Cutting out the Middleman, by Benjamin Pope

A Guide to Growing and displaying your own cut flowers.

Benjamin Pope is Head Gardener at a private garden in West Sussex.  Apart from gardening, he takes a keen interest in beekeeping, travel, art and of course displaying cut flowers from his own garden.  He has a Diploma from Wisley and is a Master of Horticulture. 

Chairman John Price and Programme Secretary Sue Wheeler with Benjamin Pope

He gave a very interesting and informative talk about the different flowers you can grow in your own garden and display.  He said one should not be afraid of breaking the mould in arranging flowers.  Different sorts of flowers can be arranged with branches, shrubs and trees to decorate your home, but it is environmentally friendly and inexpensive to use what you have in your garden.   

You can grow different specimens of flowers and shrubs in the garden to pick for your arrangements, ranging from one or two different colours to hundreds.  Putting just two-coloured flowers in a vase can be more exciting that a whole range of colours.  Combining flowers in the garden was not only a good idea to add colour to the borders but also to pick.  Ben also suggested staggering planting of flowers so that you always had flowers to pick.    

He suggested seeds were a good way of cultivating favourite flowers.  They can be collected from spent flowers; they are cheap and can be brought on easily. Division was another good way of cultivating plants and cuttings were also a good way.  When taking a cutting cover with vermiculite and if you don’t have a greenhouse, find a warm place in which the cuttings can take.

When cutting flowers, we were reminded that sharp secateurs or garden snips were needed and a clean bucket.  Bacteria can affect cut flowers, so you need to put stems of flowers into clean water.  The best time to cut flowers is first thing in the morning.  The key is to rest not rush.  After cutting put the stems in a bucket of clean water and leave for 24 hours to soak up the water.  Make sure the water is free from bacteria, foliage (which will rot) and dirt. 

Cosmos and rudbeckia are great grown from seed and are good annuals and biannual.  Perennials such as aster, Michaelmas daisy, delphiniums and crocosmia are also wonderful flowers to display.

Bulbs and tubers such as anemone, gladioli, narcissus are good flowers to arrange.  Branches and flora from shrubs and trees, leaves with small branches such as willows and witch hazel are good for accompaniments for displays, as are rose hips and seed heads of clematis, lilac and berberis.  Herbs can also be used. Sage, zinnias and dianthus.  Moroccan mint is not only a good herb to use but has a heavenly scent.

Long stemmed plants such as dahlias and rudbeckia along with crab apple, asters and scabiosas are good accompaniments with Iris, peonies. 

You can put just three colours together to make a statement.  Sweet peas, roses allium is a good combination and for larger displays you can use delphiniums, alliums and foxglove together with different grasses.

Ben talked about what can be used as vases/containers.  He said they made up half the arrangement.   A bold colour should be used for a strong arrangement.  Snowdrops along with sedums make for a classic yellow and white display and it doesn’t have to be elaborate, cowslips can be used with meadow flowers such as feverfew. 

Different types of bottles can be used for displays.  An example being Hendrix bottles or test tubes containing snowdrops, or large spirit bottles for witch hazel and you can also use different sizes of jugs.  You should think about the weight of the display and consider using wires for structure and flower frogs.  Think about the neck of the container, a small neck limits how many stems you can use whereas large neck containers are good for larger displays.  Junk shops are always a good place to find different receptacles for displays. 

More information can be found on Ben’s website

Growing and Using Culinary Herbs, by Jekka McVicar

Jekka McVicar and GG Programme Secretary Sue Wheeler

Jekka’s eclectic career began when she was a singer and flute player in a progressive rock band.  The band was one of the first to appear at Glastonbury and to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival.  She subsequently worked at the BBC in the drama department and then went on to work at a herb nursery in Somerset.  In 1987, she and her husband Mac established their herb garden, which has now has the largest collection of culinary herbs in the UK hosting more than 500 different varieties.

Jekka has published many books, written for the RHS, contributes to many publications, and has been awarded the Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award ‘for services to horticulture, design, education and communication and excellence in the field of organic herb growing’ in 2012 and the Victoria Medal of Honour for her services to horticulture in 2017.

