All posts by Sue Wheeler

The Garden Jungle (or Gardening to Save the Planet), by Dave Goulson

Our June speaker was Professor Dave Goulson, who gave us an insight into the lives of some of the tiny creatures that live in our gardens, and gave us tips on how to garden so that we can encourage as many of them as possible to flourish.

Chairman John Price and Programme Secretary Sue Wheeler with Dave Goulson

Dave is a professor of biology at Sussex University, with a passion for entomology.  He has written many books, and his lecture was based around one of his latest bestsellers – The Garden Jungle.

He began by showing us the diversity seen amongst insects.  Some are colourful – to disguise themselves, for camouflage or to advertise that they are poisonous.  Others are mimics, with some flies pretending to be bees. They have also adapted cleverly over the time they have been inhabiting the earth – for insects preceded the dinosaurs by many millions of years.  Next time you see a bee you can think of it as a vegan wasp, that switched to feeding on pollen rather than insect prey.

Life on earth needs insects to continue – without them our ecosystems would rapidly collapse.   They provide food for birds, fish and reptiles; they recycle dung and corpses; they keep the soil healthy; they distribute seeds; and they play a vital role in pollination.  And insects are in trouble, with well documented declines in many species, particularly those that are habitat specialists.  Human behaviour has driven habitat losses, with our enthusiasm for agricultural monocultures, and our use of pesticides has wiped out many insect populations.

So how can gardeners help these insect populations recover?  Gardens, parks and verges combine to form a far greater area than the country’s nature reserves.  So by making them more wildlife friendly, we can reverse the declines. 

Gardeners may think of themselves as “green”, but when you consider that the average trip to the Garden Centre results in the purchase of a plant that has been grown in peat, in a heated greenhouse, treated with insecticide, in a disposable plastic pot it is obvious that changes need to be made.

Dave gave us some steps to maximise the insect life in our gardens.  Use plants with open flowers.  Reimagine weeds as wild flowers. Mow less.  Build bug hotels to provide homes for insects. Plant flowering trees – which can provide continuity of food supply for insects from March through to June.  AND STOP USING PESTICIDES. Simple!

Dave gave us an entertaining but very thought provoking evening.  We now know how we can make a difference.  The rest is up to us!

Newsletter June 2022

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Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

June 2022

From the Chair

Dear Members

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Plant Sale, Jan took on a difficult task and all who helped by either donating plants or buying them should be congratulated on raising £3,000 for our funds. 

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We have always relied on a good plant sale to strengthen our finances which enables us to keep our subscriptions low as well as attracting great speakers.

We now look forward to our next big event The Summer Show, please support Pamela and her team by entering the various competitions on the 9th July.

By the way look out for us on PiG day, we will have a stall in the car park promoting the club.

JOHN

May Meeting

 Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

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This month we welcomed back Pamela Holt, a judge at our Spring Show, to hear her insights into the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Pamela was a student at Kew in the 1970’s. She also went on several plant hunting trips for the gardens.

Pamela started by explaining the derivation of the name Kew – originally Cayo – which describes a dock (Cay or Quay) on a spur of land (Ho – like in Westward Ho!) on the River Thames in West London.  The Royal connection comes from its founder Princess Augusta, mother of George III.  And the Gardens (note the plural) comes from the fact that it is actually an amalgamation of several gardens.

It was a really interesting evening and Pamela gave us lots of reasons to go and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew very soon.

June Meeting

We are delighted to welcome back Dave Goulson to speak at our meeting this month.

Dave, Author of Sting in a Tale, first came to Grayshott in 2016 when he gave us a fascinating talk on Bumblebees.

This time his lecture is entitled ‘My Jungle Garden – gardening to save the planet’ and will be all about making our green spaces more insect and wildlife friendly.

There are already a myriad of small creatures that live in our gardens but with a few minor changes we can encourage even more and Dave will tell us how and also explain just why this is so important.

The meeting will be held in Grayshott Village Hall , on  Wednesday June 8th 2022

Light refreshments will be served and there will be a secondhand book sale

Doors open at 7.30pm ready for the lecture to begin at 8pm.

Summer Show

We’re looking forward very much to our Summer Show, and I’m sure there will be some great exhibits in all classes.

As a trial to make things easier for everyone involved , we’re changing the arrangements slightly.  Please can entrants come along to the hall  with their exhibits from 8.40 until 10am (rather than from 9 until 10.20am). 

If you are intending to enter a lot of classes – firstly a big thank you, secondly, we can accommodate you coming along to the hall earlier than 8.40am, which we hope will make things a bit less frenetic!

Please do contact Pamela at shows@grayshottgardeners.net if you have any questions.

