Newsletter February 2023

From The Chair

Dear Members,

At last we are thawing out!

Gordon tells me his Snowdrops in pots, which are partly buried in the soil, are frozen in. But with the thaw, he expects them to be ready for our next meeting.

Despite the frosts, unlike us, it never fails to impress me that the plants are putting their heads out!

As you return to the garden, will you please think ahead to our important plant sale, where if you can split plants, Jan on behalf of the club will be most grateful for your contribution.

I look forward to welcoming you to our next meeting on Wednesday 8th February when Maggie Tran, Head Gardener at Bramdean House, will be regaling us on  “The Trowels and Tribulations of taking on an Historic Garden”

Best wishes.


News in General


Subs of £20 are now due. Your membership from last year will expire at the end of this month.

Ways to pay :-

Cash,card or cheque at a club night.

Bank transfer (details on the web site)

Flower Count

In what has become a bit of a tradition, Grayshott Gardeners went out into their gardens at the beginning of January to count as many blooms as they could find.The list may have been shorter than in previous years, but some plants were still braving the elements, and between us we racked up a total of 34 species.  And how heart lifting those diminutive flowers were.  A tiny reminder that spring is on its way …..

Plant of the Month

There are over 100 species of crocus, so although it is a full botanical mouthful ‘Tricolor’ is my choice for the February plant for the month.It is one of the earliest and most striking of all the crocuses and it is fragrant. Just 3 – 4 inches tall. Leaves and flowers emerge at the same time. The leaves have an attractive white silvery stripe along the middle, but it is the flower for which this highly desirable crocus is noted. The flowers are tripartite. They have a mauve top, a white central band and a bright yellow, orange base.

Crocus sieberi subsp. sublims ‘Tricolor’

They remain closed in dull weather, but in sunlight open to reveal a rich yellow centre and dark orange stamens. With the light behind the flowers they positively glow.

Easy to grow in any well-drained soil in most aspects from sun to shade. They multiply naturally producing more corms or can be propagated by the seeds.They are hardy.

Unfortunately like Winter Aconites, mice and squirrels do have crocus corms on their diet of choice!

That said do try to grow ’Tricolor’ it is a visual treat in the cold days of February and early March.


The Munstead Wood Garden visit is now full. Vanessa has opened a waiting list.

But some places are still available for Beechenwood Farm – A private 2-acre garden near Odiham, Hants

Saturday 1st April 10.30am

 Developed by the owners since 1965 this tranquil garden offers maturity, a lightness of touch, peace and inspiration.

Woodland, herb garden, orchard, veg patch, specimen trees and extensive views from the belvedere!

Homemade refreshments and plant sales

Lunch visit afterwards! (optional)

 Cost £10 per head.  In aid of the National Garden Scheme Charity

January Meeting

Our first club night lecture of 2023 was given by our very own John Baker, who gave a very entertaining lecture about all things Hosta.

John went right back to the origins of the Hostas we grow in our gardens today – which originated in Manchuria, and from there spread to Korea, Russia and Japan.  They were originally classified as Hemerocallis, or Day Lilies – which explains their common name of Plantain Lilies.

John couldn’t talk about Hostas without addressing the elephant in the room – Slugs and Snails.  He gave us recipes for garlic spray and told us how to use Epsom salts and Ammonia.  And his top tip was to mark February 14th in our calendars for the Valentine’s Day massacre.

John Baker with our chairman sporting his magnificent Christmas jumper!

February Meeting

This month we’ll be welcoming Maggie Tran to give a talk on

The Trowels and Tribulations of taking on a Historic Garden

 Maggie is the current Head Gardener at Bramdean House and brings a wealth of experience to share with us on the rare and unusual plant collection and mirror borders that can be found there.

Bramdean House Garden is a “plant lover’s garden” in Hampshire covering 5 acres. The house itself dates back to the 1740s but the garden has been established since the 1940s by the present owner, Victoria Wakefield, and her mother

The meeting will be held in

Grayshott Village Hall

 Wednesday February 8th 2023

Light refreshments will be served

Doors open at 7.15pm ready for the lecture to begin at 8pm.

Also at the meeting –

Snowdrops – thanks to Gordon and Judith Rae snowdrops will once again be on sale.

Subscriptions – A gentle reminder from Jane our programme secretary. Subs for 2023 (£20) are now due and she will be on hand to collect subscriptions, by cash, cheque or card.

Jobs for this Month

Its February and Spring is in sight

This month there are signs of the approaching spring, with bulbs appearing and wildlife waking up as light levels and temperatures increase. There’s plenty to do indoors this month to prepare for the season ahead. Outdoors, as the garden comes to life again, it’s time to prune shrubs and climbers, such as Wisteria as well as evergreen hedges.

Don’t forget the Valentine’s Day Massacre of slugs and snails.

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

Knowing which vegetables to sow where, when and how means you can maintain constant supplies throughout the season

2. Chit potato tubers

It’s important with earlies, and a good idea with main-crops, to ‘chit’ the seed potatoes before planting. This means allowing them to start sprouting shoots.

Not forgetting the special competion potatoes ready for the summer show on 15th July 2023

These can be collected at the next club night 8th February.

3. Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches

Most top fruit and soft fruit are very hardy but once they start into growth in spring, flowers and buds are especially vulnerable to frost and may need protection to crop well next season.

More jobs for this month

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

 5. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

6. Divide bulbs such as snowdrops, and plant those 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