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President: Mrs P Silvester Chairman: Mr B J Leversha

Newsletter – February 2008 Autumn 2007 Canal Trip
The final visit of the 2007 programme on 1st September was not a garden but rather a trip on the John Pinkerton narrow boat from Colt Hill at Odiham. Some 40 members, including Margaret Grace in her wheelchair enjoyed a cruise to King John’s Castle at North Warnborough with two Society members, namely Nigel Bird and David Jackson, doubling up as volunteer crew. A splendid buffet lunch, provided by Carol and Jean, was enjoyed by all and Nigel gave a brief but informative talk on the history of the 200 year old canal and the restoration work carried out by the Canal Society over the past 40 years.

At Warnborough members were able to disembark to view the castle ruins and the trout in the River Whitewater with some of the more energetic ones enjoying the twenty minute walk to the eastern end of the Greywell Tunnel (not a bat to be seen). Members interested in learning more about the canal should make a point of attending the final talk of the winter programme on 10th April when Roger Cansdale will be giving an illustrated history. Nigel Bird

Dates for your Diary 2008. Visit to Seale Rose Garden 2pm 9th June. Visit to Whispers, Chatter Alley 2.30pm 23rd August. Annual Flower Show and Fete 2pm 26th July.


Social Evenings
The winter season started in September with a talk by Professor Monique Simmons of Kew Gardens on “Plants for Health”. It appears that many of the plants and herbs that our ancestors used and which are now widely ignored are a worthwhile and cheaper substitute for modern medicines and drugs. Kew Gardens are conducting a worldwide search to help lower our medicinal costs. Monique has appeared on television talking about this project. In October, Catherine and David May of the Seale Nurseries near Farnham, told us about the unique method by which they grew their roses. With other growers the briar root stock is mated with a bud from the desired variety of rose that is then planted in the ground to develop. The Mays place theirs in pots which are potted on as the plant grows. This is labour intensive and leads to a slightly more expensive product, but it produces a more mature shrub with a much lower failure rate. We will be visiting their Nursery in June. Chris Howkins, on his second visit to the Society, spoke on “The Sweet Chestnut – a walk in the Park” in November. He told us how the landscape designers introduced the sweet chestnut into England in the 18th Century. It was a pity his talk was not illustrated, but this was partially compensated for by his colourful delivery. The December event followed the established format of a quiz based on a slide show. This year’s subject was “Features of the Basingstoke Canal” (within the three villages) and showed bridges, both existing and demolished, houses and gardens and three benches, one of which was a memorial to that stalwart of Crookham Village, Stan Knight. A map was provided to each group to help them identify the object shown. Len and Pat Silvester kindly provided the refreshments in the form of wine and mince pies. I enjoyed myself. I am told the rest of you did as well! 2008 started with a talk by John Negus on “Gardening with Flair”. This was John’s third visit and he is a very knowledgeable and competent speaker. At the break he asked the audience a series of questions and the packets of seeds he had brought along as prizes disappeared quickly due to the speedy (correct) answers from our members. Our next talk on February 14th will be by that old favourite Geoff Hawkins, Head Gardener at Mill Court near Farnham. He will tell us of “Friends and Foes in the Garden” The Annual General Meeting takes place on March 13th and will be followed by Question Time with a panel of reluctant enthusiasts. The last talk of the current season will be on April 10th when Richard Cansdale will talk on “The History, Restoration and Use of the Basingstoke Canal”. For the Society it has been the year of the Canal with the boat trip last August, the Christmas quiz, this talk and it will be the subject for the Photographic Competition at the Show in July. All the evenings take place in the Women’s Institute in Crookham Village and start at 7.30pm. The new season’s talks will start on September 11th. Running the talks is a team effort by the Committee, ably assisted by Daisy and Chris Spencer. An integral part of the evening are the refreshments with small eats provided at the break. We are looking for a volunteer to buy, prepare and set these out. To make it less onerous we are suggesting that one of you would be prepared to carry this out for just one of our meetings. It is a small commitment which would earn you the gratitude of all the attendees. If you are interested please contact Brian (01252 615534) or myself (01252 613840).


John and Sally Selfe have kindly invited us to visit their garden, “Whispers” in Chatter Alley, Dogmersfield at 2.30pm on Saturday 23rd August. The entrance fee will be £3 which will be a donation to the Samantha Dickson Trust, a very worthwhile local charity. Lunch can be taken at the Queen’s Head. Further details will be published later. In addition Whispers will be open to the general

public on Sunday July 6th under the “Yellow Book” Scheme. So if you cannot join us in August you may like to visit them then, or you could go on both occasions as there will be different plants in bloom.

