The Gardening Group provides members with an opportunity to share a love of gardening and horticulture.

St Michael's Church Hall (opposite the church)
2nd Wednesday of the month
2.00 - 4.00 pm
Leader: Pam Higgins - 07788 782121 (mobile)

MEETINGS – June to December – 2019

Wednesday June 12:   Visit to 79 Crabtree Lane – Burscough – L40ORW.  Please note “No Group Meeting

Wednesday July 10:   Sue Gillon and Marguerite Hughes from Meadow View Plants Nursery will present on “Planning and Designing Colour Themed Borders”



Wednesday September 11:    Show and Share and raffle (click on poster to enlarge)



Wednesday October 9:   Tony Brougham – SSAFA.  Topic – TBC

Wednesday November 13:   Winter Themed

Wednesday December 11:   Christmas Themed Event or Social Event

A big thank you to Helen Wilson, Joyce Yoxon and Les Fillis for their help and support and David Blanchflower for producing the newsletter.

All offers of help in organising this group will be gratefully received.

Gardening Group Newsletters

(written by David Blanchflower)

Croston Open Gardens

A message from Croston to the Web Team, that will be of great interest to U3A Gardeners:

We are delighted to announce that the village of Croston will be opening its gardens to the public on Sunday 23rd June between 11am and 4pm. Now in its third year, following a relaunch after the floods of 2015, the event has become incredibly popular with over 700 visitors in 2018.

Each year we aim to surprise and inspire our wonderful visitors and this year is no exception. We have seven brand new gardens and two delightful remodels from previous years, including a stunning wildlife garden, a magnificent Georgian garden with pool, wilderness spaces and some incredible planting schemes. The day is not all about the gardens though; we have an Alice in Wonderland-themed art installation at Charlie Holt’s studio, and we are delighted that the completely refurbished Croston Recreation Ground will be officially reopening on the day.

After securing the necessary funding, and an inspiring landscape design by The Potting Sheds, this space will once again be open to the public; complete with accessible pathways, beautiful planting, play areas and an adult gym, the area promises to become a much-loved place to play and relax for all ages.

Finally, we have an enchanting new location for refreshments, ticket sales and stalls where visitors can indulge in a well deserved slice of home-made cake and a cup of tea or glass of prosecco.

Tickets will be on sale on the day for £5, and will cover entry to all the gardens. There is no charge for accompanying children, but unfortunately dogs are not allowed in some of the gardens. It will be possible to purchase tickets in advance from Feather & Twigs on Town Road, Croston, or from The Potting Sheds, Cedar Farm, Mawdesley.  Arrangements can be made for group bookings via email at The tickets will illustrate the garden route, car parking, toilets and the hub for all activities on the day.

All proceeds from the day go to ‘Croston Together’, a village charity supporting community projects and once again, we are delighted to have The Potting Sheds and Maria B Evans Estate Agents as our amazing and generous sponsors.

Do follow Croston Open Gardens on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for further updates as 23rd June approaches. We can’t promise the same glorious weather we have experienced every year to date but we can promise a warm welcome.

Past Meetings 2019

In January Cliff Porter, training officer and Geoff Todd, membership officer from Liverpool and Merseyside Beekeepers Association presented “Where would we be without Bees”. The emphasis was on how to encourage bees in to the garden. Several myths were dispelled.


On 13th February Anthony Brougham presented “Miracle Planter”.

On 13th March Steve Halliwell, Public Speaker, Author and Biographer presented a talk on “Holker Hall – The Park and Gardens”.

Past Meetings 2018

The October meeting was an informative talk by Maureen Sawyer, a garden designer and consultant, on the A-Z of garden gems. In November – Matthew Smith from Brighter Blooms presented ‘Weeds ~ to love or to loathe’, a topic that effects all gardeners. This talk aimed to get you thinking about weeds differently. Samples of Mare’s Tail and Nettle tea bags were on offer and a variety of bulbs were on sale.

On 27 November, five members visited the World of Glass, St. Helens to attend a talk by Marcus Chilton, Curator at RHS Bridgewater, on ‘The Making of RHS Garden Bridgewater ~ plans and progress’. Members are already planning garden visits and trips for 2019.

The December meeting comprised a fun quiz with a twist, prizes and mince pies. The winning team was “The Girls”, well done!

6th Meeting July 2016

Topic “Oh Dear! What can the ‘Machair’ be? 

gardening-20160129-Machair2Steve Halliwell using his excellent photographic skills took us on a journey exploring the threatened Machair habitat in Hebridean Islands and the flora of the area.

