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The first rain of the hot summer fell as we set off on our way to Athelhampton House in Dorset. A Swift journey saw us arrive in now bright sunshine nice and early so we had time for refreshments before our guided tours around the beautiful gardens and house.

A work in progress in many ways but much of the work is being undertaken by the family who own it.

A good start has been made in the walled vegetable garden with restorations being done on the paths and greenhouse.

The topiary around the neatly manicured lawns is stunning. 

The house itself, although quite small as estate houses, go was remarkably well preserved much of it was on show even some of the private rooms were open to be viewed.

After our tour we retired to the dining room for a fabulous buffet lunch. Afterwards there was some time to wander around the gardens at our leisure and then on to the compulsory gift shop before our return journey to Brockenhurst.

Another amazing day once again organised by Kay and Adrian Butterworth. 








































An extremely hot day saw us set out from Brockenhurst on our way to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the 6th July.  After a safe journey with only minimal delay ( Thanks to Kays brilliant navigating) we arrived and departed the coach, headed from the car park to the show. What a treat we had in store. Bright and colourful displays of only the very best plants and all things garden related. There was so much to see. From the smallest of air plants right up to huge towering palms were available to purchase (if your wallet was big enough). The floral marquee was buzzing in more ways than one. It was filled with the most scented flowers and that both people and insects alike enjoyed. Outside, the many stalls enticed you to buy lots and lots of weird and wonderful gadgets and garden implements including, buckets, wellies ,antiques, windmills, seeds, wool compost, beer and cut flowers. The food courts also had some amazing entertainment for you to enjoy whilst you ate your lunch. The show gardens displayed the new innovations in glass garden rooms and greenhouses. All in all a wonderful day enjoyed by the entire group.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017

Outing to Brownsea Island and Compton Acres 2016


May 5th 2016 saw our Association setting off on our way to this years outting. This time we were off to the National Trusts Brownsea Island followed by an afternoon visit to Compton Acres in Dorset. As is usual for our visits the weather was incredible. An early start saw us leave Brockenhurst to be on time for the 10 o'clock Sandbanks to Brownsea Island Yellow Ferry. A walk around the island and a picnic in the woods where we caught a glimpse of the elusive red squirrel then retuning on the ferry back to Sandbanks then onto Compton Acres.


"Around every corner a surprise" was the way one of our group described Compton Acres. Vistas of waterfalls, tall trees, ponds and borders waited for us all to explore. All of the plants were in tip top condition and well looked after by the teams of gardeners. A garden built on a steep slope with many paths taking you all around and never seeing the same view twice. This was all polished off with  welcome refreshment  from the wonderful tea room before re-boarding our coach for the return trip to Brockenhurst. Once again many thanks to Kay and Adrian Butterworth for the organization of this outing.



AGM 2015


Many of our members turned out on what was a wet and windy Saturday afternoon.

The chairman delivered her annual report remarking on the successful  outing to Forde Abbey and Gardens, announcing that next years outing is to be to Brownsea Island and Compton Acres. She expressed her sadness at the passing of two former committee members. In closing her report she offered her thanks to all who had helped out this year by donating raffle prizes or serving refreshments.  Special thanks were extended to all members of the committee for their hard work throughout the year.

After the AGM a talk by Rachel Foster entitled "A year in Patricks Patch" entertained us. "Patricks Patch" is a small market garden in Beaulieu supplying Steff's Kitchen Restaurnt with all it's vegetable requirements. Rachel explained to us the educational links that Patricks Patch has with local schools and special needs groups. She also invited us to visit the garden in the late summer of 2016.





A warm and calm morning saw us off on our way to Forde Abbey and Gardens. Stopping en route at The Worlds End public house for morning refreshments, which were very kindly supplied by the landlords in exchange for  a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Travelling through the beautful Dorset and Somerset countryside we arrived safely at our destination around 12 noon.

Entering through the gift shop we proceeded to the kitchen garden,  A truly fine example as there was not a weed in sight. Planted with some wonderful vegetables many of which were at their prime and ready for picking. The lean to greenhouses eitherside of the entrance held some fine examples of peaches and nectarines.

Exit the walled garden and through past the cafe to the Abbey gardens and grounds. Pretty borders and lawns abound. The bog garden was a favourite place for flittering damsel flies.

The Centenary Fountain (the tallest powered fountain in England) came out to play at 1.30 and again at 3pm spectacularly giving some of our group an impromtu shower.

On visiting the house examples of beautifully kept furniture and paintings were everywhere. Many fine tapestries lined the walls of the saloon and tapaestry passage. The table in the upper refectory greatly impressed with it's deep shine and length. Although many of the furnishings were not actual antiques they all fit in well.

All too soon it was time to rejoin our coach for the journey back to Brockenhurst.

Another successful day out.

Thank you once again to Kay and Adrian Butterworth for the organization of this trip


































































An early start to the day arriving at St Saviours Church at 7.20am saw the members ready for our journey to London. Heavy traffic in the city centre meant a quick dash to the ticket booths to get there on time for our alloted slot. Airport type security (and a quick frisk or two) and we were in. Kitted out with our headsets for our audio guides we headed off into the stateroom. Entering the palace via the Ambassadors Entrance. On our way through we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard accross the courtyard.  Never before had I seen such opulence, the ceilings were truly amazing. A stunning collection of Rembrandts, Canellettos and Vermeers filled the walls in the Picture Gallery.The Exhibition of Royal Childhood currently on show wowed with such exhibits as a working  toy lawnmower, a childs size caravan and a James Bond Aston Martin pedal car complete with working smoke shield. Examples of the young royals school work is also on show along with a collection of their outfits and shoes. Exiting the palace through the Bow Room into the garden led us to our next stop, The Garden Tea Room. After a well earned cup of tea (and a delicious scone) we set about reaasembling as a group for our Garden Highlights Tour. Our guide led us round the private ares of the gardens explaning the development of the garden from its early days as a formal garden to its present day incarnation. We were shown trees planted by Queen Victioria and Prince Albert to hide the private apartments from view from the Hilton hotel,  and a Horse Chestnut tree planted by the Queens father before he was king. The rose garden was in full bloom it's fragrance was stunningly powerful and very pleasing. We were shown vistas of the lake and long grass meadows, told tales of the tennis court and its events and advised as to the gardens furry and feathered vistors and occupants. Too soon the visit came to a close and we left to return to our coach and head back to Brockenhurst. An incredibly good time was had by all. Thanks go to Kay and Adrian Butterworth for organizing yet another fabulous trip I hope there will be many more to come.