Meeting for May: Make a hanging basket

When Clive, our Treasurer, volunteered to do this talk on “How to make a hanging basket” all the Committee thought this would be a very good idea for May, and we assumed he knew how to do it! However, it transpires that Clive has had to call in a few favours, and has pressurized the Chairman of the Alresford Horticultural Society, Steve Morley, to actually do the presentation: Clive has been running around with the shopping list from Steve, and reassures us he has bought all the plants and baskets and everything else needed!

It remains to be seen what he has forgotten….but you can be sure Steve Morley knows what he is doing!

DSCN1487This demonstration was given at the Giles meeting on Monday 11th May, at 2pm in the Community Centre Hall. The objective was to make three hanging baskets: so the cloths were laid out to catch the soil, and some fairly big, already flowering plants were presented to Steve to “do his thing”. Steve explained how it was easy to make a container for a basket from old compost bags, and these are good because they do retain some water. Plants can also be pushed through slots in the sides of the basket.

DSCN1484Steve recommended a list of suitable plants, and also suggested that a slow release fertiliser would be a good idea. The plants are best displayed in a group of three or five, of a similar colour. Steve made three baskets during the presentation, and Clive did his contribution by hanging them on the step-ladder.

At the end of the meeting these three baskets were offered for sale to the audience for £10 each: since there were about eight interested parties, the names were put into a raffle, and the three winners were Nan, Diann and Brian. There was also the normal raffle after tea, to win several prizes on the trolley.

March Talk by ‘Canine Partners’

Beverley from Canine Partners
Beverley from Canine Partners

The Giles Group meeting and talk on Monday 9th March included a presentation by Beverley from ‘Canine Partners’, which explained their work in providing and training dogs to help disabled people, primarily concentrating on people in wheelchairs or with restricted mobility. Beverley used a slide presentation to tell the stories surrounding some of the clients, or “partners” they have created over the last 20 years, which now number 250. The basic cost to provide and train a dog is typically £20,000, which is why fundraising support is needed, and really appreciated.

The dogs were shown to help open doors, fetch the remote control for TVs or phones, even put cards into cash machines, then remove the money and get the card out – something which was reported by a Telegraph reporter when he saw it happen in front of him at the cash machine queue! The dog there had not learned how to enter the PIN number, but no doubt Canine Partners are working on this! The dogs also delight in helping to take socks off, lift legs into the bed, or even can help to put skinny jeans onto the more fashion conscious partner!

Canine Partners were started in West Sussex, near Chichester. They have now spread further afield, with another base in Leicestershire. The website, with plenty of videos explaining some of the stories behind the dogs and people they have match-made, is on More stories and examples are given on this website.

Everyone enjoyed the event and really appreciated the excellent presentation, which really gave a feel for how much the dog partnerships had helped the lives of some disabled people. Beverley also explained that there are many ways that people can help Canine Partners directly, in joining fund raising events, or in acting as weekend foster-parents for the younger dogs, during their training.

After the presentation, during the tea and cakes, Beverley was delighted to accept a donation totalling over £70 from the 26 members of the Alresford Giles Group who were present, which will be used to help the Canine Partners work.

Master Canine Partners Logo(RGB)