Until the beginning of the 1980s, Little Waltham’s gardeners met only for the Annual Flower Show run by the local Council and Iris & Don Diver in particular. When this couldn’t be sustained, two enthusiasts – John Butcher and John Lamb (working where else but the local butcher’s shop!), set about forming a Gardening Club which would meet regularly and keep a Show going. They became the recruiting agency and such was their selling ability that soon the Little Waltham Gardening Club was up and running.
Our membership included a past President of the National Rose Society – the late Mr Dick Balfour MBE – who was instrumental in getting a large number of roses planted in the village. The Club continues to be involved in village events such as local Church Flower Festivals and to mark the Millennium an Autumn Flowering Cherry Tree was planted in the grounds of Broomfield Hospital.
The Club has gone from strength to strength and continues to draw in members and visitors from Little Waltham and the surrounding area. There are six evening meetings, three outings in the Summer months and a social event in December. The Spring Show in April is a colourful event which includes exhibits of Spring Flowers, cookery, craft, photography and flower arranging. We hold flower arranging workshops from time to time.
The Club has also instigated an Annual Quiz Competition between local Clubs and been a frequent winner, bur friendly cooperative association with other Clubs is the most important outcome.
In the early 1990s the Club took part in the Essex County Show and under Paul Salmon’s leadership won first prize three years running in the Horticultural Club/Society challenge cup competition.
In 2006 the Club hosted Radio 4’s ‘Gardeners’ Question Time ‘ in the Northumberland Building at Writtle College
Other notes about Little Waltham Gardening Club
First formed 14th March 1983
Inaugural Meeting held 9th May 1983
Pip Wickham was Chairman since the first meeting, followed by Janet Wood in 2007 and Maggie Williams (a founder member) in 2010. Maggie has also been Club Secretary since 1986.
Iris Diver, also a founder member has been Club President since 1994