pink flat daisy style flower dark leaves

Denman College Women’s Institute – Six on Saturday – 13 10 18

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I’ve been down south to Oxfordshire, for a crafting weekend with my mum. We are both members of the Women’s Institute (motto – inspiring women!) her in a small town in Berkshire and me in a new Institute in the centre of Manchester ( I’d seen on an email about a ‘mothers and daughters’ weekend at the Denman College, the WI’s education centre in Oxfordshire, and asked my Mum if she wanted to join me. It’s a lovely place to spend the weekend – and the food is great too. I had a lot of fun learning new skills – and meeting new people – it’s a packed schedule as youre on the go from breakfast at 745am until the entertainments finish about 930pm.

Denman was founded in 1948 – it’s played a big part in teaching women (and men) skills and is an important part of the history of the Women’s Institute. The main building is listed – and running costs are high so we’ll see if this remains part of the Institute’s activities in the future. Member’s come from all over the country, often funded by bursaries.

1. Denman – a mini-mansion

We didn’t stay in the mansion though some people do. Instead, there are mini blocks in the grounds with well-appointed ensuite rooms much like those on University Campuses.

A slightly wonky sundial

2. Borders πŸ˜‰

Always good to name your borders πŸ˜‰

3. Dahlias everywhere

These are my favourite types of dahlias – I’ve grown the various ‘bishop’ colours before but all my dahlias struggled this year despite the hot weather in June/July – it should have suited them as they originate in Mexico.

pink flat daisy style flower dark leaves

This ‘might’ be ‘Single Romeo’ dahlia or one of the many ‘Bishops’?

There were dahlias around the grounds – and looked great but many were a bit munched. I couldn’t take many photos as it hurled down much of the time – and we had a packed schedule.

Teaching Block – inc the WI cookery school

Any suggestions from my gardening pals what the dahlias might be?

4. Sunflowers

There were plenty of sunflowers too – mostly the same variety.

5. Summer House – aka hut

Green wooden summer house at Denman

Summer House Denman

There were a couple of chairs in the hut πŸ™‚ what a peaceful place to relax. I’d love to have a summer house but our garden is too small – but I’ll be reading books on our new arbour in our garden next year.

6. Statues and Fountains

Stone Fountain in a small pond Denman College

Fountain Denman College

The sedum, lavender and salvia were looking lovely. It’s a very peaceful place to spend some time.

The extensive herb garden – there were some late orange roses flowering – and a beautiful statue πŸ™‚

Our weekend course – mostly jewellery making and paper cutting

It was taster sessions so we could try three different skills – others people did flower arranging, making chocolate truffles and crochet too. There were about 80 off us – a very wide age range – mum’s ranged in age from 60s to 80s – and daughters from 20s to 50s (like me) some WI members and some not. I had a really good time with my mum and learnt how to make silver clay jewellery, beaded jewellery as well as paper cutting πŸ™‚ I LOVE SILVER CLAY JEWELLERY – it was so easy and straightforward to do. I’ll write more about what I learnt soon. As they say on the website – it’s never too late to learn something new…

Flower arranging courses at Denman

I’ve been to Denman twice before in Spring and Autumn 2016 – we used flowers, sprigs and seedpods from around Denman too.

Here’s my Pumkin flower arrangement in honour of Halloween from my Denman visit in October 2016.

And here’s my tutor Christine’s arrangement – isn’t it stunning?

Spring flowers – wreath making

I wrote about the Spring workshop here:

spring wreath - tulips, roses,

Spring wreath I made at Women’s Institute Denman College – 1st April 2016

I’ve made wreaths since this course, and are planning another in the run-up to Christmas – the course gave me a lot of confidence how to do this and other flower arrangements too.


I’m joining in with The Propagator (Six on Saturday – 13 10 2018) and the gardening bloggers from around the world for Six on Saturday – six photos from around the garden, any garden – can be anything. Find The Propagator on Twitter (@cavershamjj) on the hashtag on Twitter too – #sixonsaturday

I’ll be back taking photos of my own garden next week – it’s been buffeted by the weather so we’ll see what’s still blooming. I’ve been away for three weekends on the trot so I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend pottering around – fingers crossed it’s dry.

Is there a skill you’d like to learn if money was no object? Let me know in the comments.


Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx

27 thoughts on “Denman College Women’s Institute – Six on Saturday – 13 10 18

  1. Naomi

    This sounds awesome! I’ve always wanted to join the WI, they always seem to get up to such fantastic activities and what a setting for this one!

    1. Bec - views from my garden bench Post author

      there’s so many wonderful things to do within the Women’s Institute – I hope you find one to join – you’re reminded me I should add a link to find your local WI in this post πŸ™‚ love Bec πŸ™‚

  2. Chloe Chats

    This place looks beautiful! The flowers are lovely, especially the Sunflowers. I’m sure if the weather was a bit nicer I bet it would have been lovely to just sit in the sun and take in the surroundings. The activities you can do sound great too, I’d love to have a go at the flower arranging, would be nice to make a wreath. I love the idea of making chocolate truffles – sounds tasty! Sounds like a great place to meet people and also sounds very relaxing. Lovely blog post.

    Chloe x

    1. Bec - views from my garden bench Post author

      it’s a beautiful place to relax πŸ™‚
      Maybe have a look around locally for some craft classes – here in Manchester the museums and art galleries run wreath-making – good fun πŸ™‚ and women’s institute’s meet allover the UK – so maybe there’s a lively one near you? Love Bec πŸ™‚

  3. helenevlacho

    Wonderful places! And all these beautiful flowers! I love that little green house, would be perfect in my garden too.

  4. thebarefootangel

    What incredible grounds!! Those dahlias do look spectacular – I love all your flower photography! Glad you got some chances to go outside amidst all the rain! Charlie xo

  5. Beth Berger

    Dahlias and sunflowers are a few of my very favorite flowers! Love that little summer home–I agree that I would love to have one if my back garden had room for it. Some day! I like to tell my husband he should build me my very own “SHE SHED” heehee <3

    1. Bec - views from my garden bench Post author

      Denman in Marcham one of those super cute Oxfordshire villages with thatched roofs and dinky cottages. Aye the Women’s Institute is great fun – I’ve been a member about five years now – learnt such alot and many new friends. love Bec πŸ™‚

  6. mindfulpoints

    Beautiful flowers! I made two wreaths myself by just using my imagination, no guidance. Currently working on my flute skills, and it’s not easy! πŸ™‚ It’s always fun to learn something new! I am sure you have lots of interest in your wreath making classes.

  7. Sonia

    That look like a beautiful place to take photos! Love all the pink flowers – so pretty and the sunflowers too x

  8. Tori Harrison

    Loving the photography and what a beautiful place you got to stay in! I’d love to read about your Christmas Wreaths as I’d really like to do a course to make one, but I just don’t have the time πŸ™ xx

  9. Southern Mummy (@southern_mummy)

    This place looks beautiful, and what a great idea to have a mothers and daughters weekend. This is what I imagine I would love to do with a mum, unfortunately me and my mum don’t have this kind of relationship, its ok, I just could never imagine her doing something like this…maybe I could get my MIL to come!


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