All posts by Sue Wheeler

Creating Good Plant Combinations, by Amanda Patton

Amanda Patton

On one of the coldest nights of the year so far Grayshott Gardeners were treated to an inspiring zoom lecture by Amanda Patton – without having to step outside into the cold night air.

Amanda has a background in archaeological drawing and illustration.  Her early career did not involve gardens at all, until the fateful day she was invited to see the garden a friend had created.  It took her breath away, and her first thought was “I want to learn how to do that”.  And learn she did, now running a successful design practice of her own in West Sussex.

One of Amanda’s garden designs

Amanda brings an artist’s vision and ability to critique to the world of garden design.  She showed us many examples of gardens where the design was excellent, but also examples where the design did not work.  Whilst most of us can see and feel the difference between these two extremes, it can be really difficult to pinpoint what is working and what is not.  Amanda tried to unpick the elements for us following four key rules:

  1. One thing the same
    Try to link plants to their immediate neighbours by having one characteristic in common e.g. both could have the same green leaves, but in different leaf shapes, or pair up the same leaf shapes but in different colours.
  2. Rhythm and Repetition
    Rhythms can be used in different ways to create a calming or dynamic feel, and having a theme that you develop through a border will make all the difference.
  3. Layers
    Give your borders layers – vertical, horizontal and seasonal – to give cohesion and avoid a random collection of plants.
  4. Colour and Value
    Use the colour wheel to create harmonious or complementary combinations. And remember that colours have tones (value) too, so shades and tints can be used to great effect.

Amanda gave us many practical hints to take away too.  Make your borders as large as you can; note where your garden catches the sun and plant in front of it, to make the most of light illuminating key plants; and take pictures of your garden in black and white – removing the colour can help you see where you have form, and where it needs to be introduced.

It was a fascinating talk, that gave us much food for thought.   And whilst not all of us will be able to embark on wholesale redesign of our plots, at least next time we come home from the Garden Centre with that inevitable impulse buy, we now have tools to work out where to position it for maximum effect.

Snowy Scenes

Grayshott’s recent snowfall had us rushing for our cameras to capture a world transformed by the White Stuff. Here are some of the scenes photographed by our members to remind you of those frosty days. Brrrrrrr !!!

Sheila Austin

Newsletter February 2021

Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

February 2021


Hello everyone…. I hope you all are staying safe and enjoying seeing the beginnings of Spring ….it is just lovely to discover crocus, snowdrops, primroses and hellebores…and more. We had great interest in the first ever Grayshott Gardeners New Year’s Day Flower Count (see page 2) so thank you all who braved the cold to wander around your gardens. Because the safety and well-being of our members are paramount, we have had to cancel our Spring Show, but have high hopes that we will be able to hold our Summer Show and, maybe, the Plant Sale so please keep potting-up and cherishing any plants you have for the Sale.

In the meantime, happy gardening.

Anne Waddell, Chairman


Here’s some timely tips of what to do in the garden this month. More detail is available in various gardening magazines or on websites – here’s what Thompson Morgan say:

– Prepare your seed beds. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can cultivate beds and start to warm up the soil, with fleece, polythene or cloches, in preparation for sowing in the coming months.

– Organise this year’s seeds by sowing date. Get hold of a box with dividers, and file your seed packets by the month they need to be sown in. You’ll be so glad of this effort in the weeks to come.

– Check your tools are sound and your garden machinery is working. Give your tools and equipment the once over and apply a little TLC to anything that needs it.

– Blitz perennial weeds in your beds and kitchen garden. Dig them up, roots and all, to get a head start on the blighters before the weather warms up.

WHAT IS IT? Results for No. 2 & Photo for No. 3

The answer for January 2021 was Iris foetidissima, which has the common name of stinking iris. Two members correctly identified the plant – Karen Cozens and Margaret Penfold. It was not that easy.

Photo no. 2: Iris foetidissima

And here is photo no. 3:

If you think you know what it is, please e-mail Gordon Rae.


