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Three Villages Gardening Club

Oxeye Daisies and Red Campion


Lockdown finally appears to be coming towards an end, and as the weather is suddenly becoming warmer after a cold early Spring, I imagine many of you reading this, as well as members of the TVGC, are busy in your gardens.

The Club has survived the endless lockdown well, having many successful Zoom meetings, and we also started a Facebook page, exclusively for Club members, all to try to ensure we could keep in touch with one another and share ideas and suggestions.

The Zoom talks during the past couple of months have been: Gardening with Wildlife in Mind with Dr Chris Gibson, an environmentalist and Ecologist. He was very clear how climate change is impacting on our gardens and the really crucial role that gardeners play in sustaining wildlife, particularly given the loss of biodiversity. He highlighted the need to be changing the plants we grow in the light of our drier summers (particularly in the East of England), and suggested that many great ideas for plants suited to a dry climate are available from Beth Chatto's Nursery and Gardens at Elmstead.

Our most recent meeting was a fascinating talk on The Cultural History of the Rose, by Dr Katherine Horwood. I had no idea that fossilized roses from 40,000 years ago had been found, or that the first rose gardens specifically for roses, were in Persia!

However, from now on we are able to start meeting up in person; garden visits initially, but come September we will (with luck) be back meeting as 'usual' in Birch Village Hall! The rest of the year's programme can be seen below!

We do hope that those of you who have recently moved into our village will join our friendly and interesting Gardening Club and we're always ready to answer any questions about membership.

Annie Stewart, Chair
11th May 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.

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

Zoom meeting.
February 8th Growing Flowers for Weddings - Emma Spowage

Zoom meeting.
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

Zoom meeting.
April 12th Gardening with Wildlife in Mind - Dr Chris Gibson

Zoom meeting.
Monday, May 10th The Cultural History of the Rose - Dr Catherine Horwood

Zoom meeting.
Saturday, June 12th Evening Visit to The Priory, Stoke-by-Nayland

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, numbers are limited to 30 members.
Monday, July 12th Evening Visit to Moverons, Brightlingsea
Friday, July 23rd Annual BBQ and Social
Monday, August 9th To be arranged
Monday, September 13th Autumn Bulb Planting for Spring Bulbs - Matt Long, Riverside Bulbs.
Monday, October 11th The History of the Harvest Festival - Andrew Sankey-Smith.
Monday, November 8th Auriculas - James Smallwood.
Monday, December 13th Hungarian Christmas Flower Decorations - Szuszana Serer.


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: 20 Aug 2021 at 17:54