Monthly Archives: December 2018

Timothy Walker: In the not too bleak midwinter

Terry and Chrissie dispensing refreshments

December it may have been, but there was nothing bleak about Grayshott village hall as Grayshott Gardeners flocked to this month’s lecture evening, where the now traditional mulled wine and mince pies dispensed by Terry and his team awaited our keynote speaker Timothy Hall, as well as members and visitors.



Timothy Walker

Timothy is a renowned botanist, who between 1986-2014 was General Foreman, followed by Horti Praefectus and later Director at the University of Oxford’s Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum. During that time he has given more than 1500 talks worldwide, while also lecturing in the Department of Plant Sciences Oxford and other Colleges.  He was made a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London, has written a number of books, has appeared on TV and is also involved in outreach work.

His informative and entertaining lecture, accompanied by numerous colourful slides,  took us from the start of winter in December/January through to the beginning of spring. We were alerted to the difference in appearance caused by changes in the light, the different plants which emerge as temperatures drop, e.g. mosses, and clearer outlines ( topiary), as well as the contrasting images associated with a rapid change in the weather.

Click on the pictures to enlarge

Timothy discussed climate change, the varied effects of snow and ice, of drought, and how mistletoe is increasing due to milder winters and a change in the migration habits of black cap birds: in contrast to mistletoe thrushes, they cannot digest the seeds, but rub them into tree bark when stuck in their beaks.

We heard how Piet Oudolf recommends growing plants “that die well”, and were shown a series of flowering shrubs, common as well as more unusual ones;  were told how plant species are determined with the example of snowdrops/flakes, at which point our patron came in for some gentle teasing.  A summing up of winter jobs concluded this wide-ranging and topical talk.

Abeliophyllum distichum

Timothy generously shared some of his stunning photographs to be published on our website;  he happened to mentioned that next April he will be running the Brighton Marathon to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, details of which in italics below.

Membership fees are now due and the 2019 Handbook with a program of all events will be available at the next Club meeting on 9th January, when Gordon Rae will tell us about A year in a Grayshott Garden.



Bonus picture: our president Gill Purkiss in a seasonal jumper, with treasurer Dennis Homer in the background:





On April 14th 2019 I am running the Brighton Marathon to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
If you could bring yourself to sponsor me I would be very grateful and many people suffering with cancer would be even more grateful.
More details can be found on my justgiving page – address below.
Thank you!