Our next virtual meeting is on Wednesday 10th February 2021 at 8 pm when Amanda Patton will be giving a lecture ‘Creating Good Plant Combinations’. Amanda runs an award-winning garden design practice with 20 years’ experience creating modern gardens throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. With a background in professional illustration and archaeology, Amanda is inspired by colour, touch and texture.

Please contact Helen Deighan for information on how to register for this lecture if you are not already registered. Details automatically will be sent to all those members who registered for the previous ZOOM lectures. On the night of the lecture, it will be possible to admit up to 100 people on ZOOM – so first come, first served, as amazingly we have over 100 people registered with Helen to access our ZOOM lectures.


The Spring Show might be cancelled, but we still are going ahead with our Photographic Competition. The title is “It Looks Like Spring”. You are invited to e-mail one photo to Gordon Rae. Judging will be carried out by an external judge. There will be the usual prize of £20 for the winner.

So, please start taking photographs as soon as you wish. As well as the Spring competition, there will be the Summer one too, entitled ‘A Cosy Corner’, so you can start taking photos for that too, although entries will not be needed until the Summer.

We will let you know in the March newsletter the closing date for the Spring entries. 

Please don’t forget that a little humour in the photos will be much appreciated!

Here are a couple of photos (taken by Gordon) to inspire you.


The Committee recently met (virtually!) and reluctantly decided that we need to cancel the Spring Show – in view of the continuing uncertainty about the impact of the pandemic. We know this will be a great disappointment to many of you, but please be assured that we will do what we can to continue to offer to Grayshott Gardeners virtual meet ups.

There has been a suggestion of members being able to notify others of plants they have for sale or plants they are looking for……possibly on an exchange basis. These notifications can be posted in the newsletter – if there is support for this suggestion. Please use the contact e-mail on our website (info) if you have any views about this.

In the meantime, we give below details of our Photographic Competition and Potato Competition

We will review at our next Committee meeting in March the position on the Plant Sale due on 8th May and the Summer Show, scheduled for 10th July.


If we are not able to hold the Summer Show on Saturday 10th July 2021, we will still be able to hold the annual ‘Potato Championship’ (Class 49).

Leslia, our Show Coordinator, already has obtained, bagged up and delivered to Gordon Rae’s house, 27 bags of second early potatoes for members to grow however they wish, in open ground, pots or in ‘grow-bags’ for example.

Please let us know that you would like to enter and have your three, free, seed potatoes. We will arrange collection or delivery to you.

We had 13 entries in 2020 and it became a lot of fun, so please try again and get us up to 20! We will arrange the judging later if we are not able to hold a full show.


BBC Radio 4‘s ‘Open Country’ aired a really lovely programme last month about snowdrop mania – when galanthophile Alan Street, head nurseryman from Avon Bulbs, walked us through his snowdrop landscape. The link is here – it makes great listening.


Please find attached our Grayshott Gardeners themed crossword puzzle for February.

Please look out for the answers in the March newsletter. If possible, in future we will try to upload the answers to the crossword puzzle on the website at the same time that the newsletter goes out – so you have the questions and answers at the same time – we know that, for some of you, a wait of a month for the answers is just too long!

Attached to this newsletter are the answers to the January crossword puzzle which featured in our last newsletter.

Grayshott Gardeners’ New Year’s Day Flower Count

Grayshott Gardeners started off 2021 with our very own Flower Count.  Our members wandered round their gardens on New Year’s Day and counted all the different flowers they could find, where flowers were fully open, and not just in bud. 

The results surprised us all.  There were a grand total of 66 different plant species in flower, all in Grayshott gardens in January.  Some flowers were obvious for all to see, some needed more detective work to spot.  Some were hanging on from last season, whilst some were braving the icy temperatures to start this year’s display.  But all brought a smile to our faces, not least of which the Hebe ‘Midsummer Beauty’, which is clearly one very confused plant.

The full list (English and Latin names) is below:

So why don’t you have a look round your garden and start flower hunting? There may be more happening out there than you think.

Newsletter January 2021

Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter :

January 2021


Happy New Year to you all and welcome to our first 2021 Grayshott Gardeners newsletter. You will now be turning your mind to ways to enjoy, protect and improve your gardens, and getting ready for a whole year of gardening pleasure and enjoyment. Below are a few ideas for the less seasoned gardeners amongst us.

