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 also 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.
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' and friends along.
We normally meet on the 2nd Monday of every month. In the summer months we arrange evening visits to gardens in our area, and we also have a social barbecue for members and their guests. In the other months of the year we meet at 7.30pm in Birch Memorial Hall, with a speaker to present a gardening-related topic to us. The December meeting always has a strong social element to it.
In July 2017 we arranged a day-trip including coach travel to East Ruston Old Vicarage gardens in Norfolk.
Occasionally a few members get together in small groups for visits to gardens, guided talks etc. Many of us enjoy visiting somewhere in the company of a few others rather than going alone, so a little informal co-ordination is provided. Usually these are very small groups of perhaps up to 8 members who purchase their own tickets but share transport with someone they know.
Membership costs £15 for a calendar year, reduced to £12 for existing members renewing. There is a meeting attendance fee of £3, or £5 for non-members, to cover hall expenses etc.
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 and herbaceous stock 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 gave a 50% discount on all club seed orders placed from their 2017 Catalogue. Members participating submit their order via the Club as part of a once-only annual ordering process, with each order individually packed and delivered to the Club.