The Gaelic word ‘machair’ means an extensive, low-lying fertile plain. Machair is a type of grassland associated with calcareous sand (mainly made of shell) which has been blown inland from beaches and mobile dunes. Strictly speaking, ‘machair’ refers to a flat sandy plain with dry and wet short-turf grasslands above impermeable rock. However, this term can also cover the beach, foredunes, dune slacks, fens, swamps, lochs and saltmarshes which together form a ‘machair system’.

Machair is one of the rarest habitats in Europe, found only in the north and west of Scotland and Ireland. It is estimated that there are 25,000 hectares of machair worldwide, with 17,500 hectares in Scotland and the remainder in western Ireland. Almost half of the Scottish machair occurs in the Outer Hebrides, with the best and most extensive areas in the Uists, Barra and Tiree.

5th Meeting June 2016

Topic: “Visit to Garden at 79 Crabtree Lane, Burscough”

Gardens 79 Crabtree Lane

Gardens 79 Crabtree Lane

The gardens were specially opened for U3A members, sadly the weather was not kind for the visit but those who attended thought the gardens were excellent. The visit lasted over two hours with our host Peter Curl taking time to explain various aspects of the garden to individual U3A members.

The gardens at 79 Crabtree Lane are part of the National Gardens Scheme which was founded in 1927 to raise money for charities. The garden at Crabtree Lane is ¾ acre in size and over recent years has been changed and replanted but still has many established and contrasting hidden areas. Patio surrounded by shrubs and alpine bed. Colour themed herbaceous and island beds with shrubs. Rose garden, fish pond surrounded by a large rockery and a Koi pond with waterfall, recently rebuilt and shallow area for wildlife. Spring and woodland garden, gravel garden with tender Mediterranean planting and late summer hot bed. Hosta and fern walk. A derelict, dry stone bothy and stone potting shed.

A garden visit that was enjoyed by all and one I feel sure many U3A members would wish to visit again.

4th Meeting May 2016

Topic: “A Long Drive to Lhasa Tibet exploring Alpine Plants”

gardening-2016 globeflowerThe speaker Peter Cordall took us on a botanical journey across Tibet to Lhasa in which we explored the culture and also the alpine plants of the region. The Tibet Plateau  being home to the world’s largest distribution of Alpine plants.

Peter’s talk was a rare glimpse of the flowers of Tibet and will provided us with a view of a beautiful country which sadly most of us will never visit. We saw the culture of the area and visit the beautiful city of Lhasa which is rightly one of the most featured and dreamed about cities in the world. This is not only because of its  high altitude at 11,975 feet which  means remoteness and limited accessibility, but also because of its over 1,000 years’ cultural and spiritual history which leaves an impressive heritage that has helped to create the romantic and mysterious image of Tibet.

Peter is a former science teacher and currently Chairman of the Southport Alpine Garden Society Group. His interests in photography and the sciences has lead to his passion in flower and plant photography and he treated those attending to an enjoyable afternoon.

3rd Meeting April 2016

Topic: “Gresgarth Hall Gardens Through the Seasons”

gardening-20160128-gresgarth-hallThe speaker Steve Halliwell provided a packed meeting with an exciting and informative journey month by month around Gresgarth Hall Gardens. Using hundreds of excellent quality photographs he gave a comprehensive explanation of the changing colours, shapes and textures of the gardens. Steve held his audience enthralled by the shear beauty of the gardens so ably captured by his photography. It was clear that Steve was an expert in his subject and he held his audience spellbound.  Steve is has a keen interest in natural history and bird watching and is a respected author on natural history topics.

Gresgarth Hall Gardens cover 12 acres and are located near Lancaster in a valley cut of the surrounding fields over millennia by a tributary of the river Lune called Artle Beck. The sound of water is ever-present. The terraces descend from the house to the lake, and are planted with roses, clementis and more tender plants in season, and the predominating pinks, purples and silver-whites compliment the rugged grey stone of the Gothic house.  There is no doubt that Gresgarth is one of greatest gardens in Britain.

The 2nd Meeting 2016

gardening-20160129-fuchsiaThe speaker on Monday 14th March on the topic of “All you need to know about Fuchsias” was  Brian Houghton who has over 30 years experience of growing fuchsias. He is President and Secretary to the Merseyside Fuchsia Group also Chairman of the Wigan Fuchsia Society. He is a committee member of the British Fuchsia Society. Brian has a lifetimes interest in the cultivation and propagation of Fuchsias.

Inaugural Meeting 2016

Peter Gateley speaking at the newly re-formed Gardening Group

Peter Gateley speaking at the newly re-formed Gardening Group

The meeting held on 8th February was an outstanding success with a record attendance of 120 people to hear Peter Gateley speak on the topic “A flower for every day”.

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