the full history of the club
Titchfield Gardeners’ Club was founded in March 1986 when its first committee was elected to take the Club forward from a successful pilot meeting held the previous month.
The first chairman, Chris Leese, chaired the steering committee until handing over to Celia Wilkinson, who held the post for two years. In 1988 Audrey Biggs was elected as chairman and under her leadership the club prospered and grew. Audrey handed over to Brian Patten in 1999 and he was succeeded in 2015 by Steve Nash. Caroline McGrath took over as chairman in 2019 and most recently in 2022, Sarah Green was elected as chairman.
The format of the Club’s activities was laid down during the early days when monthly meetings in the Meon Room at the Titchfield Community Centre were addressed by speakers on horticultural and related subjects that became the established norm. Gradually the meetings were enhanced by the introduction of a sales table, a raffle and a monthly plant competition with a social side featuring quiz nights, the popular Christmas skittles evening and the Spring Show held on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting in early March. A Spring Plant Sale held in April each year has become a regular feature of village life. A monthly newsletter was introduced in November 1999 and this has now been brought into the digital age, being sent via email to our members, distributed on club nights, and available on our website.
The Club was not tied to the Community Centre, however. From the very beginning, visits to gardens and other places of interest both locally and further afield took place in the summer and later an annual visit to RHS Wisley was established, taking advantage of the Club’s associate membership of the RHS. Special events have included club dinners held to celebrate anniversaries in the life of the club and the Annual Horticultural Show, held every September, is considered by many to be the highlight of the Club’s year. The Club’s first Show was held in September 1987 in the Parish Room and has been held there every year since with two exceptions; In 1997 the date of the show coincided with the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and it was felt prudent to cancel. One other occasion was when the Parish Room was double booked and the show was transferred to the Titchfield Evangelical Church who kindly offered their facilities to the club.
From March 2020 when the country experienced its first lockdown caused by the Covid 19 virus the Club continued its meetings using Zoom technology and also created a Facebook group to enable its members and others interested in gardening to communicate with each other. The Facebook group proved very successful and rose from 30 to 190 members during the course of two years. As a result of the increase in membership the Club moved its meetings to Titchfield Parish Rooms in the latter part of 2021, which provides more space and is now used as the venue for its meetings.