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Link to: March 2020 Newsletter in pdf form.

Chairmans Jottings

I read the introductory paragrah to my jottings of this time last year. I said, "Reflecting over the past twelve months, I can only say what a year we have had weather wise2. Little did I know that this year would surpass anything I have ever known. So much rain, but still mild. So much wind, not mine, and so much damage. Daffodils and other flowers flowering well before their due time, I can only hope our exhibitors are able to produce another splendid year.

Elsewhere I have paid tribute to the wonderful Audrey White, and I also cover my attendance at the AGM of The Hampshire Federation of Horticutural Societies.

Our lectures continue to be well supported. Our ticketed event held at the H.I.A.D.S theatre in Station Road, on the 23rd October, delivered by Pip Bensley, it was entitled "Everything you need to know about climbers", from the numbers attending perhaps no the correct title for the talk. The presentation was excellent and listened to by an attentive audience who certainly showed their appreciation at the end of the talk. The venue was very comfortable so a vote of thanks to the staff for their kind co-operation.

In so far as our AGM is concerned, I am so grateful yet again to John and Janet Lark and everyone else who helped set up the room: plus, of course, June Kemp in the unusual surrounds of the Bowling Club kitchen. Booking the hall for the AGM has been a nightmare! Most of you will be aware that we normally have Large Hall of the URC, but they had double booked the room, and forgotten to advise us. The Community Centre had come to our rescue by offering us the Upper Room of the new extension, we knew from the expected number, that the accommodation would be tight. On the night of the AGM we arrived to discover that we had been moved to the Bowls Club Room and believe you me it was "cosy". My sincere thanks to all those who attendd. You will be relieved to know that we are back in the Large Hall of the URC for 2020.

I thoroughly enjoyed the January lecture "Plot to Plate" by Alan Williams, and it is with great regret that I will miss the February talk, Peter Barwick is a completely down to earth chap. Before he retired he was the top man for Lord Selborne and get him talking about supplying apples to Tesco's!

Thanks to Lesley Tyrrell and her distributors/collectors collecting the Annual Subs. Fingers crossed for Tim Speller and his team for the Spring Show on Saturday 28th March. Remember: all the shows this year are at Hayling College, - plenty of car parking.

Bill Biggs, Chairman

In Rememberance of Audrey White

I am certain may of you knew Audrey, but how many of us knew the real Audrey?

Peeling away the layers revealed a lady that not many of us knew completely, she wasn't mysterious of hiding skeletons in the cupboard, but she was an extraordinary human being; and, what she did would make many of us hold our heads in envy, disbelief or simple amazement.

Other than Peter Collett I believe that Audrey was the longest serving member of our Society, She held so many different offices in our organisation. I cannot possibly recall them all, but those that I can are as follows: Show Steward, Show Chief Steward, Show Manager, Assessor, a what I hear some cry. In the past the Societies of the Hampshire Federation were invited to take part in a competition in which the winning organisation would be awared the Frampton Trophy. The competition ran for many years, and looking back at the records, it reveals that on the whole on there were 2 Societies who would be neck and next at the end of the Show Year, The Castle Winchester and Hayling Island. I believe we won the last 5 years in a row, and Audrey was one of the mainstays. It also explains to many newer members why we still remain committed to the standard of dressing the tables, including hoovering the clothes after the judging has taken place. It also explains the diviging ribbons running down the middle of each table, the dividing strips, we use black one for better effect, these were both stipulations of the Frampton Committee members. I personally still take great pride that we remain close to the judging standard of yesteryear, much of the credit currently going to John Lark.

Audrey, as an Assessor woudl visit other clubs/societies that had entered the competition, and together with another Assessor from a different club would judge the tables layout of an overall presentation of a mark of 100%. Hayling Island often achieved a mark in excess of 98%, and then only win by perhaps 0.3% after 3 shows. Incidentally in addition to Audrey we had 3 more Assessors they were Keith Jay, and his wife Veronica, plus Margaret Turner. I think we were possibly the only club to have 4 Assessors.

Audrey carried out these duties whilst holding a very senios position at IBM in Havant; and, on the personal side she was still caring for her father and stepmother. Years ago, she would enter fruit, vet and flowers.

Advertising & Sponsorship

Thanks for to Members who have placed an advert or sponsored classes at our Shows, you support it is much appreciated. Had a change to look at your new Yearbook? I hope you agree that this year's is the best yet. The Lions Club have once again given us a very generous donation, this time £750, to be used for our schools' projects and our local MP, Alan Mak, has again given us £150 towards Show prize money. In additon, Steven Schrier has pledged £100 per year towards our Shows and other projects. Sadly, we have lost a loyal sponsor in Audrey White.

Several adverisers decided to increase their adverts to a whole page this time which, of course, brings in more revenue - "every little helps!"

If you are the owner of a local business, or knw anyone who is, then why not advertise in our next Yearbook? This goes out to about 800 homes on the Island and 40 off. The cost is £100 for a whole page, £50 for half and £25 fo a quarter. My contact details are opposite page 1 of the Book, or you can email on mags.martin1@sky.com and we can take if from there. Although I don't start work on next year's Book until September I can reserve you a space in the 2021 edition.

Lastly, if you use any of our advertisers please tell them that you saw thier advert in the Yearbook, this will ensure they advertise again.

Maggie Martin, Advertising & Sponsorship

AGM of The Hampshire Federation of Horticutural Societies

Together with Margaret Turner, the Society's Secretary, Ann and I attended the above meeting. For those of you who are unaware of the proceedings, I should explain that the morning session, which commences at 10am, normally consists of two talks covering topics aimed at Show Managers, Stewards, and, in particular, those who are involved with the stewarding of the Championship Classes.

This year there were two talks, the first covering Sweet Peas given by Jim McDonald, and the second by Paul Dalby advising on Dahlias.

Jim revealed that the Sweet Pea Trials previously held at RHS Wisley and RHS Harlow Carr were now being undertaken by Sparsholt College in the South and Askam Bryan at York in the North.The difference in growing ties was approximately two weeks with the South in advance of the North, however the North stock on the whole seemed to be stronger.

Many of the present varieties have been available from 1900 or there about, Jim also mentioned that Unwins had a good track record in respect of Sweet Peas. As an aside, Ann's wedding bouquet back in 1961 contained Sweet Peas.

Having regard to the professional growers, they are now required to grow 4 blooms per stem, Jim added that the old-fashioned Grandiflora had a scent that "knocked your head off". He talked of semi-dwarf, and, new to me, ground covering plants.

On the growing side Jim recommended that the seeds should be sown in a greenhouse or cold grame. To give them a good start, he advised that at 2" high, the plants should be pinched out.

He paid credit to the present students at both Askam Bryan and Sparsholt for being so enthusiastic in their part in the trails. They have also expereimented with having a water system beneath the growing plants. Jim feeding the plants with blood fish and bone at 2oz per square yard, he prefers to plant out during March/April. Jim finally advised the number of Sweet Peas that were capable of giving good blooms, many of which are contained in our packets of mixed varieties. He also recommended himself and Roger Parsons for obtaining seeds, some may remember that Roger has been one of the speakers to our own Society.

Jim was folloed by Paul Dalby who spoke on Dahlias. He ran through the various ring sizes and bringing the audience up to date on the new fresh approach being used by the judges. Paul then concentrated on the Serious Faults that judges would look for, namely: Malformed Faces looking downward Badly Damaged Limp/drooping florets
Paul then spent the remainder of his time answering questions ranging from planting out times to pricing out, dividing old tubers, to colour blending. All in all, two very interesting talks.

Bill Biggs, Chairman