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 was
Chris Leese who chaired the steering committee, 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.
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 recently been brought into the digital age by being available through the club’s new
website and is sent by e-mail to members as well as being distributed on club nights.
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.