Garden Views Group
Garden Topics, our other gardening group, has been running for many years and had a long waiting list so it was no surprise that when Garden Views was formed, in February of this year, it filled immediately.
I visited this group on what must have been the wettest day this summer but with mugs of tea and delicacies to eat and much gardening chat to do, the weather was of no consequence. There was a brief respite from the rain and everyone leapt up and went into the neat, compact garden, fairly recently created and stocked with many interesting plants.
There was much discussion, but the rain returned, and everyone quickly retreated indoors. It was obvious to me that this group has gelled together well and I was told by one member that having all joined at the same time no one felt out of place.
Mary Hyde runs the group and tells me that it really runs itself, but as all group leaders know, it is never that simple; it is a credit to her and the whole group that it appears this way. Mary has the help of Liz Smith who writes regular reports for our news magazine and which are illustrated with photos by Trish Haley. Not only that, but they are the only group I know that has its own chauffeur, a husband who joined the U3A, it seems just for this purpose.
Walking round the garden with the group it became apparent that they all have extensive knowledge that they are willing to share. The U3A states that the third age of learning is when people learn whatever they want, and clearly with a joint interest in gardening this group’s members are learning from each other. Fascinating tips were exchanged (charcoal in water butts, washing roots of plants, winter wash, control of pests) – the chatter didn’t stop.
The group meets in a different member’s house each month and also visits allotments held by two members. Earlier this year they visited the Flower Festival at Hyde Hall where they met for a picnic lunch and future plans, outside of their monthly meetings, include an outing to Beth Chatto’s Garden, the Walled Garden at the Friary in Maldon and a visit to an event organised by the Hardy Plant Society.
Next month they are going to discuss taking cuttings and are asked to bring along their secateurs for some practical experience.
Gardening is such a popular topic that there is still a waiting list of nine U3A members who have shown an interest in joining such a group; vacancies occur rarely so if anyone would like to start another group please let me know.