A few years ago when I first got the polytunnel at the little garden, I received requests from several people to come and have a look at the new erection… What emerged from these visits was a garden club of sorts.  We started out meeting at the bar of a local hotel.  The venue quickly changed to our own houses so we could at least look at the gardens we were talking about.  Then, after about a year of garden visits, swapping plants and seeds, and talking about gardening, someone suggested that we meet and do a project at one of our own gardens.

Garden club at work

We haven’t looked back since.  Now, it’s less like a garden club and more like a monthly meitheal (to the non-Irish, this word is akin to a ‘barnraising’, or the idea that many hands make light work).

Garden club end result in veg patch

It’s amazing how much we get done in a couple of hours.  Usually there are six or seven of us.  We have two men and six women in the group.  Our projects have ranged from clearing ground for new polytunnels, constructing raised beds, making a willow fedge, sowing rows and rows of peas, clearing summer crops out of tunnels, the list goes on.  I was even cheeky enough to ask the group to come to the big garden to help me clear a very scary, overgrown shrub border.

Clearing out the tunnel

Sometimes we spend an hour, sometimes two.  The photos here show us doing the autumn clearout of a small vegetable patch and a polytunnel. This took us about an hour.  Regardless of the time spent, the garden owner always says, “I could never have done that own my own.  It would have taken me a week to do that.”  And the best part is, we get fed and watered at the end of it.

The polytunnel after clearout

I would encourage anyone interested in gardening to get a group of friends together to do this kind of thing.  I suppose there is a time and place for the type of garden club that looks at slides of flowers or foreign gardens.  But you’ll not find a more satisfying way to spend a Saturday afternoon than working together with friends in a garden.

Stone cairn at Rowallane

Next post… An unplanned autumn visit to Rowallane Garden in Saintfield, Co Down.  Here’s just a little taste of it above.