Enjoying the rain…

 Pamela

Grayshott Gardeners Outings

A great time was had by all when we visited Millais Nurseries last month.

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All aboard our coach to Woolbeding Gardens

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Door to door service on our private coach

Exclusive welcome presentation on arrival with refreshments

New for 2022 – the Silk Route garden (plants from the ancient trade route designed by Fergus Garret from Great Dixter)

Cost £25 per head.  £10 per head deposit required.

Info from Vanessa Thompson at a club night or email events@grayshottgardeners.net to reserve your place(s)

Calibrachoa

An article on this plant featured in Grayshott Today earlier this year. There is no apology for including it in our newsletter. Calibrachoa is an outstanding summer plant for a Grayshott gardener, especially for a container or a hanging basket.

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‘Miniature Petunias on speed’ is the nearest description I can dream up for Calibrachoa.

The plants are full of multicoloured flowers from late April until autumn, growing best in a sunny position. It does not need any deadheading.

Calibrachoa is a plant that is well visited by both bees and butterflies.

Intensive hybridisation in recent years has led to a wide variety of colours being available

Having a a trailing habit Calibarchoa is ideal for pots, hanging baskets or cascading over a wall.

As it was so successful last year in our garden, fresh plants have already been bought for 2022. Calibrachoa plants are inexpensive and reliable in a sunny position.

If you have not grown it before it is suggested that you might like to give it a go.

Jobs for the month

1. Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside

Choose vibrant bedding plants for a short-term show or herbs, shrubs and evergreens for a long-lasting display.

2. Be water-wise, especially in drought-affected areas

Watering is key to growing plants well, so here we look at how to get it just right. This not only means providing the water our gardens need, but using it wisely.

3. Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes

Removing the side-shoots is simple – every time you water, check the plant for any shoots sprouting just above each leaf, from the joint between the leaf and the stem.

4. Harvest lettuce, radish, other salads      and early potatoes

5. Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds

6. Mow lawns at least once a week – but consider leaving some areas uncut for wildlife

7.Plant out summer bedding

8. Stake tall or floppy plants

9. Prune many spring-flowering shrubs

10. Shade greenhouses to keep them cool and prevent scorch

Looks like quite a busy month in the garden!

More details on all of these jobs can be found on the RHS website

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, by Pamela Holt

This month we welcomed back Pamela Holt, a judge at our Spring Show, to hear her insights into the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Pamela was a student at Kew in the 1970’s. She also went on several plant hunting trips for the gardens.

Pamela started by explaining the derivation of the name Kew – originally Cayo – which describes a dock (Cay or Quay) on a spur of land (Ho – like in Westward Ho!) on the River Thames in West London.  The Royal connection comes from its founder Princess Augusta, mother of George III.  And the Gardens (note the plural) comes from the fact that it is actually an amalgamation of several gardens.

The gardens have a number of distinctive ornamental structures which have been created over the years – for example the Pagoda which dates from 1762.  Other structures appear ornamental but have a more practical purpose – the Italian style campanile actually served as a chimney to take the soot away from the original coal fired boilers that heated one of the glasshouses.

The Gardens were passed from the Royal Family to the State in 1838, and the first Director, William Hooker, set out to develop the vision of George III to make a collection of plants from all across the Kingdom.  Not long later it also introduced training for horticulturalists and founded the Plant Science Laboratories that it is world famous for today.

Pamela told many amusing stories of Kew behind the scenes, and proudly showed us the silver medal she was awarded for coming second in the “Clog and Apron” students’ race along the Board Walk.

It was a really interesting evening and Pamela gave us lots of reasons to go and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew very soon.

Newsletter May 2022

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Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

May 2022

From the Chair

Dear Members, 

Following our very successful Spring Show, at last the real Spring has decided to join us!

In a week’s time on 7th May we are holding our Annual Plant Sale in the Village Hall. Enormous effort has been made to provide you with a wide range of plants at bargain prices. The Sale starts at 10am and finishes at 11.30am. 

If you want more tips on collecting plants, then join us for our next speaker Pamela Holt, former “Plant Collector for The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew” who will be speaking to us on Wednesday 11th May at 7.30 for 8pm.

Happy planting.

JOHN.

Grayshott Gardener’s Plant Sale

Saturday May 7th 2022

Grayshott Village Hall

10am – 11.30am

A word of warning: queues start to form well before the doors are open!

There are a number of ways members can help:-

1. Any plants from your garden, after splitting, need to be potted up in good compost and taken to Jan Bebbington before Friday 6th May to give time to put them through sorting-tidying-pricing process. As such no plants can be accepted on Friday or Saturday (the day of the sale)

2. If you have suitable transport to help move plants from Jan’s to the Village Hall at 6 pm Friday that would be appreciated. Please contact Jan if you can help.

