TAGS Social Events

TAGS has proved to be a good way of making friends as well as learning about gardening and having an allotment.

Mulled Cider at trading hut

Topsham Wassail - Cancelled due to lockdown because of Covid 19

We work with Topsham Folk Club on the Topsham Wassail on the third Thursday in January too when we also host the final sing song in the Trading Hut.

See below for a 'DIY Topsham Wassail for 2021'

DIY Topsham Wassail for 2021

Traditionally the Topsham Wassail is the 3rd Thursday of January, this year the 21st. Obviously we are unable to gather and muster this year, but we don’t want the faithful trees of Topsham to go uncelebrated. So if you have a fruit tree in your garden, we encourage you to wassail it on Thursday 21st. I suggest 6pm, but it’s up to you. After dark is best.

You will need:

A fruit tree


Cider or fruit juice


Something to bash and make a noise

A warm coat

Optional extras:

Licensed shotgun

Apple cake


Children (wassail virgin).


1. Place toast in the tree to encourage robins

2. Sing the Topsham wassail song and chant to the tree (see below)

3. Pour some cider or fruit juice on the roots

4. Make a loud noise to awake the tree.

5. Retreat back inside to drink cider and eat apple cake.

Topsham wassail song -  with thanks to Adrian and Lucy Wynn of the Topsham Folk Club

(We hope to get video of tune to upload by 21st, but why not make up your own tune!)

In the orchard dark we muster

North wind whistles in the northwood tree

Gather Topsham sing and rattle

We’ll bring cider back to thee


Prosper, Greasy Soldier, prosper

In these orchard soils of old

Gather round and Old Tom Putt

Will flow and fill your wassail bowl



Here’s to thee Old Apple tree

That blooms well, bears well,

Hats full, caps full,

Three bushel bags full

And all under one tree!

For any enthusiasts, here are some links to other traditional, more familiar wassail songs:

Gloucestershire Wassail · Ian Giles https://youtu.be/Ttn_bh8rAzA

 The Somerset Wassail - Magpie Lane -  https://youtu.be/rWgZGsGLNUk

 Here We Come A Wassailing - The Watersons  https://youtu.be/ggkJTKqboIY

Sarah Chesters introducing Rosemoor


In normal years we organise three trips to gardens, usually including one to RHS Rosemoor where we can take advantage of our affiliation to the RHS by offering free entrance. Most of the trips are by coach.

Gardeners Question Time

Winter events

We also organise at least 3 winter events, usually talks by garden experts on a wide range of subjects. We often host a “Gardeners Question Time” with 3 local garden experts on the panel

John Harris


As an Affiliated member, the Society has a card available for Members to borrow, which permits reduced entry for 2 people to RHS Wisley, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr.  Contact Social Secretaries to borrow the card.

Zoom Talks

11th February 2021 - Stonelands Gardens now on Zoom

TAGS is pleased that the talk, which we had arranged for 11th February at 7.30pm, can go ahead, via Zoom.

Saul Walker is going to talk about Stonelands:- One of Devon's Garden Secrets, where he is head gardener.  Saul has a wealth of gardening knowledge which he is putting to good use.  He has stood in to answer questions, when needed, for Toby Buckland on his Sunday garden show on Radio Devon and is making quite a name for himself in gardening circles.  Stonelands is a private estate near Dawlish and has an extensive collection of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.  We are hoping to follow up Saul's talk with a visit by car later this year, hopefully on 20th May, COVID related restrictions allowing.

If you would like to "attend" the talk please contact David and Stella McLarin on topshamags@gmail.com, so they can send you the Zoom link. TAGS is paying for the talk and we'd be grateful for a donation of a few pounds, via bank transfer,to help cover our cost and help fund our social programme.


8th October 2020 - Plants which should be Better Known

Sadly because of the current pandemic we have had to suspend most of our planned programme.  However we were very pleased to have Katherine Crouch's talk using Zoom.