Jekka treated us to a fascinating and entertaining talk which started with her reminiscing on how as a child, she would visit her grandmother (Ruth Lowinsky), pick Mint from her garden and make mint sauce with sugar and white wine (or cider) vinegar.   A recipe she still uses today.    She then told us how she had started her ‘Herbetum’ 40 years ago, (etum meaning ‘collection of’) she continued to describe some popular herbs and the different ways we can use them.

Source: Jekka’s website

Mint when grown in a pot will last 6-8 weeks, it should be fed with a seaweed feed.  It should be cut back in September, fed and will keep growing until the frost.  It should be re potted in November.  Mixing Mint with peppermint can enhance good sleep.  Korean Mint is a beautiful plant which is not invasive and good for wildlife.

Bay is known for adding to casseroles, soups and bouquet garni, but is also delicious as ice-cream, the recipe for which is on her website.  

The best time to sow Garlic is on the shortest day and harvest on the longest.   Garlic was used in ancient Egyptian times for sores and has been scientifically proven to aid the healing of skin.  Welsh Onion, wild garlic and Siberian chives are all good for making flavoured vinegars. 

White borage flowers are lovely scattered on salads, also good in ice-cubes.

Calendula is good for putting in creams for skin but not for eating.

Heartease (Viola Tricolor) can be made into tea for long distance flying pigeons, they are nice in ice cubes.

Fennel, (which was introduced into this country by the Romans) helps with digestion and has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol.

French Tarragon (different to Russian Tarragon) is also a good digestive herb. It is also good to use in oils and vinegar.   Russian Tarragon is just an upper-class grass and bears no resemblance to French Tarragon.

Herbs are good for making syrups, added to soda water is a refreshing drink. 

Celery leaf is a UK native herb which was taken to India.  It has a milder taste than Coriander, which although thought to be native to India originated in Italy.  Coriander, Sorrel and Parsley can be grown in North facing gardens.  Coriander and Dill are annuals.  Seed them when you want them to crop and do not transplant.

Lavender is a useful medicinal herb.  It can be used to make biscuits, cakes and is also good ice cream.  Make sure to prune Lavender, Sage and Rosemary in September as it an become woody.  Sage is a good tea for sore throats.  Rosemary tea is good for memory, also good as a tonic and for hangovers.

There are 10 different types of Basil, good for rubbing on bites, especially mosquito bites.  It also hates being wet at night so must be watered in the morning.  It is better grown against a wall and not in pots.  Marjoram and Oregano used on pizzas, are the same plant.  There are 13 different types of Thyme and a favourite with bees to treat themselves against disease.  Rhubarb and lemon thyme crumble is a good pudding to make.

Lemon Verbena is the Rolls Royce of herbs, best in tea and wonderful in ice cubes.  Not to cut the stems now but to prune in April/May when the leaves just start to appear.

Liquorice is the sweetest of herbs, but invasive.

Jekka stressed that you must feed herbs regularly as you would vegetables to be rewarded.  Seeds should always be kept away from the light and dry, only take seeds from the packet you need, never put them back in the packet after being in your hand. Never keep seeds in the fridge.

Lots of information of growing herbs and recipes are on Jekka’s website and in her many books.  Her new book ‘100 Herbs to Grow’ is published in March 2024.

Thank you Jekka for a very entertaining and informative evening.

Pest Recognition and Control, by Andrew Halstead

Andrew gave a very informative talk on recognising and controlling pests in the garden.  Here is a summary of his talk, but please watch the video which John has uploaded on the website for detailed information.

He reminded us that there are rules and regulations on the use of pesticides.  We should read the information on the products before buying making sure it is approved for the type of trees, vegetable or flowers you wish to spray.  Please check, as some are toxic and not for use on produce which will eventually be for human consumption. 

Andrew suggested the audience look at the RHS website which has detailed information of the products available for pest control.

Andrew listed all the pests and how to control them starting with slugs and snails reminding us that pellets were no longer available and Ferric Phosphate was expensive.  Whilst other controls are used such as copper bands etc he said the best thing to use was pathogenic.