3. Please bring cash preferably or cheques to pay for the plants also bags to take away your plants.

4. Most importantly –

TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS.

More information from Jan Bebbington: plantsales@grayshottgardeners.net

May Meeting

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Our speaker this month is Pamela Holt. A Horticulturist since leaving school, Pamela has worked variously in private gardens, nurseries, garden centres, the Home Office, Horticultural Colleges and for Local Authorities.

She trained at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with Alan Titchmarsh and taught Charlie Dimmock whilst a lecturer in Somerset. An intrepid traveller Pamela has collected plants in Peru and Bolivia for Kew.

Kew Gardens has one of the most diverse collections of living plants of any botanic garden in the world.

Grayshott Village Hall

 Wednesday May 11th 2022

Light refreshments will be served and there will be a secondhand book sale

Doors open at 7.30pm ready for the lecture to begin at 8pm.

April Meeting

Last month our lecture was given by our very own President – Gordon Rae VMH.

At the beginning of the Covid 19 Pandemic, when we were all locked down and confined to our homes and gardens, Gordon got out his notebook and his camera and started to record events as they unfolded.  He took thousands of photographs of the plants that grow in his garden (and if they grow in his Grayshott Garden, then there’s a good chance they will also grow in yours).  And he also noted the extraordinary milestones of the time – from the shortage of loo rolls, to the roll out of the vaccine, the rule of six and all those family gatherings in gardens and carparks.

Gordon also shared some of the cards he had received from family members. One of which really made me smile – the sender obviously knew Gordon very well!

A full report of his talk can be found on our website

www.grayshottgardeners.net

Spring Show

Our first show for three years was a great success.

A very big thank you to all of our entrants, who between them provided almost 200 wonderful exhibits.  A great effort on such a frosty morning for the plants and flowers, and also some beautiful crafts and tasty home produce. The super quality of the exhibits gave the judges quite a challenge!

Please see below for the award winners:-

Spring Cup                          Judith Rae

Gardeners Cup                  Judith Rae

Denyer Cup                         Sue Erler

Gladys Willmott Cup        Jill Meech

Novice Cup                         Alan Wright

Whitehouse Cup               Judith Rae

Best in Show             Sue Erler

Craft Prize                           Margaret Stokes

Juniors Under 8                 Florence Strowger

Sue Erler with her beautiful prize winning exhibit.

And thank you to all those who came along in the afternoon to enjoy the scrumptious cakes with tea, buy a book or a plant and take a chance with a raffle ticket.

With members and guests, there were 181 people, our best attendance for some years.

Roll on July 9th and our Summer Show!

Thank you to those budding bakers who have asked for clarification on the tin size for the Lemon Drizzle cake recipe, class 67. 

The tin to be used is a 2lb loaf tin, we appreciate these come is slightly different sizes and this is fine.

Any questions, please contact Pamela Wright at

shows@grayshottgardeners.net

Grayshott Primary School

We have received a request from a governor of Grayshott Primary School (Tim Roberson) asking for guidance and advice on planting flowers and vegetables in the school garden.

The emphasis is on guidance!

Sue Wheeler is prepared to advise on plants, but we need a volunteer to advise on growing vegetables, can you help please?

The actual work is being carried out by PTA members, Governors and Parents, during the school summer holidays.

As the Village’s gardening club I hope we can help. You might be advising a future member of Grayshott Gardeners!

Please contact me for further information. JOHN   chair@grayshottgardeners

Plant of the Month

Madeira Orchid – Dactylorhiza foliosaThe meeting will be held in

It is a misconception. Orchids are not difficult to grow in a Grayshott garden.

If you wish to try, there are two which have proven themselves in our garden. Dactylorhiza and some varieties of Cypripedium, the Lady’s Slipper Orchid. Dactylorhiza foliosa, the Madeira Orchid, was the first we attempted some years ago and it is grown well and flowered regularly.

It is a native of Madeira, growing in damp woodlands and open grassland. It is in an herbaceous perennial producing bright green, shiny lance shaped leaves and conspicuous spikes a bluish/rosy pink flowers in May/June.

It is easy to grow in a well-drained damp humus rich soil, ideally with its feet in the shade and its head in the sun. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types from acid to alkaline. Dactylorhiza  will bulk up and can be divided in the autumn

The Madeira Orchid is fully hardy and will benefit from an autumn/ winter mulch.

After Dactylorhiza move onto Cypripediums which will cost you a little more for each plant!

