited Deans Court in Wimborne and Houghton Lodge Gardens in Stockport. The, Sally Nex talked to us about a low carbon way of gardening. In October we we told about the art of growing orchids with Harold Burnett and in November we focused on very small gardens with Mathew Symonds, the 2023 B&Q winner of the Gardener of the Year competition. There was no meeting in December 2023.


We 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".