Newsletter January 2022

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Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

January 2022


Dear Members

In wishing you a happy and safe New Year, I hope you managed to take advantage of the unexpected warm weather in December, as I did, to catch up with those last jobs in the garden before the real winter starts.

Looking forward to 2022, Sue has produced another series of varied and quality lectures which we hope will be live. However, if events turn against us, be confident we will be ready to Zoom if necessary.

The trial of making a video of John Baker’s fascinating lecture on ‘The Gardens of Japan’ went off successfully. We had over 30 viewings on YouTube, which I hope enabled members who were unable to attend not to miss out.

If you enjoy looking at gardens around Hampshire and Surrey, would you be interested in planning a few trips for the club during the summer? This is not a committee role, but it would mean discussing the visits with the owners and setting up dates for us to visit as a group, where we would make our own travel arrangements. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me or a member of the committee.

Best wishes. John


We thought it might be fun to start 2022 with a Grayshott Gardeners New Year’s Day Flower Count… we did to herald in 2021. Our first count really caught your imagination with Club members identifying 66 different plant species in flower. Let’s see if we can beat that in 2022!

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 Co-ordinator, at  (you can even include pictures if you want to).  It’s not a competition – just a bit of fun.

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


Our first meeting of the new year is on Wednesday 12th January. At the time of writing, we are scheduled to meet in the Village Hall, at 7.30pm for 8.00pm, but please check your e-mail and/or the website for up-to-date information, nearer the time.

This month we have invited a local lad to speak. He may be local, but he is renowned throughout the world as a Rhododendrons and Azaleas specialist. David Millais, known to many of you, I’m sure, as the person who runs the Millais Nursery in Churt.

David’s nursery grows one of the widest ranges of Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the world; he has an unparalleled experience of the genus and has achieved 5 consecutive RHS Gold medals at Chelsea. The Millais family has been established at Crosswater Farm since 1947, but their Rhododendron heritage goes back to the naturalist, botanist and author J G Millais, who identified and described many Rhododendrons for the first time and published his great two volume series ‘Rhododendrons’ (1917 and 1924). Ted and Romy Millais started the nursery in 1970, and as septuagenarians they organized many exciting plant hunting trips to the Himalayas, and introduced several wonderful new species, some of which are offered there now.

We look forward to seeing you on the 12th.

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Thank you to the people who responded with suggestions about the photograph of the flower featured in the December newsletter – Pat Barrett, Anne Butler, Karen Cozens, and Gordon Rae.  Both Karen and Gordon think it is a Eschscholzia californica – Californian poppy – while Pat thinks it’s a Eschscholzia caespitosa – tufted poppy (USA).  It’s difficult to tell exactly which, as they are very similar. Knowing how the whole plant looks, I’m tempted to think it’s a caespitosa – but will take a more detailed look at the next flowers just to be sure!

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Both these poppies do well in poor well drained soil, so good for our gardens. They both need full sun to flower fully though.  The E. californica is a vigorous bushy, spreading annual to 30cm, with finely divided blue-green leaves and orange, yellow or red flowers to 7cm across in summer.  It can also be grown as a drought-tolerant pot plant. The E. caespitosa is an annual forming a low mound of finely divided grey-green leaves with fragrant, 4-petalled bright flowers to 5cm across in summer.

For more information, see this link from the R.H.S.

For our February newsletter, please do send in a photo of any plant you would like help identifying – the deadline for submission is 15th January to Pamela Wright at 


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


Our New Year’s Day survey of what is in flower in a Grayshott garden will yield an unexpectedly long list of plant names. From the list, the simple Winter Pansy will probably produce the widest range of riotous colour for the longest period of times of them all.

Planted in November/December they will flower continuously until spring. Winter Pansies (four (4) petals up and one (1) down) is a Pansy. Two (2) petals up and three (3) down is a Viola) are easy to grow from seed or plugs, are hardy and do particularly well in pots with spring bulbs, especially in a sunny position. The downside……the deer love them. In pots, in our front garden, they will continue to nibble all the new growth as it appears and this year we will not have any flower at all!

Here’s a link from the R.H.S. about the Winter Pansy as part of a winter collection in a container to brighten up a patio or balcony giving colour and interest over the cold season.

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Winter Pansy in January

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Winter Pansy eaten by Roe Deer

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Winter Pansy in a pot, still in flower in April


1.Prune apples and pears

2.Clean pots and greenhouses ready for the spring

3.Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already

4.Disperse cast worms in lawns

5. Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia, Begonia and Canna for rots or drying out

6.Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch

7.Start forcing rhubarb

8.Plan your vegetable crop rotation for the coming season

9.Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds

10.Make a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect against peach leaf curl

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


Gardeners World

Bunny Guinness – who has been dreaming of a green Christmas

Sarah Raven


And for those you into armchair gardening, here’s a link to some podcasts which member Karen Cozens has come across: The English Garden