He went on to discuss root fly and how there is no preventative, although putting card or material under the plant can stop the maggots eating the roots.  The carrot fly can be avoided by netting the carrots.

It was interesting to learn about the Chafer Grub which lays its eggs in your beautiful lawn, not only ruining it, but encouraging badgers, which love to feed on them thus helping to destroy the lawn.   Unfortunately, there is no deterrent and no guarantee that the grub will not return.

The Vine Weevil is a nocturnal female feeding on the roots of plants and laying hundreds of eggs on namely Rhododendrons.  Nematodes can be used, or you can hunt them at night.

All Muck and Magic, by Geoff Hodge

This month Grayshott Gardeners learned all about our soil – including how to care for it and how to improve it. Geoff Hodge gave us a very entertaining lecture which unlocked some of the science behind the topic, and gave us a real insight into what is going on with our muck.

Geoff started by underlining how important a plant’s roots are to its health and well-being.  The roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, which are vital for growth and establishment.  If you want good plants that perform well, you need to look after their roots.

Healthy plants show much more resistance to pests and diseases – and with many pesticides now withdrawn from home use, it is important to grow plants as well as we can so they can fight off problems themselves.

Geoff explained how to look after your soil, by adding BOM (Bulky Organic Matter) to improve its structure and feed the micro flora and fauna that are so important to plant growth.  He then took us through examples of the wide array of fertilisers available on the market, and explained which was best for what function.  We now know how to use liquid, granular and slow release feeds, what to look for in an N:P:K ratio, and the dangers of over-feeding or feeding at the wrong time of year.

It’s a complicated topic, but Grayshott Gardeners are now armed with a little more knowledge that should help us successfully navigate the Garden Centre shelves (and keep our President’s pension in fine fettle).

Fruit for a Small Garden, by Jim Arbury

This month Grayshott Gardeners enjoyed a fascinating talk from Jim Arbury, the RHS Fruit Specialist based at Wisley.  Jim has an encyclopaedic knowledge of top fruit (apples, pears, plums and cherries) and soft fruit (raspberries, strawberries, currants, gooseberries and blueberries).  He shared some of this knowledge with us, with recommendations of what would work well in a relatively small space – a back garden, a section of a larger garden or an allotment.

Jim explained all the things we need to consider before deciding what to grow – a site’s aspect, soil type and micro climate.  He warned that growing in a frost pocket can be particularly challenging due to late frosts damaging the emerging blossom – and without good blossom, there will obviously be no fruit later in the year.

For apples and pears, Jim explained the importance of the choice of rootstock and pollination partners.  He also showed us how trained varieties, such as cordons and espaliers, can maximise production in a small space, as well as bringing very attractive structure to a garden.

Jim had many recommendations of varieties for us to consider – there was much scribbling of notes in the audience.  He also described the RHS apple identification service, which allows you to find out the variety of a tree that you have inherited (or simply lost the label for 😊).  Jim can identify about 700 varieties by sight alone!

The evening gave us a comprehensive overview of the potential our own spaces have for growing delicious fruit – roll on harvest time!

Pottering with Pottage: Wisley, the Flagship Garden of the RHS, by Matthew Pottage

We were delighted to welcome Matthew Pottage to speak to us at Grayshott Gardeners this month.  Matthew was the youngest ever curator of an RHS Garden when he was appointed to lead Wisley at the age of 29.  During the last 8 years he has overseen some of the most ambitious projects that the garden has ever undertaken.

With Wisley just up the road, it is a garden that many of us know and love – so it was fascinating to get a peek behind the scenes.  For example, next time we walk down the beautiful avenue of cherry trees that flank the new Garden entrance we will remember what it is like to have a shopping list of 150 semi-mature cherry trees (white flowering only please), all of which have to be quarantined for a year whilst they are closely monitored for pests and diseases.  This is gardening on a gigantic scale.

