Rowledge Gardening club started life in the Hare and Hounds Pub in October 2012 after 2 long time Rowledge residents thought it was high time there was a Gardening Club in the Village.
Liz Thomas and Richard Bass consulted with 15 other like minded people and followed it up with a further meeting at the Village Hall where even more people attended and thus the club was born.
There had always been a keen interest in matters horticultural in the Village. There were previously two horticultural shows a year, a Rose Show in June and a Produce Show in September. However, these ceased in the early 2000’s as did the Open Gardens event in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. Although three keen residents picked up the mantle in 2011 and eight gardens opened in June of that year this has not yet been repeated even though it was a very successful event.
There was clearly an appetite for a Gardening Club and in November 2012 a small committee put a programme of talks and visits together for 2012/2013. By the end of March 2013 there were 50 members, and we had visited the lovely Snowdrop garden at Welford Park, had some interesting talks about Farnham in Bloom and Behind the Scenes at Forest Lodge Garden Centre.
We renewed membership in April 2013 and embarked on an ambitious programme of visits and home-grown events such as our own Gardeners Question Time, a Tree walk with our Tree Expert member and organised a club “Open Gardens” where we visited 5 village gardens on one very hot afternoon in July.
We have become famous for our social events, and after the Open Gardens event we held a Drinks party for our members. Some 40 members enjoyed strawberries, cream and meringues and a glass of something at the end of a glorious afternoon. At Christmas our Horticultural Quiz is so popular we have had to seek a larger venue.
We have now become a fixture at the Rowledge Fayre, where we grow and sell plants from our own local gardens. This stall, and its proceeds, has provided us with that extra finance to make sure that we can fund really good speakers, and this year will subsidise our social events and our coach trip. Despite last year’s rain we had a really good time running the stall and most of our members helped in one way or another! They either grew plants, bought plants or helped on the day, and some did all three!