Over 30 TAGS members tuned in for this entertaining and enlightening talk, giving us all fresh ideas for what would work in our gardens next year. The talk ranged from alpines, snowdrops and hostas suitable for very small gardens to Campanula lactiflora, Inula magnifica and others for large gardens. Also for those who despair of growing delphiniums she suggests trying Aconitum napellus. We have had very positive feedback for this our first Zoom talk.

With the current situation on COVID we hope to switch our planned talk from Saul Walker on Stonelands, the garden near Dawlish for which he is head gardener, to a Zoom talk as well.

If you have any ideas for trip or talks then we would be pleased to hear them, just email topshamags@gmail.com.

Also if you would like to go on any of the trips then please either email topshamags@gmail.com or phone the Social Secretaries on 01392 877318. We prefer payment to be made at least 2 weeks before the trips, some do get sold out so don't leave it too late. Cash or cheques made payable to Topsham Allotments and Gardens can be left in the Trading Hut or sent to the Social Secretaries at 67 Newcourt Road, Topsham EX3 0BU.
It is not normally necessary to book our talks in advance, just come on the day and we would love it if you stay for a chat afterwards over tea, coffee and a biscuit.

Garden visit

Programme - Suspended due to COVID-19

Our current year's programme before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced was going to be :-

Thursday 23rd April

OUTING BY COACH TO CAERHAYES CASTLE ( Sadly Cancelled CV19) 140 acres of gardens. Includes hour long guided tour of the Castle. Leave Holman Way car park at 9.30am, The Nelson at 9.35am. Return Topsham at about 6pm. Tickets for coach, garden and house to cost £25 for TAGS members, £26 for non members.

Saturday 2nd May

SEED AND PLANT SWAP at the Trading Hut at Butts Park 10.30am-12 noon. Bring any spare seeds, seedlings and plants to swap on the day. Enjoy tea/coffee and chat with other members. ( Sadly Cancelled CV19 but we are still trying to do something!)

Tuesday 9th June

Includes gardens and swannery Leave Holman Way car park at 9.30am, The Nelson at 9.35am. Return Topsham at about 5pm. Tickets for coach and garden to cost £24.00 for members, £25.00 for non members.

Saturday 15th August

PHOTOGRAPH COMPETITION - Last day for entries.  Details to follow in the Estuary magazine and by email to members.

Friday 21st August

BBQ hosted by Site Managers (venue to be advised) 6pm Bring your own food and drink to share. All TAGS members welcome.

Sunday 23rd August


Staging of entries and judging in the morning. Open to the public at 2pm. Why not give it a go, it's free to enter and free admission to the Show. All surplus produce
welcome for the stall. 

Wednesday 9th September


Gardens, Bishops Palace and market. Includes hour long guided tour. Leave Holman Way car park at 9.30am, The Nelson at 9.35am. Return Topsham at
about 5pm. Tickets for coach, garden and Palace to cost £17 for TAGS members, £18 for non members.

Thursday 8th October

Katherine Crouch on Plants which should be Better Known 7.30pm in ST NICHOLAS CHURCH Members £3, non members £4 including tea
and coffee.

Saturday 21st November

OUTING BY COACH TO RHS ROSEMOOR GLOW - Sadly because of Covid this has had to be cancelled

Leave Holman Way car park at 1.30pm, The Nelson at 1.35pm. Return Topsham at about 9pm. Tickets for coach and entrance to cost £10 for TAGS members, £11 for
non members. Supper will need to be booked in advance details to follow. 

Winter Talks

Thursday 21st January 2021 - Cancelled due to Covid 19

Topsham Wassail starting at Matthews Hall, ending at the Trading Hut. Time to be advised.

Thursday 11th February 2021 - now on Zoom, see details above

Saul Walker on Stonelands:- One of Devon's Garden Secrets 7.30pm in ST NICHOLAS CHURCH Members £2, non members £3 including tea and coffee.

Programmes for previous years:  2019-20   2018-19.