TAGS has proved to be a good way of making friends as well as learning about gardening and having an allotment.
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, which we hope to resume when safe and economic to do.
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. During COVID these moved to Zoom, but we hope to resume talks in St Nicks in due course.
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.
Details will be added when confirmed.
If you have any ideas for trip or talks then we would be pleased to hear them, just email email@example.com.
Also if you would like to go on any of the trips then please either email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 has not been necessary to book our talks in advance, but post COVID this may now be necessary as numbers will be limited. We would love it if you stay for a chat afterwards over tea, coffee and a biscuit. Zoom talks will have to be booked by email to email@example.com
Saturday 1st May 2021 - SEED AND PLANT SWAP at the Trading Hut at Butts Park 10.30am-12 noon. Bring any spare seeds, seedlings and plants to swap. Bring tea/coffee and enjoy a distanced chat with other members.
Thursday 20th May 2021 - OUTING BY CAR TO STONELANDS
10 acres of gardens near Dawlish. Includes guided tour by head gardener Saul Walker. Times to be agreed, depending on demand.
Entrance £7 plus share of car cost to be agreed with driver.
Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 16th June 2021 - OUTINGS BY CAR TO NGS GARDENS WITHIN 25 MILES OF EXETER
Book via email or phone 01392 877318
1st June - Lewis Cottage EX17 5AA To arrive 2-2.30pm Entrance £4.50 pp, tea/coffee and cake £4.50
4 acre garden located on SW-facing slope in rural Mid Devon. Evolved primarily over last 27 yrs, harnessing and working with the natural landscape.
16th June - Lee Ford EX9 7AJ To arrive 2pm Entrance plus tea/coffee and cake £10 to be paid in advance.
Extensive, formal and woodland garden, recently much extended with mass displays of camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas, incl many rare varieties. Traditional walled garden filled with fruit and vegetables, herb garden, bog garden, rose garden, hydrangea collection, greenhouses. Ornamental conservatory with collection of pot plants.
July - POSSIBLE VISITS TO MEMBERS' GARDENS
Sunday 1st August 2021 - PHOTOGRAPH COMPETITION - Last day for entries.
Details to follow in the Estuary magazine and by email to members. See also Show section.
Friday 20th August 2021 - BBQ hosted by Site Managers (venue to be advised) 6pm Bring your own food and drink to share. All TAGS members welcome.
Sunday 22nd August 2021 - FLOWER AND VEGETABLE SHOW, MATTHEWS HALL
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 15th September 2021 - OUTING BY COACH TO BISHOPS PALACE GARDENS, WELLS
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 £TBA for TAGS members, £TBA for non members.
Monday 18th October 2021 – Mary Montaut on Bees and Plants – the Best of Friends (shared event with Exeter Beekeepers)
Members £3, non members £4 on Zoom. Booking required, max 100.
Saturday 20th November 2021 - OUTING BY COACH TO RHS ROSEMOOR GLOW
Leave Holman Way car park at 2.30pm, The Nelson at 2.35pm. Return Topsham at about 8.30pm. Tickets for coach and entrance to cost £TBA. Supper will need to be booked in advance, details to follow.
Thursday 20th January 2022 - Topsham Wassail starting at Matthews Hall, ending at the Trading Hut. Time to be advised.
Thursday 10th February 2022 - Gardeners Question Time
7.30pm in ST NICHOLAS CHURCH Members £3, non members £4 including tea and coffee, or on Zoom
Our current year's programme before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced was going to be :-
Thursday 23rd April 2020
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 2020
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 2020
OUTING BY COACH TO ABBOTSBURY( Sadly Cancelled CV19)
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 2020
PHOTOGRAPH COMPETITION - Last day for entries. Details to follow in the Estuary magazine and by email to members.
Friday 21st August 2020
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 2020
FLOWER AND VEGETABLE SHOW, MATTHEWS HALL
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 2020
OUTING BY COACH TO BISHOPS PALACE GARDENS, WELLS
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 2020
Katherine Crouch on Plants which should be Better Known 7.30pm in ST NICHOLAS CHURCH Members £3, non members £4 including tea
Saturday 21st November 2020
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.
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.
11th February 2021 - Stonelands Gardens on Zoom
Saul Walker talked 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.
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.
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'
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
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