We also learned about the newest addition to the garden – Hilltop.  Its laboratories and three new gardens are now one of the go-to destinations in Wisley.  Each garden has a distinct purpose – the wildlife garden proves that catering for wildlife doesn’t have to be “messy”. The World Food garden showcases unusual crops amongst the traditional vegetables, and encourages all to be more adventurous in what we grow.  The Well Being garden is not only beautiful to be in, but also enables scientific research into to the benefits of green spaces to our mental health.

We also learned how change comes with challenges.  A bulging postbag from supporters and detractors accompanies each new development.  Moving the garden forward requires courage and a belief that the destination will be worth the disruption and upheaval.  Thankfully Matt is brave – and Wisley continues to inspire and excite us in equal measure!

Seed Sowing and Plant Propagation, by Ray Broughton

Finally the weather is warming up, and us gardeners are inevitably drawn to thinking about new plants.  So it was very timely to be able to welcome Ray Broughton to Grayshott Gardeners to give us a wealth of hints and tips about how to successfully grow our own plants from seeds and cuttings.

Ray has been a lecturer at Sparsholt College for many years, and his expertise in teaching shone throughout the evening.  He gave us so many tricks that it was hard to keep up – around the hall many scraps of paper were being filled with hastily taken notes. Grayshott Sainsbury’s may well have seen a run on Heinz tomato ketchup, cornflour, cling film and vinegar the following day.

He taught us how to clean our secateurs, make black seed visible, use static to collect wayward seeds (along with a useful dance move to discharge the static when it is no longer required), enrich the carbon dioxide in our greenhouses or conservatories, where to store our hosepipes, a space saving way to store hardwood cuttings, and how to break dormancy in seeds that are notoriously tricky, like parsnips.

It was an extremely entertaining evening, as well as an informative one.  We all left enthusiastic to put our newly gained knowledge into practice.

Ray very kindly donated his lecture fee to the charity Perennial.

Newsletter March 2023

Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter

March 2023

From The Chair

Dear Members,

A brief update.

*Sadly we have heard our member Sue Byrne has died  (Gordon has sent a card on our behalf). Funeral 1pm Tuesday, 7th March at Greenacres, Heatherly Wood, Headley Road, Grayshott, GU35 8LA.

* Following John Bakers presentation and the high interest in keeping Slugs off Hostas. Our Secretary Sally has purchased some bulk Garlic Crystals and is bottling a strong mix with which she is filling 500ml bottles, this dilutes to approx 20 litres, to spray onto the plants. She proposes selling it at our next meeting under the name “Slug-er off” !  £3 per bottle. All proceeds to club funds.

* BBC Gardeners World Fair returns to Beaulieu on 28-30 April 9.30am – 5pm contact

*Nick Bailey “365 Days Of Colour in the Garden” See Page 2

I look forward to seeing you all again on Wednesday 8th March for our very special Keynote lecture by Tony Kirkham


News in General


The final date for payment of 2023 Annual Subscriptions is on Wednesday 8th March at our Club Night in Grayshott Village Hall when the £20 payment by cash, cheque and card can be made.

Spring Show

Now that Spring appears to have sprung, hope you’re all poring over the Show Schedules, ready for entering on 15th April – let’s make it a show to remember.

 Any questions, please contact Pamela Wright at and we look forward to seeing you all there!


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

But some places are still available for

Beechenwood Farm

Saturday 1st April 1Information from Vanessa Thompson at a club night or email:  to reserve your place

Plant of the Month

Chrysosplenium macrophyllum

Roy Lancaster told me that it is a very good ‘thank you’ plant to take to your host instead of chocolates or wine!

The plant is the Giant Golden Saxifrage(Chrysosplenium macrophyllum), an unusual and rather dramatic woodland plant from China.It is grown more as a ground cover plant in moist or moisture retentive soils for its foliage rather than its flowers.

The leaves are large (hence the Latin name)rather like a Bergenia, succulent, ovate, brownish when young and hairy, producing a good ground covering mat.

It is a low maintenance plant. It flowers early in February/March, the pinkish/white flat headed umbels borne on 15 to 30 cm (6”-12”) stems bursting from large swollen deep pink buds.

