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Three Villages Gardening Club

Oxeye Daisies and Red Campion


Members will be aware that, following a few months during the Spring and Summer when Club meetings/visits ceased, we started having Zoom meetings in October, kicking off with a couple of fascinating talks by members of our own Club. Chrissy South who is a professional Gardener and has been running the RHS courses and horticultural workshops at Beth Chatto Gardens since 2006, talked on the critical subject of Gardening for Climate Change. This was followed in December by Julia and Geoff Russell-Grant whose topic was Flower Combinations for Colour & Seasonality. They used their own beautiful garden (one of the National Garden Scheme gardens) as a backdrop and palette to their talk which highlighted, amongst other things, the importance of light and plant position to how a plant will eventually look.

After these couple of months, when we had attendance of between 20-25 people, we became more adventurous and in December and January had Zoom talks from gardeners from further afield! As we are all aware, we don't really have any idea when rules will be eased and our lives regain some semblance of normality, so future planning remains challenging although we anticipate meetings will continue via Zoom for at least the next three months. You can see below, in the 2021 Programme, our plans for the next three months or so.

We do hope that some of you who have recently moved into our village will join our friendly and interesting Gardening Club and are always ready to answer any questions about membership!

Annie Stewart, Chair
22 January, 2021


We are a small friendly gardening club, set up in 2006 and centred on the three villages of Birch, Layer Breton and Layer Marney, about 5 miles south of Colchester in Essex. Our membership of about 50 includes quite a few from surrounding villages.

We are all very interested in gardening, but we enjoy the company of others with a shared interest and we try not to get too technical! Gardening should be fun and in our Club it certainly is. Everyone turns up for every meeting if they possibly can.

When Do We Meet and What do we do?

We meet every month. During the winter months we normally meet at 7:30pm on the second Monday of the month in Birch Memorial Hall. In the summer we arrange perhaps two or three evening visits to gardens or other outside venues, plus a social barbecue for members and their guests. The December meeting often has a strong social element to it.

Although we are a relatively small club, we usually find enough people to fill a coach, normally once a year in mid-week, and recently we have visited places that are too distant to go by car, including The Old Vicarage at East Ruston and RHS Garden Wisley. With a membership of around 50, we average attendances of 35 for talks, and somewhat more for garden visits and social events where members often bring their 'other halves' along.

What Does it Cost?

Membership costs £15 for the first year. The annual renewal fee is £12 and there is a meeting attendance fee, usually just £3 to cover hall expenses etc. Our talks cover most of the subjects that are of primary interest to gardeners, and less usual topics have included Garden Birds, Garden History & Antiques, Chile & the Andes, Heathland Conservation, Arboriculture, and Photography. We've had practical sessions on cuttings, grafting and soil testing.

Bulk Purchasing Schemes

We run both spring and autumn bulb purchasing schemes. We also order snowdrops, aconites and bluebells 'in the green' in bulk. One significant benefit for bulbs is the range of species and cultivars available; few retailers stock a wide or predictable range, or provide a catalogue from which to draw up a planting scheme. We also belong to the Kings Seeds Club Purchase scheme, which gives members a 50% discount on all club seed orders placed from their online Catalogue.

Hints and Tips

We do not provide these on our own website; there is already too much information available in books and on the internet, so we aim to provide just a few links - see the Links section below. We trust you will understand that the club cannot accept responsibility for any of the content of these websites.

2021 Programme

We normally meet on the second Monday of each month at 7:30pm in Birch Memorial Hall, unless advised otherwise.

Because of the upsurge in coronavirus infections and the current Tier 4 restrictions we have only made firm arrangements for January up to April when our meetings will be held on Zoom. Decisions on subsequent meetings will be made nearer the time in the light of conditions then prevailing.

January 11th My Life in Gardening - Martin Fish, a gardening writer and presenter based in Yorkshire.

Due to coronavirus restrictions this will be a 'Zoom' meeting at 7:30pm. Club members will be sent a Zoom invitation with information about how to access the Zoom session.
February 8th Growing Flowers for Weddings - Emma Spowage

Due to coronavirus restrictions this will be a 'Zoom' meeting at 7:30pm. Club members will be sent a Zoom invitation with information about how to access the Zoom session.
March 8th Clippings - Darren Lerigo.
Darren has a garden business, Modern Mint, based in Chelmsford and specialises in Topiary. His work has been featured in Country Living magazine, Channel 4 and The Guardian. There is more about Darren on his website at

Due to coronavirus restrictions this will be a 'Zoom' meeting at 7:30pm. Club members will be sent a Zoom invitation with information about how to access the Zoom session.
April 12th Gardening with Wildlife in Mind - Dr Chris Gibson

Due to coronavirus restrictions this will be a 'Zoom' meeting at 7:30pm. Club members will be sent a Zoom invitation with information about how to access the Zoom session.
April 17th-18th
Annual Plant Swap
During the weekend of April 17th-18th we plan to hold our Annual Plant Swap provided circumstances such as coronavirus restrictions allow. Details will be provided nearer the time.
Sunday, June 6th We are hoping to organise an Open Gardens event but this depends on the COVID-19 situation at the time.


Enquiries regarding membership etc are welcome.

Chair: Annie Stewart. Tel: 01206-331386. Email:

Vice Chair: Christine South. Tel: 01206-331818. Email:

Peter Gee. Tel: 01206-330620


Please Note: Using any of the links below will open a new window in your browser. After visiting the linked site, close the new window to return to this page.

NOTE: Ordering through the Club for small orders may save surcharges and carriage, and help others.

Page updated: 22 Jan 2021 at 15:23