Gardening Club

The Wootton Courtenay Garden Club was established to provide opportunities for villagers to enjoy talks and discussions on gardening topics, and to arrange visits to interesting local gardens.   It also holds its annual Flower and Produce Show during August.

The club warmly welcomes everyone who has a garden in the village, whether they are experienced enthusiasts or those who want to learn a little more.  It particularly welcomes new members, and offers friendly and enthusiastic support to beginners and experts alike.

The club is now affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the club is currently holding talks via Zoom only.

Annual Membership cost £10 per person –  waived for 2021

Visitors are welcome to attend meetings at £3 per person – waived for 2021

Membership forms are circulated in January but may be obtained anytime from Marion Jay.  Alternatively you can download and print off the form here:  2021 Membership Form

Marion Jay     01643 841486 

Peter Stenner              

Peter Clapham
Nigel Humphries
Lucy McQuillan
Woody Tickner

Programme 2020/21

The programme of talks had to be suspended during 2020 due to Covid 19.  This year, until government advice changes, we will be holding talks via Zoom.  Subscription fees have been waived for 2021, as a gesture of goodwill in light of the current difficulties.

All talks begin at 7.30pm unless otherwise specified


Zoom Talk by Sally Gregson – The Winter Garden

Having trained as a mature student at Hadlow College in Kent, Sally moved to Somerset at the end of the 1980s and set up her own small nursery: Mill Cottage Plants, near Wookey, which specialises in hydrangeas, plants for shade, and the famous Benton irises.  

Sally is currently writing a book on The Winter Garden, and in this talk she will be giving advice on how to structure your garden for winter interest, using evergreens, shrubs with coloured bark, early spring bulbs, flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants.  As we’re all spending lots of time at home these days, it’s a talk which should help brighten our lives.

This talk is available to club members as a recording.  Please contact Marion Jay (details above).

19th JANUARY 2021 – 7.30pm

AGM – via Zoom

This year’s AGM will be fairly brief.  All members are invited to join, using the Zoom link which is emailed out to members before the meeting.  

The AGM Agenda is available here:   2021 AGM Agenda
Chairwoman’s Report:   Chairwoman’s Report 2021


Zoom Talk by Michael Brown – What’s Your Poison?

Michael is known as The Historic Gardener, and gives talks, displays and advice on gardening throughout history, from the Romans to modern times. He has provided displays for many National Trust and English Heritage sites in appropriate period costume, and he created the medieval gardens at Prebendal Manor at Nassington, Northamptonshire.

This talk will describe how poisonous plants have been used over the centuries; to remove unwanted rivals, as aphrodisiacs, for pest control and as a method of foretelling the future or speak with the gods.  Be warned, many of these plants may well be growing in your garden!  This promises to be an entertaining and intriguing lecture.


Zoom Talk by Gilly Hayward – Pruning: Why, When and How?

Until quite recently, Gilly Hayward co-owned Moor Plants, an independent nursery in Ashcott, Somerset, with her sister Jenny Hayward-Karlsson.  

It is very easy to prune shrubs at the wrong time and destroy all the flowering potential for the year to come.  In this talk, Gilly will be dispelling some of the mystery surrounding pruning, and explaining when and how to tackle it, and why it benefits the plants concerned.  This talk will be of interest to anyone with an overgrown garden, but it is also useful for those of us who grow roses, clematis and hydrangeas, amongst other woody shrubs.


Visit to Broomclose, nr Porlock

Admission is free, but places on this visit must be pre-booked 

Broomclose is a large and varied garden, set around an early 1900s Arts and Crafts house with a breathtaking outlook to the sea.  With original stone terraces, a Mediterranean garden, long herbaceous borders, a camellia walk, a meadow with bee hives and a vegetable garden, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  The mild maritime climate favours unusual sub-tropical trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Owner Nicky Ramsay will be on hand to guide us round her garden, telling us something of its history and how she has managed and developed the garden.  Nicky is an experienced gardener and is passionate about her plants, so there are many unusual gems to be discovered here.  Fabulous views, too!

Please Note:  Parking is limited to six cars at Broomclose.  Those who have good legs are requested to park either at Porlock Visitor’s Centre and walk down, or down at the Weir and walk up.  Car sharing is a matter of personal safety at the moment, so we cannot advise that unless you share a household.


Nigel Cox – Pest Control Without Chemicals

Nigel Cox teaches horticulture at Cannington College, although of course since lockdown 2020 he has been lecturing remotely from home.  With the recent flourishing of wildlife-friendly gardening, the idea of organic pest control is one which should interest us all.  In this talk, Nigel will explain how we can all manage garden pests and diseases organically, using simple and inexpensive methods.

If, thanks to the vaccine, we are able to meet in the hall by midsummer, this talk will be given in person.  If not, it will be via Zoom.


Self-Drive Visit to Vellacott, nr. Crowcombe This event is now fully booked

Pat and Kevin Chittenden’s garden is glorious in July, when many herbaceous perennials reach their peak. Vellacott is a large, informal garden on a south-facing slope, with splendid views of the Quantock and Brendon Hills. Profusely planted with a wide selection of herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees, there is also an attractive veg plot and pond. A restored shepherd’s hut sits in a small orchard and wildflower area – a tranquil place to enjoy the surroundings.  Please note: There are steep areas, making the garden unsuitable for those with mobility problems.

As with the Broomclose visit, all proceeds from this trip will go to the National Garden Scheme.

Refreshments will be available:  £2 for tea and cake, or £4 for a cream tea.  Please state if you’d like a cream tea when booking, as it will help Pat know how many to cater for.

Directions:  Vellacott, Lawford, nr Crowcombe, Somerset TA4 4AL.

Travelling from the Williton direction on the A358, the turning for Lawford is on the right, about 1 kilometre after the Crowcombe turn off. It is a hairpin bend, and is marked as Stickle Hill on Google Maps. Drive down the lane 200 metres or so, and park in the driveway to the farm on your left.  

Vellacott is just a little further along the lane, on the right. There are two parking spaces outside the garden but it is a bit tight, so please use the farm driveway if you can.