Jobs for the month

1. First and foremost

Watch out for late frosts. Protect tender plants

Frost can affect many plants, and is particularly damaging to tender new growth and blossom in the spring. The risks of frost damage can be reduced by taking some simple steps to protect the plants in your garden.

2.Earth up potatoes, and promptly plant any still remaining.

Especially the ones you are growing for the Potato Competition in July

Potato plants need ‘earthing up’ as they grow, to protect early shoots from frost damage and ensure the developing potatoes aren’t exposed to light, which turns them green and poisonous.

3.Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month (except in cold areas)

4.Water early and late to get the most out of your water, recycle water when possible

5.Regularly hoe off weeds

6.Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days

7.Mow lawns weekly – but consider leaving some areas uncut for wildlife

8.Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges

9.Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs

10.Watch out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grub

The above list was taken from the RHS website where you can also get more information on each topic.

My Corona Diary 2020-21, by Gordon Rae

This month our lecture was given by our very own President – Gordon Rae VMH.

At the beginning of the Covid 19 Pandemic, when we were all locked down and confined to our homes and gardens, Gordon got out his notebook and his camera and started to record events as they unfolded.  He took thousands of photographs of the plants that grow in his garden (and if they grow in his Grayshott Garden, then there’s a good chance they will also grow in yours).  And he also noted the extraordinary milestones of the time – from the shortage of loo rolls, to the roll out of the vaccine, the rule of six and all those family gatherings in gardens and carparks.

We were treated to a real spectacle of plants through all the months of the year – some familiar and some definitely more unusual, like the mouse plant, the cobra lily and the tongue twisting Ypsilandra thibetica.

Gordon reminded us that it was not all bad.  The extra time at home gave an opportunity to tackle some of the bigger projects that we often never get round to.  Gordon and Judith’s lawn got scarified to within an inch of its life, was oversown and has resulted in a sward worthy of a croquet pitch.  He also reminded us how we all climbed the steep learning curve of Zoom, rediscovered the joy of jigsaws, and got all sorts of crafts out from the back of dusty cupboards.

Wildlife moved in quickly as the country experienced less traffic and less people going about their daily lives.  The foxes enjoyed the tranquillity and made themselves at home in Gordon’s garden, helpfully rearranging all his plant labels.  And the roe deer helped themselves to a smorgasbord of flowery treats – there were no pansies left for the Raes to enjoy this year.

It was a wonderful evening of amazing photographs interspersed with a trip down memory lane – we really have lived through extraordinary times.

Gordon very kindly donated his lecture fee to the Perennial charity

Newsletter April 2022

Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

April 2022

From the Chair

Dear Members,

What a difference a month makes!

From storms and collapsing trees and fences, to hot sunshine. I was in Madeira last week admiring their early spring flowers, reflecting how slow spring seems to be this year at home. Then to our amazement on returning, find sunshine and warmth equal to Madeira with surprising growth in the garden having taken place in our absence.

This must be a good omen for our first spring show for three years on the 9th April. Pamela and her committee have been working for weeks to ensure we match previous high standards, so please give your support in entering one of the classes to make it a show to remember.

On May 7th we have our first Plant Sale for three years. Again, Jan has been working hard, but needs further support in nurturing plants which she has potted up to meet the sale.

Many hands make light work, please help if you can.

I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on the 13th April, when our speaker will be our very own President Gordon Rae, the title of his presentation is My Corona Diary 2020-21.

Knowing Gordon it will be interesting!

Best wishes.

JOHN.

Spring Show

Counting down to 9th April…

 Yes, it’s time to prepare for the Spring Show.  There’s plenty of activity going on behind the scenes – thanks to all those who have volunteered to help with the cakes; there will be a plant sale and a raffle; plus a new venture of a sale of second hand gardening books.  If you do have any books you would like to contribute, please contact Helen on comms@grayshottgardeners.net.

Hopefully there’s also plenty of activity in your gardens.  Some rain this week and some sunshine forecast – those beautiful plants, veg and blooms should be perfect for the day!  Not forgetting of course the indoor enterprises of creating craft and delectable home produce.

Entry forms are in your handbook and also on the website – please give your completed forms to Tanchoux by 5pm on Thursday 7th, or send as an attachment to shows@grayshottgardeners.net.

Any questions, please contact Pamela Wright at shows@grayshottgardeners.net and we look forward to seeing you all there!

April Meeting

Gordon Rae, our esteemed President, will be telling us all about what he got up to during those lockdown months – should be interesting!The meeting will be held in

Grayshott Village Hall

 Wednesda April 13th 2022

Doors open at 7.30pm ready for the lecture to begin at 8pm.

Plant Sale

The Plant Sale this year is to be held in the Village Hall on May 7th

Jan Bebbington and her team still need PLANTS and plenty of them!

