Welcome to Church Crookham Garden Society

16th December 2016

Church Crookham Garden Society, Fleet, Hampshire UKA vibrant garden society active in Church Crookham, FLEET, Hampshire. We hold several annual events and shows and run a comprehensively stocked stores hut with discounts for members.


Church Crookham Garden Society was formed in 1954 as the Ryelaw Garden Society. It was founded by residents of Ryelaw Road as an outlet for their interest in gardening.

At some time in its early stages, the Society began marketing garden supplies and until 1997 traded from sheds located in Moore Close.

The name of the Society was changed to Church Crookham Garden Society to reflect the wider residential location of its members.

Shows were organised and now two shows per year are held, one in the spring and one in late summer.

In 1997 the ground occupied by the Society’s sheds was subject to planning consent for residential building and the Society moved to a purpose built concrete structure located in the car park of the Crookham Memorial Hall in Sandy Lane, Church Crookham.

The Society is run by two committees:

  • Main committee
  • Show committee

Each committee is made up of elected members, and is chaired by the Society Chairman.


January Hints and Tips

9th January 2019


Reasons to be Cheerful

The shortest day has been and gone and the daily period of light has, almost imperceptibly, increased.  The infra-red wavelengths penetrate the soil and activate enzymes, via chemicals called phytochromes, that start seeds and dormant plants growing.

Witch hazel, Sarcococca, Daphne odora and Mahonia are just some of the scented flowers you can enjoy now.  Wintergreen ferns give a wonderful textured foliage effect in sheltered shady spots, so do the leaves of Cyclamen hederafolia and Pulmonaria.  Cyclamen coum flowers in early spring and combines well with winter aconites or snowdrops. (The peak flowering time for most snowdrops is February, but varieties like Galanthus elwessii, G.nivalis and G.woronowii are earlier.)

Jobs to do

Kitchen garden Prune gooseberries, red and white currants to maintain an open centred bush with 8 – 10 main branches – this avoids mildew. Prune last year’s growth by half.  Finish winter pruning of fruit trees (except plums and cherries).  Continue harvesting winter vegetables like parsnips and Brussels sprouts.

Ornamental garden Start pruning wisteria.  The current season’s growth, tamed in July, should be cut back to 2-3 buds from old wood.  If the old wood is tangled or overgrown, cut it back to a fork or side branch, maybe back to ground level.

Start cutting old leaves from ornamental grasses to make room for new growth. Also cut off old leaves on hellebores to expose the flowers, unless grown for foliage effect.

Prune winter jasmine when the flowers fade.

Plant deciduous hedges like beech, hornbeam, blackthorn and hawthorn.


Feed Christmas flowering Hippeastrum (amaryllis) to build up the bulbs for next year.  Start ‘chitting’ early potatoes by placing them in egg-boxes in a cool light position. Sow begonias, lobelia, salvia, pelargonium and sweet peas in pots on a windowsill, cold frame or greenhouse.

A bit of botany!!

I’m not sure if this is being patronising or helpful, but I thought I might untangle some of the mysteries of terminology and some explanations of gardening practices.  This month it is….

Bulbs and corms

Bulbs are leaf-bases swollen with sugars stored from the summer.  The sugars are used by the plant to put up a flower stalk before the competition shades them; as it does the stores shrink and the ‘empty’ leaf bases form the papery protective coat of the bulb.  Bulbs have a very short stem – think of an onion, that conical hard bit with roots at the bottom. Daffodils, tulips and snowdrops have bulbs as well.

Corms are short swollen stems that stay underground with only the leaves and flowers emerging.  After flowering a new corm forms on top of the old one, and contractile roots pull the new corm back into the soil. Crocus, cuckoo pint, crocosmia, gladiolus and acidanthera are examples of plants with corms.

Chairman’s Message 2019

6th January 2019


I am constantly amazed at just how quickly the months fly past albeit that is probably a symptom of getting older. Last year we had a record-matching heatwave that sucked much of the life out of the ground through to October bringing low yields in the vegetable garden but did wonders for wellestablished fruit trees. November onwards has seen heavy rain bringing our lawns back to life, but with little respite many of us would have found it difficult to do the final cut that closes out the year. I
guess on the plus side with the dryness for much of the year and the recent rain, our mowers won’t
be needing a lot of close season maintenance.

Our back garden is still recovering from the extensive work we had done from 2013 to 2017 but the front is well established with a Malus, Bramley and an unknown red flesh apple. A specimen blue spruce continues its growth and whilst beautiful, it is a challenge keeping the pathway to the front door accessible. The borders are full with geraniums, roses, hellebores and hostas which are complimented by the spring bulbs – daffodils, snowbells and tulips. With the addition of a new boundary fence we have planted three ceanothus which haven’t exactly taken off due to seasonal conditions.

Spring 2017 Show

The wisteria has continued to sprawl all over the front of the house and only brutal pruning has kept it from ripping the tiles off of the roof, although we have managed to tease it across the new extension. The front garden provides a mixed welcome to visitors and is constant source of pleasure on our return home. Possibly a little pretentious to feature our garden but, in my defence, we are immensely proud of it and I wanted to encourage our members to think about their own. Please e-mail Liz with items we could feature and I could include your article in next year’s handbook.

Last year the society has welcomed a new trading secretary, treasurer and show secretary. So we welcome Mike Speed, Roger Greenhalgh and Peter Edwards whilst bidding a farewell to John Delve, Sue Meek, Alison Cooper and Pat Neild with thanks for their fantastic efforts without which the society may not have survived.

We continue to look for volunteers and I would urge you to get in touch.