Patrick Grace


From our Chairman
As I write this article for the early spring newsletter it is a dark, cold winter’s night. It is hard to realise that in a few months we will be getting near to setting up the Flower Show and all that goes with the show. I went into my photo file of all the photos that I took at last year’s Show and could not help but admire all the effort that exhibitors especially the young put into their exhibits. The colour that we do not get in the winter really is made up in the summer. Mind you the sunrise and sunsets that we have had recently are incredible. Also having the robins following me around for food from just about every tub that is moved makes up for the cold and darkness. We have had some very good talks this winter season and the 44 experts that took part in our Christmas quiz on the Basingstoke Canal thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of our President Pat Silvester who provided the wine and mince pies. Thanks must also go to Patrick Grace who carries out so much research for the quizzes every year. The AGM is to be held on March the 13th and as usual will be a social evening after the humdrum of the formalities. We have a new Treasurer, Sue Couldwell who has joined the Committee and we welcome her and wish her luck. We are looking for someone to join the Committee to take on the task of organising the summer visits that we have. If you fancy the job please contact me on 01252-615534 and I can answer any questions you may have. The visits for 2008 have already been booked. So we hope to see you at one of the talks, visits or the Flower Show and Fete on the 26th July and maybe, if you have the energy, at the Barn Dance in the main marquee on the Show evening.

Brian Leversha


Introducing our new Treasurer
My name is Sue Couldwell and I have been a treasurer of something or other since my college days in the 80s. I have a husband, three children and four dogs (two St Bernards). My love of gardening started when I could toddle and I would follow my uncle around learning the names of plants and how to treat them. My own garden is full of cuttings and gifts from friends so it is chaotic but makes me happy when I potter around in it. I am very proud to have been chosen as Treasurer and look forward to meeting you soon and to many many years of service on this hard working committee.

Sue Couldwell


New Benefits for Members.
The Church Crookham Garden Society (CCGS) has suggested and your committee has agreed that members of our Society should have Associate Membership of the CCGS for the coming year. The main benefit of this, as some of you will know, is access to the CCGS Sales Shed which will be between 10.00 and 11.15 on Saturday mornings from 9th February to 20th September 2008. The shed stocks a wide range of growing media, chemicals and gardening sundries and is manned by volunteers each week. Some examples of prices: A B Multipurpose Compost 70ltr £3.30 Blood Fish & Bone 3kg £1, 25kg £8.50p Bamboo Canes 3ft 6p, 8ft 20p Growmore 3kg £1, 25kg £6 John Innes Compost 25ltr £2.40p Grass Seed with Rye ½ lb £1 Weed Feed & Moss Killer 3kg £2 Weedol £1.20p per sachet In general one can save 25%+ on most regular prices in the shops and garden centres. In addition to the above members bring along plants to sell on the 19th April, 3rd and 17th May. The CCGS shows will be held on 28 March & 30 August 2008 and Associate Members are welcome to enter the open classes in the latter show (no entry fees). The Sales Shed is situated in the car-park of the Church Crookham Memorial Hall at the western end of Sandy Lane and there is plenty of parking space. Please take your D,W&CVHS membership card with you as without this you will not be able to make a purchase. Your Society is paying £20 for this membership so please do make use of the facilities offered. A number of your committee members are currently members of CCGS and have saved themselves a lot of money over the years in their garden supplies. Ian Simpson

Full family membership of the Society is available to all residents of the three villages, giving free entry to the Annual Show and Fete, access to the Church Crookham Garden Society Sales Shed, entry to the annual draw for two Chelsea Flower Show tickets, 50% off admission to our monthly talks and social evenings and other benefits. Associate Family Membership is available to others and carries the same benefits, save that of entry to the Competition Classes at the Annual Show which requires membership for at least six months prior to the show date. £5.00 p.a. £3.00 p.a.

FULL/ASSOCIATE FAMILY MEMBERSHIP FULL/ASSOCIATE SENIOR CITIZEN FAMILY MEMBERSHIP Please make cheques payable to Dogmersfield, Winchfield & Crookham Village Horticultural Society (you might want to abbreviate this to D.W.& C.V. Horticultural Society). Bank Standing Order payment is very helpful. Forms are available, and should be posted to, the

Membership Secretary: Steve Thirkettle, 21 Hawkwell, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 8XF. (email: (tel: 01252 684067) Please enclose SSAE for membership card.

Name:…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Address:………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Tel No: ………………………………


ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Dogmersfield, Winchfield and Crookham Village Horticultural Society
Thursday 13th March 2008 – 7.30 p.m. At the W.I. Hall, The Street, Crookham Village


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President’s Welcome Minutes of Annual General Meeting, 2007 Approve the Chairman’s Report on the work of the Society during the preceding year Approve the Annual Accounts signed by the Auditor and Chairman, following a brief presentation by the Treasurer Election of Officers – Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee Members. Consider any motion which has been notified to the Secretary of the Society in the last 28 days prior to the date of the AGM and which has been circulated to all Members Ratify the motion that “Associate Members of a minimum 6 months standing be allowed to enter exhibits in the Annual flower Show” Draw two tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show from a list of current Members. Any other business





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There will be refreshments after the AGM and then, at about 8.30, there will be a return of Gardeners’ Question Time with a knowledgeable local panel giving tips and answering your gardening questions. Bring along your queries and see how many different answers you can get from the panel.