Help needed please

1. For more divided or propagated plants

2. Potting up and offering to grow on and re-pot plug plants arriving after 11th April

3. Transporting plants to the Village Hall prior to the Spring Show and Plant Sale ie evening of 8th April and 6th May – large car essential!

Jan  will be on hand at the next meeting to take names and give advice.

March Meeting

Grayshott Gardeners were very pleased to welcome Matthew Wilson – Garden Designer, Writer, Television and Radio broadcaster – to give our club night lecture this month.  It was his first talk IRL (in real life) since Covid restrictions eased. Naturally, no sign of first night nerves. 

He was so delighted to be talking to ‘real people’ again that he asked if he could take a picture of us all and put it on his instagram page – fame at last for Grayshott Gardeners.

Plant of the Month

Erythroniums, of which there are over 20 species, are members of the Lily family and native to Europe and especially North America.

The Dog Tooth Violet is named as such on account of the ‘roots’ being long and toothlike. They are edible and eaten as a vegetable.

Erythroniums are hardy, spring flowering perennials, with both attractive leaves and flowers providing good ground cover. As shade loving natives of temperate forests and meadows they prefer a moist, well-drained soil, do not take kindly to becoming dried out and benefit from mulching.

Their distinctive pendant flowers have swept back (recurved) petals (tepals) which come in a range of colours, white, pale cream, yellow, light and dark pink to mauve.

Erythronium ’Pagoda’, ‘White Beauty’, ‘Revolutum’ and the Harrington Hybrids all do well in our Grayshott gardens.

Obituaries

We are very sad to let you know that Sybil Saunders has passed away.  Sybil was a very long standing and enthusiastic member of Grayshott Gardeners and will be sorely missed by us all.

We send our sincere condolences to Roger and her family.

Jobs for April

1. Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seed outdoors

2. Protect fruit blossom from late frosts

3. Tie in climbing and rambling roses

4. Keep weeds under control

5. Start to feed citrus plants

6. Increase the water given to houseplants

7.Feed hungry shrubs and roses

8. Sow new lawns or repair bare patches

9. Prune fig trees

The above list was taken from the RHS website where you can also get more information on each topic.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/march

Garden Visits

Join us for an exclusive tour of

Millais Nursery Garden, Churt

Just a few spaces left

Tuesday 17th May            5.30pm—7pm

Cost £5 per head. 
In aid of the National Garden Scheme Charity

Some ideas for Future visits

Hilliers, Romsey

Borde Hill, Haywards Heath

Houghton Lodge, Stockbridge

Arundel Castle

Coverwood Lakes, near Shere

Beechenwood Farm, Odiham

 Wisley

Munstead, Godalming

More Information from Vanessa Thompson at a club night or email: events@grayshottgardeners.net

My Chelsea Story, by Matthew Wilson

Grayshott Gardeners were very pleased to welcome Matthew Wilson – Garden Designer, Writer, Television and Radio broadcaster – to give our club night lecture this month.  It was his first talk IRL (in real life) since Covid restrictions eased, but he showed no first night nerves.  He gave us a fabulous peek behind the scenes of creating a garden for Chelsea Flower Show.

Matthew spent many years at Chelsea when he worked for the RHS.  He witnessed the work that went into producing a show garden, and saw first hand the exhaustion of the garden designers at the end of their journey.  He vowed he would never join them.  However, in 2015 he was approached by Royal Bank of Canada to design a garden that promoted water preservation.  This was an issue close to his heart, and having designed the Dry Garden at RHS Hyde Hall, he had lots of ideas that he could use.  So he said yes, and his Chelsea journey began.

Matthew’s RBC garden used lots of curves.  This meant clever cutting of stone, steam bending of wood, and decking with curved edges.  Getting the details right is key for a Chelsea Garden – right down to the spacing of stepping stones, which he mocked up with paper and sticky tape on his kitchen floor.  The build had to be completed in 19 straight days (no days off allowed!) and required stamina and teamwork.  There were a few hiccups that caused a lot of anxiety – but they made it, and delivered a garden to be proud of.  One of the big surprises was how much the garden changed over the period of the show – some things grew and came into bloom, and others went over – just like a real garden.  From start to finish the project consumed at least 100 days ….. and he was heard muttering “Never Again”.

That was until “Welcome to Yorkshire” approached him to design a garden for the show the very next year.  His 2016 garden was to celebrate the East Window at York Minster – one of the largest expanses of medieval glass in Europe.  He worked with the glaziers and stone masons from York Minster to design a garden structure which captured the essence of the window, the colours of which were cleverly echoed in the planting.  He described the skill which is needed to plant a Chelsea show garden – weaving plants together so that they look like they have been there for years, not days.  After a very wet build, the garden was completed and delighted the crowds – so much so that he won the coveted People’s Choice award that year.