We very much hope we’ll be able to resume our in-person meetings soon but, until then, stay safe and we’ll continue ZOOMing and keep you posted via the newsletter!  Happy gardening.

Anne Waddell               


Jobs in the garden this month are mostly about keeping things trim and tidy, and getting ready for the year to come. If you’re itching to get growing, there are a few things you can do besides the obvious planting bare root roses, chitting first early spuds and starting off your sweet peas. There are lots of gardening magazines and websites advising what to do. Here’s what Thompson-Morgan say:

– Put your new-year enthusiasm to good use by cleaning pots, tools, water butts and greenhouses in preparation for spring. It’s not the most glamorous of tasks, but it will set you up for a great growing season.

– Start planning what you want to do with your garden in the months to come. Order seeds and plants now from the comfort of your armchair.

– Check your winter protection is still working for you – survey any stakes, supports and ties that might have been damaged in bad weather.

– Continue looking after wildlife – put out food for hungry birds and continue to leave some areas of your garden uncut for shelter until the spring.


We thought it might be fun to start 2021 with a Grayshott Gardeners New Year’s Day Flower Count.

The idea is that you wander round your garden on New Year’s Day (or the nearest date you can get to that if the weather is rubbish) and count all the different flowers you can find.  Flowers must be fully open – not just in bud.  You’ll probably be surprised by just how much is out there if you get out and have a good look.  You can include any flower you find – which might be things you have planted or things that have arrived by themselves (aka weeds).

Make a note of their names (latin or otherwise!) and email your results to Sue, our Programme Coordinator (you can even include pictures if you want to).  It’s not a competition – just a bit of fun.

We will put them all together to show just how much Flower Power there is in a Grayshott January.  Watch out for the results in our next newsletter and on our website.


Our next virtual meeting is on Wednesday 13th January 2021 at 8.00pm, when David Hurrion will give us his ‘Essential Guide to Pruning’. David, gardening consultant and horticultural journalist, has been growing plants for over 40 years. He is an Associate Editor for ‘BBC Gardeners World Magazine’ and is a regular contributor and expert commentator on TV and radio. We hope that the evening will give us some useful tips and reminders, as we all sharpen our secateurs ready for spring.

Please contact Helen Deighan for information on how to register for this lecture. Details automatically will be sent to all those members who registered for the October and December 2020 lectures.


Following the virtual AGM in November 2020, Dennis has indicated that he will not be seeking re-election as Club Treasurer at the next AGM in November 2021. Dennis has been Treasurer since December 2013 and feels it is time for someone else to have a go! Should any of the Members wish to be considered for the role as Treasurer please contact Anne (W) or Dennis who can explain what the responsibilities and role entail.


Please note that the discount offer from Squires Garden Centres at Milford and Frensham is not printed on the back of the Membership Card – a full list of suppliers is in the 2021 Handbook.
Please enjoy a discount at these venues.

WHAT IS IT? Results for No. 1 & Photo for No. 2

Thank you to all of you who had a go at our first ‘What is It’ photographic quiz last month. It drew some interesting responses, including ‘Cordyline Australis’ and ‘Hosta’. The honours however, go to Helen Deighan and Karen Cozens, both of whom correctly identified the leaf of a ‘Phormium’. That said, the ‘top honour’ has to go to John Baker and June Colley, who identified, with uncanny accuracy, the genus, species, sub-species and variety down to the last vowel, consonant and inverted comma as:

Phormium cookianum, sub sp. hookeri ‘Cream Delight’.

Not even Gordon is certain it is ‘Cream Delight’ and it is growing in his garden!

Photo no. 1: Phormium

And here is photo no. 2:

If you think you know what it is, please e-mail Gordon Rae by 15 January 2021.

We will provide the answer and the names of those who correctly identified the photo in our February newsletter.


Grayshott Gardeners now have had two ZOOM lectures with a third coming very soon. We all know that they are not the same as having a live lecture in the Village Hall, with our social gatherings and plants for sale, but they are the next best thing under the circumstances. So far, we have 81 members registered for GG ZOOM lectures, which is great. We would like to get members’ views on the ZOOM lectures. More particularly we would like to receive any ideas you may have on how to improve them.

