u3a - Gardening

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Dear U3A gardeners

My name is Chris and I am the leader of the Gardening Group for Purbeck U3A here in Dorset.  I am a retired horticulturist and I had a small specialist nursery until 2013. Retirement didn’t suit me so I joined U3A, listing gardening as one of my real passions.  Within weeks I was approached about starting a gardening group and I became a happy person again!

I held an informal meeting in October 2014 with 9 people. Now, 18 months later, we have 45+ members.  We meet on a monthly basis and also go on trips through the year.  A lot of people come to our meetings saying they don’t know much about gardening.  I tell them it doesn’t matter but they will be surprised at just how much they do know.

Our meetings are a mixture of different speakers such as Jane the galanthaphile – amazing snowdrops, Patti and the bees, the head of horticulture from our local college and more. We run a fun quiz at Christmas and we have just held our 2nd plant sale with all proceeds going to a local children’s hospice, it is over £240 this year.  Places to visit are selected for a specific reason, for example we visited Hillier’s Arboretum in Hampshire in January to see the Winter Garden, another local garden known for its stunning Spring flowering shrubs and we are soon to visit Mottisfont for the National Collection of Roses.

I have been asked to be the National Subject Advisor for Gardening and I hope I can offer advice both of a horticultural nature and how to start a new group or develop an existing one.

I would like to produce a newsletter on a regular basis but I am also interested in setting up something on a more participative basis.  Exchanging ideas and information is always interesting.

Should you have a specific question or would like to discuss an idea, problem or whatever please email me with your question and put in your phone number and I will call you back.  I would love to hear from you and 2 heads are usually better than one. 

Chris Bonanni