At the end of it all, Matthew took the advice of a friend and did not stay to watch either of his gardens being dismantled – so in his mind they still exist.  Instead he celebrated with family, friends and a few bottles of champagne!

“Never Again” was once again muttered.  But we all know the adage “Never say Never”.  We will be watching this space with great anticipation.

Newsletter March 2022

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Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

March 2022

FROM THE CHAIR

Dear Members,

I hope your homes and gardens survived the storms without too much damage.

I am pleased to say I can guarantee Dudley, Eunice and Franklin will not be visiting our gardens again, but as yet I have not heard what Gladys is up to!

Sadly, our Secretary Anne Butler has resigned her position after 3 years of serving on the committee, for which we thank her for her really excellent work  and I look forward to seeing her at future club evenings.

We now have a vacancy and I would be pleased to hear from anyone who might have an interest in learning more about the secretarial role, please call me on 01428 482750 or email me at <chair@grayshottgardeners.net>.

Currently apart from general admin we have 5 Committee meetings a year which require the taking of minutes.

I am pleased to report that the video recording of our last speaker Harry Baldwin (see report elsewhere in this Newsletter) has already received 68 hits, so it appears that those unable to come to our meetings are enjoying the presentations.

Lastly and by no means least, a big thank you to Gordon and Judith for once again opening their garden for us all to view their beautiful snowdrops, for which the weather was amazingly good.

Best wishes John

MARCH MEETING

Our next meeting on the 9th March is a Keynote Lecture by Matthew Wilson, so why not invite your friends? We are pleased to inform you on that night catering will be back to normal.

Matthew is an award-winning garden and landscape designer, writer, radio and television broadcaster and lecturer. He has designed two show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  In 2016, his show garden, entitled ‘God’s own country – A garden for Yorkshire’ was sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire, and was inspired by the East Window at York Minster, the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain.   

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His garden won the esteemed People’s Choice Award at the show, and his talk will all be about getting a show garden ready for Chelsea and is entitled   ‘My Chelsea Story’

As this is one of our Key Note lectures  members can attend at no additional charge to their membership fee, however should you wish to bring a guest, there is a charge of £8. Guests who are members of inter-village clubs will be charged £5.

BORDE HILL GARDEN

Why not join Harry Baldwin, head of horticulture at Borde Hill, on a free, hour-long guided tour of the garden?

The tour will focus primarily on the garden’s impressive collection of magnolias, some of which were collected by the great plant hunters of the 1900s and are now Champion Trees.

Tickets are included in the garden admission – adults £10.50, children £7

Tour dates: 29th March and 5th April

Booking is essential at www.bordehill.co.uk

FEBRUARY MEETING

Harry Baldwin made a welcome return to Grayshott Last month to present his most interesting talk ‘The World of Oaks’

Oaks have been important for humans since ancient times – many cultures developed with acorns as a staple to their diet.  And their wood has been used for centuries, to build cathedrals, ships and shaft props in the coal mines.

England is blessed with many ancient oaks – more than elsewhere in Europe.  This may well be because our Royal Forests and Deer Parks, made fashionable by William the Conqueror, allowed commoners to collect wood, but not to cut the trees, thus preserving them for future generations.  Some of these trees are thought to be about 1000 years old.

We had a fascinating evening listening and learning about oaks.  Some of us might even have been converted to Quercophiles!

SHOWS

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We’re delighted to be preparing for our Spring Show – our first “in person” show since 2019!   It’s very exciting and it will be such a joy to welcome you all to the village hall to view the exhibits, partake in a cup of tea with a scrumptious slice of homemade cake, maybe buy a plant or two…..Talking of exhibits, please don’t be shy! Please do enter as many classes as you can – there are many opportunities to show your beautiful plants, veg and blooms, perhaps some craft you’ve created in those long days of lockdown, or some delicious produce inspired by “bake off”.  If you’ve any questions, please do contact Pamela Wright on      shows@grayshottgardeners.net.

On the topic of baking, we offer an apology – the recipe for the Coffee and Walnut cake has a mistake in it.  The ingredients for the cake and the topping include 50ml of strong black coffee.  We’ve translated this quantity to 3 teaspoons, which is not right.  It would be 2.81 tablespoons, but please just ignore the spoon mistake, and stick to 50ml.   I’m sure it will taste delicious – happy baking!