We also would really welcome your comments on the ‘Catch-Up’ facility. We were very fortunate that Adam Pasco, who gave us a brilliant lecture in December, kindly recorded it for us. We sent out the link to you soon after the lecture. This gave any Grayshott Gardener that could not make it on the night the chance to see what they missed. Or, to give those who joined us on the evening, the opportunity to watch it again (Adam ran through rather a lot of plant names!). As with ‘Catch-Up’ TV, we could even fast forward through bits if we wanted to. At the time of writing, the video has had 36 views. So, please tell us what you think about this ‘Catch-Up’ arrangement.  While it will not necessarily be available at all virtual lectures, as it will be at the discretion of each speaker, we would be interested to know your thoughts to inform future plans for Grayshott Gardeners. And remember, a summary of each lecture is always posted on our website.

Please send your comments and ideas about the ZOOM lectures and the ‘Catch-Up’ facility to Helen Deighan, Sue Wheeler, Anne Butler, John Price or Gordon Rae and your ‘ZOOM’ team will try to deal with them.



As you have heard Gordon say before ‘Every garden in Grayshott should grow a Galanthus’.

There now are 120 snowdrops potted up in his and Judith’s garden ready for sale to Grayshott Gardeners’ members. This year there are about 20 different named varieties with 6 bulbs of each one.  Most would cost about £5 – £12 per bulb, but there are 5 varieties listed in catalogues at £20 – £30 per bulb. 

To raise funds for Grayshott Gardeners, we would like to sell these at £3 per pot or 4 pots for £10 for 15 of the varieties. For the 5 less common varieties, they are £5 per pot or £27 for 6 pots. Some will still be in bud, rather than in flower.

For several years, the snowdrops have been sold at our lectures in the Village Hall from December through to February. As we are unable to do that this year, we will have a different sale.

The snowdrops will be available to buy from the garage of Gordon and Judith Rae on Saturday and Sunday, 6 & 7 February 2021 from 10am until 12 noon on each day (weather permitting!).

You will be free to go into the garden to see the snowdrops which are in flower at that time (COVID restrictions permitting).

Please do help us to sell the snowdrops. Gordon and Judith do not wish to keep them for another year.


As we were unable to hold either the Spring or Summer Shows in 2020, we did not have our usual Photographic Class in each show.

In the Grayshott Gardeners Handbook for 2021, you will find the two themes which have been carried forward from 2020. They are:

Spring Show: “It Looks Like Spring”

Summer Show: “A Cosy Corner”

Assuming the two shows can take place, the photographs will be judged by the members at each show. If, heaven forbid, we are unable to hold our shows, the Photographic Class still will go ahead.

Members will be invited to send their photos, by e-mail, on the given theme to Gordon Rae. Judging will be carried out by an external judge. There will be the usual prize of £20 for the winner of each theme.

So, please start taking photographs as soon as you wish, and we will decide how they will be entered and judged in due course. The closing dates for entries, if we are unable to hold our shows, will be announced later.

Please don’t forget that a little humour in the photos will be much appreciated!

This is ‘Bottoms Up’ – the photo taken by Doris Marjoram and winner of our 2020 virtual photographic competition – well done Doris.


Don’t forget we have a website which is regularly maintained by Anke and is an enjoyable browsing destination.

The write-ups of our lectures are particularly good and they, together with our photo gallery, have some amazing pictures. They serve as a great reminder of the beauty of all things gardening.


Please find attached our second Grayshott Gardeners themed crossword puzzle.

This is much more legible than the one in the December newsletter – so it should be easier on the eyes! We know there is one misspelling in our answer to clue 5 across – the last ‘i’ is missing – sorry; whilst we may have improved the clarity, we have yet to master the new software, so any typos in the early drafts can easily be made – we are not quite there yet!  Please look out for the answers in the February newsletter.

Attached to this newsletter are the answers to the ‘November’ crossword puzzle which featured in our December 2020 newsletter.