Category Archives: Garden Club


From August 2015 new programmes will only be available in the  Calendar.

Hanleys’ Garden Club (2015-16)

Welcome to our new programme: for all summer visits please bring a chair

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Hanleys’ Garden Club (2014-15)

Welcome to our new programme: for all summer visits please bring a chair

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Hanleys’ Garden Club (2013-14)

Welcome to our new programme: for all summer visits please bring a chair

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Hanleys’ Garden Club (2012-13)

Welcome to our new programme: for all summer visits please bring a chair

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The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative – Vines Distribution in the Villages

Jenny and Joanna

The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative’s project to grow vines in the community and then harvest the grapes and make wine has got off to a smooth start, a descriptor that we hope will apply to our wine! 100 vines were purchased and distributed to the various interested parties towards the end of April. The photographs show Joanna Bowles and Jenny McGowran of the organising group, hard at work having fun on distribution day, and two satisfied ‘customers’, Neil Hornby and his daughter Christie receiving vines from Jenny, ready to go off and do the planting.

The vines have been placed with 36 individuals and 3 organisations They are planted at 38 different locations – private gardens, allotments, Hanley Castle Secondary School, The Bridge gardens (The Bridge Education Centre is a local charity offering City & Guilds courses in Horticulture and Animal Care) and in the horticultural grounds of Aalps College (AALPS is an Adolescent to Adult Life Preparation Service offering specialist support to young people aged 15 to 25 with autistic spectrum disorders).

Neil and Christie

The project has achieved one of its first objectives – to disperse itself widely within the community and bring together parts of the community with different backgrounds, skills and interests that will improve the chances of the project becoming a success. Once the project is established,  harvesting, pressing and bottling will provide many opportunities for project participants to get together, have fun and learn new skills whilst working together to achieve an enjoyable end goal.

The vines are now sprouting and are about 600mm tall. This year’s harvest will not be suitable for wine making and it may not be until the 2013 harvest that the grapes will be ready for full scale wine making. In the intervening time the group will stay in touch through meetings of the Hanleys’ Garden Club and an annual summer party where participants can exchange experiences and yes you’ve guessed it – have some fun!


Gardeners’ Market (June 2011)

The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative – Log Sales

Fund raising for Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative’s project for growing vines in the village gardens, harvesting the grapes and making wine, continues, but fund raising from selling logs to villagers has now come to an end. Posters in the village proved very effective in promoting the sale.

The logs had been cut from a 400 year old oak tree that came down in 2008 in the grounds of Drakes Place after heavy rain and high winds. The tree could be older – the girth of its trunk at the base is around 5m (16ft)! All that now remains of the trunk of this once proud oak (see photograph) is the section at its base which lies where it fell. The main section of trunk was taken away by a local mill. The branches were cut up for logs and all that is now left of the branches are a few large forked pieces that are too difficult to split by hand. The last of the logs were delivered on 29th January 2011 to Malcolm Heal of the Swan Inn and Mel Bryant at Roberts End.

The price set for sale of the logs was approximately half the price at which logs are available from local suppliers. This is consistent with the objective of the Cooperative to support the community by benefiting those prepared to support the funding of the project as well as those taking part.

A special mention is due to Gwen Meacham of Little Acorns, who purchased the largest quantity of logs and is therefore the biggest benefactor of the Cooperative to date. In total the sale of logs reached a total of £376.00. It goes part way to reaching the Cooperative’s target (see the article on the village web site under ‘Garden Club’ for further information). Meanwhile, members of the Cooperative are scheming new ways of funding the project.

The Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative

The idea for a wine cooperative within the Garden Club, that would grow vines, harvest the grapes and make wine, was mooted at one of the Club’s summer meetings in 2010.  It had been felt that the activities of the cooperative would have a positive effect on membership, increase interaction with the village community, provide an enjoyable outdoor pursuit and afford an opportunity to involve other parties, such as the local primary school. The idea received overwhelming approval and the Hanleys’ Wine Cooperative was born.

Since then, a working group of Joanna Bowles, Jenny McGowran and Russell Farraday has been busy taking the first steps towards making the cooperative a reality. The idea of a wine cooperative is not original, and a similar organisation calling itself the Urban Wine Company is thriving in London. Nevertheless, local vineyards were consulted on the feasibility of the cooperative here in Worcestershire. The advice and help of Denis and Ann Savage of Coddington Vineyard and Sandy Barker of Tiltridge Vineyard are acknowledged with thanks. They gave freely of their advice and saw the potential for the cooperative to be a success.

Based on the advice given, the working group undertook on behalf of the membership, the ‘arduous’ task of sampling the various wines and then selecting vines for the Cooperative. Based on taste and the ease with which they can be grown, Bacchus and Reichensteiner vines in the ratio 2:1, were selected. The grapes from the Bacchus will dominate the taste and aroma of the wine whilst the Reichensteiner vines, which are more prolific grape producers, will produce approximately half of the total yield of grapes despite only being one third of the total number of vines. The wine product is expected to be typically English – light crisp and aromatic. The Bacchus vine is the 3rd most popular vine grown in England and the Reichensteiner the 5th most popular. Between them, they represent 15% of the vines currently growing in the UK.

One hundred vines have been purchased from available Club funds and will be delivered by the supplier in April for free distribution to members and the local primary school. The membership fee, which is due in March, is £5 and membership is open to new members with general gardening interests or with interests only in the activities of the Cooperative. Vines are still available to anyone wanting to take up membership before April. Guidance notes on planting and caring for the vines will be issued to members and support will be given to those who need help getting started (soil preparation and support structure erection) from within the Club membership.

The Cooperative will become members of the South West Vineyards Association (the SWVA), an organisation which supports small vineyards. It is one of the six regional associations, which cover the wine growing areas of England and Wales. The SWVA covers an area from Cornwall to Dorset, north to Shropshire, the Marches and Wales. Membership of the SWVA will provide support to the Cooperative and a forum in which it can seek advice.

The yield of grapes in 2011 is unlikely to be in the quantity or of the quality suitable for wine making, so the Cooperative is aiming to make 2012 its first year for wine making. It intends to purchase its own wine processing plant and involve as many of the membership as possible in harvesting and processing the grapes and in bottling the wine. The primary school will be involved in designing the bottle label as well as being significant contributors to the grape harvest.

At this stage it is hard to estimate the number of bottles of wine that will be produced, but all members of the Cooperative should get one bottle and any surplus used to help fund the Cooperative. On which matter, the Cooperative will need funding for purchasing wine processing equipment. To purchase new, the equipment could cost in excess of £1500; and in addition there will be consumable costs (bottles, corks, shrink wraps). It may be possible to purchase equipment second hand but even so, there will be a significant fund raising target, which to achieve, will test the ingenuity of members. The challenge is set, but as encouragement, all Cooperative members should keep the end prize in mind – that bottle of your own, delicious English wine.

Hanleys’ Garden Club (2010-11)


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