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.