VISITS

Join us for an exclusive tour of Millais Nursery Garden, Churt One of the country’s leading specialist rhododendron growers, with 5 consecutive RHS Flower Show ‘Golds’

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Tuesday 17th May            5.30pm—7pm

Explore the newly remodelled garden
See mature Rhododendrons in their prime

Purchase plants at 10% discount

Tour the propagation unit (optional)

Light refreshments served on arrival

Cost £5 per head. 
In aid of the National Garden Scheme Charity (Places are limited)

Information from Vanessa Thompson at a club night or email: events@grayshottgardeners.net  to reserve your place

JOBS FOR THIS MONTH

1. Prune bush and climbing roses.

2. Plant shallots, onions and early potatoes.

3. Plant summer-flowering bulbs.

4. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials. (See plant sale article)

5. Top dress containers with fresh compost.

6. Mow the lawn on dry day (if needed).

7. Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems.

8. Hoe and mulch weeds to keep them under control.

9. Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain : remove pond heaters.

10.Protect new spring shoots from slugs.

The above list was taken from the RHS website where you can also get more information on each topic. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/march

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Subscription Payments

Our membership secretary would like to remind you that subscriptions should be paid by the end of March.

As a reminder, its £20 for the year and if you would like to pay on a club night, cash would be appreciated.

Village Hall wifi connection

For those members who would like to be on line while at the hall.

PLANT SALE

We are planning a Plant Sale this year to be held in the Village Hall on May 7th

For this we will need PLANTS and plenty of them!

Please help by

1. Potting up any perenials you have been splitting.

2. Offer to grow on and re-pot plug plants provided by the club.

Jan Bebbington will be on hand at the next meeting to take names and give advice.

Together we can make this a great event so please help if you can.

Oaks of the World, by Harry Baldwin

Harry Baldwin is a Taxonomist and Dendrologist.  He trained and worked at Kew, and has recently become Head of Horticulture at Borde Hill gardens in Sussex.  Harry loved trees from a young age, and his interest in Oaks was inspired by the National Collection of Oaks at Hilliers Gardens.  He visited Grayshott Gardeners in February to share with us his considerable knowledge of this diverse and versatile family of trees.

Oaks have been important for humans since ancient times – many cultures developed with acorns as a staple to their diet.  And their wood has been used for centuries, to build cathedrals, ships and shaft props in the coal mines.

Oak trees are also a key host to other wildlife – ecologists estimate that a single tree can support 2000 species of flora, invertebrates and fungi.

England is blessed with many ancient oaks – more than elsewhere in Europe.  This may well be because our Royal Forests and Deer Parks, made fashionable by William the Conqueror, allowed commoners to collect wood, but not to cut the trees, thus preserving them for future generations.  Some of these trees are thought to be about 1000 years old.

There are 430 different species of oaks around the world – with Mexico having the most diverse population.  They produce acorns of many different shapes and sizes – which are dispersed by bears, squirrels, mice and deer.  Their strategy to evade these predators is known as “masting”.  Once every 5-7 years the tree will produce an abundance of acorns – too many for their predators to eat – ensuring some develop into trees.  In the intervening years, their predators go hungry – ensuring that populations are at a low level when the next “mast” year comes along.  So that’s why we spend some years digging up hundreds of self sown oak saplings, when other years there are very few.

We had a fascinating evening listening and learning about oaks.  Some of us might even have been converted to Quercophiles!

Newsletter February 2022

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Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

February 2022

FROM THE CHAIR

Dear Members

The bulbs are showing through, snowdrops are out, the birds are defending their territory, spring can’t be far away!

It is pleasing to see that our trials of making videos of our speakers and placing them on YouTube seems to be well received; viewings of our last speaker David Millais now total 40. The video will be removed Thursday 3rd February so last chance to view.

You may have noticed some committee members have changed their email address to one which reflects their roles, this is to keep private email addresses private, also, it places all club emails in one area which with numerous club emails makes it easier to manage for those members.

As you can imagine the plant sale will be smaller this year due to all the turmoil over the last two years. It was difficult to do any forward planning not knowing when “normal” might return. However, Jan who is heading up our plant sale really needs help if we are going to satisfy our customers and generate income which keeps our subscriptions down. So, this is an SOS call really, to help us produce sufficient plants to make our sale worthwhile. IF say 20 members would be prepared to receive and bring on a dozen plug plants in pots, which we would provide together with plant labels, you can then be reimbursed for the compost, as we really need to produce the best quality for sale. That would produce 240 plants to boost our sales, and or have you plants you will be splitting which could be potted up?

Jan has a list from Karen of plants that sold well previously. If you are willing to help, please call or e-mail Jan. I hope it’s not “famous last words”, but we expect to be better organised next year!

Thanking you in advance.

John

FEBRUARY 2022 MEETING

This month our Club Night Lecture is on Wednesday 9th February. It is at the usual time of 8pm in the Village Hall. Our speaker is Harry Baldwin, whom you will remember was due to speak at our December 2021 meeting but was indisposed at the last minute and so swapped with John Baker who kindly stepped in and talked to us about Hostas.

Harry is a young dendrologist (study of trees and shrubs) and horticultural taxonomist; he has worked at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and now is Head of Horticulture at Borde Hill.  Harry last came to speak to us in September 2019 and told us of his many travels. His lecture this year is entitled: ‘The World of Oaks’.

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Harry Baldwin and Gordon Rae

From 27 January, the wearing of face coverings is no longer a legal requirement. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet. For the most up-to-date guidance to keep yourself and others safe please visit this link.

Grayshott Gardeners Flower Count

New Year’s Day 2022

A great way to mark the beginning of a New Year is to get out in your garden and see what is flowering.  That is what a group of Grayshott Gardeners did this year, counting flowers that were fully open on the first day of January 2022. 

Our clever gardeners have planted their gardens so there is a bit of interest in every season, so many of the plants found were winter favourites – with many viburnums, witch hazels, mahonias and pansies (if the deer haven’t treated themselves to a flowery delicacy and pinched all the flowers).  It’s been a mild year so far, so it was interesting to see that some plants were still hanging onto their blooms from the summer.  But perhaps more surprising were the plants that were getting a head start for the coming season – with one brave pink rhododendron stealing the show.

Below we have a list of what you found – over 100 flowers counted in total, and 53 distinct species.

You also can view this article on our website.

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PLANT(S) OF THE MONTH IN GRAYSHOTT

This month, our President, Gordon Rae, is providing information on the Crocus and Snowdrop. Please do let us know what you think of this feature which was introduced in response to reader request. You can contact Gordon at president@grayshottgardeners.net

CROCUS and SNOWDROP

February is the month of crocuses and snowdrops, providing a smorgasbord of choice with hundreds of cultivars, varieties and forms to choose from.

From amongst the bewildering choice of crocus, one does stand out. The wild species is a native of Greece and especially Crete. My choice is a cultivated form, Crocus Sieberi subsp Sublimis f. ‘Tricolat’. Just 3’ – 4” tall, it has a fragrant 3-layered multi-coloured flower. The base is a golden yellow below a ring of pure white and topped with bright lilac/purple sepals and vivid yellow stamens inside the flower. Backlit by sunshine. Each crocus cup positively glows in the light.

Selecting one snowdrop is a more or less impossible task, but a year or so ago I was generously given one bulb of Galanthus ‘E. A. Bowles’. It is, without doubt one of the most perfectly formed and beautiful snowdrops I have ever seen. In 2011 one bulb fetched an eye-watering £327 at auction!

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Crocus Sieberi subsp Sublimis f. ‘Tricolat’

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Galanthus ‘E. A. Bowles’

WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN IN THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY

1. Prepare vegetable seed beds, and sew some vegetables under cover

2. Chit potato tubers

3. Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches

4. Net fruit and vegetable crops to keep off the birds

5. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

6. Divide bulbs such as snowdrops, and plant those out that need planting ‘in the green’

7. Prune wisteria

8. Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate overgrown deciduous hedges

9. Prune conservatory climbers such as bougainvillea

10. Cut back deciduous grasses left uncut over the winter, remove dead grass from evergreen grasses

The above list was taken from the R.H.S. website, but you also may wish to see these links for more information:

Thompson-Morgan

Gardeners World

Sarah Raven

Suttons

Sunday Gardener

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JUNE 2022 MEETING

We are delighted to announce that our June lecture, which is listed as ‘to be confirmed’ in the 2022 Handbook, is Dave Goulson talking about ‘The Garden Jungle – or Gardening to Save the Planet’. Dave is Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, a wildlife expert specialising in bee ecology.

Some of you may be familiar with Dave’s book with the same title. His thoughtful and illuminating book is both an intriguing glimpse into a world of mini-beasts and creepy crawlies, and a broadside against gardeners who casually use chemicals which destroy their habitats. A hymn to the unlimited possibilities of mankind’s communion with nature, The Garden Jungle will make you think twice about the creatures living within your lawn.

You can listen to Dave Goulson talking about his book at this link.

NAME THAT PLANT

We’ve not received any requests to identify plants, so we are going to ‘retire’ this particular feature from the newsletter. It may be possible, if you do have something in your garden that you need help identifying, that our new on-line forum may be the place to request that. This is something that was raised in our survey last year and currently is being developed. Please watch out for this in the Spring/Summer when it is hoped it will be up and running.