The flowers attract pollinating insects after flowering.

Each plant produces a mass of long strong growing stolons like the ‘Day of the Triffids’, scrambling over the adjacent plants and rooting at the tip, thus spreading the colony. Each year Judith pulls all the stolons off to keep our patch under control. If left, the new plants, being shallow rooted, are easy to transplant, pot up, to give away or sell at GGs!

The Giant Golden Saxifrage is best planted in full or partial shade in a sheltered spot, is tolerant of a wide range of moisture retentive soils, is largely pest (slugs!) and disease-free and fully hardy.

It is worth growing. Please let us know if you don’t have it in your garden and we will try to find one for you.

Local Events

Nick Bailey

Tickets for this event cost £10 and must be pre-booked as seating is limited.

Go to: Go to ‘next event’, Select ‘Celebrity speaker registration’, Fill in the form and submit

Proof of registration will be sent to you.

£10 is payable on the door on

February Meeting

We had the pleasure of welcoming Maggie Tran to our monthly meeting on February 8th to give us a fascinating talk.

‘The Trowels and Tribulations of taking on an Historic Garden’

Maggie turned from a fine arts background to a career in horticulture. She trained at Wisley for two years and obtained scholarships to places both in this country and abroad. A very impressive list – Great Dixter, Cambo gardens in Scotland, Sissinghurst, Kerdalo in Brittany, Tresco Abbey Gardens – Scilly’s subtropical gem and lastly Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania where, much to her delight, she found 80 acres of original wild meadow land to wander through!

Finally, in 2018 she took on the formidable task of restoring the gardens at Bramdean House to its original splendour.

It was  a most entertaining and inspiring evening – well worth the effort of stepping out on a very cold and frosty evening.

Bramdean House garden is open  under the NGS on Sundays 19 February and 25 June (13:00 – 15:30)  Visits also by arrangement March to September.

More information and pictures can be seen on our website.

March Meeting

This month we’ll be welcoming Tony Kirkham for our special Keynote lecture this month

Trees, a Cut Above The Rest

Tony Kirkham retired from his role as Head of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, at the end of July 2021, after over 40 years’ devoted service to the management of its trees.

Tony joined the team at Kew as a supervisor after completing a diploma there – and he has never looked back. Over the years he has been responsible for the development of the arboretum into the world-class venue it is today, caring for over 14,000 specimens, with 150–200 more trees planted each year.

Well known through many books, articles and television programmes, his infectious enthusiasm for all things arboricultural has won him a place in the hearts of the general public, and when he teamed up with Dame Judi Dench, first in the TV programme about an oak tree near her home and later with a research trip to Borneo, his fame was secured as part of a duo of ‘national treasures’!

The meeting will be held in

Grayshott Village Hall  Wednesday March 8th 2023

Light refreshments will be served and there will be a raffle

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

Jobs for this month

Spring arrives (fingers crossed)

Spring usually arrives by mid-March and the frequent sunny days provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It’s time to get busy preparing seed beds, sowing seed, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden.

1. Prune bush and climbing roses

These general tips for rose pruning will help you improve the health and lifespan of any rose.

2. Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes

Onions are such a versatile vegetable – they feature in so many recipes, and growing your own means you’ll always have them to hand.

Dont forget to plant your competition potatoes ready for the Summer Show on 15th July

3.Plant summer-flowering bulbs

Bulbs make a fine display planted in containers or borders, especially daffodils, snowdrops and tulips in spring.

More jobs for this month

   4. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials.

Please pot  some up ready for The Annual Plants Sale on 13th May

    5.Top dress containers with fresh compost

    6.Mow the lawn on dry days (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 early

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

    10.Protect new spring shoots from slugs.

Get your magic mixture at the club night on March 8th.

The Trowels and Tribulations of taking on a Historic Garden, by Maggie Tran

We had the pleasure of welcoming Maggie Tran to our monthly meeting on February 8th to give us this fascinating talk.

Maggie turned from a fine arts background to a career in horticulture. She trained at Wisley for two years and obtained scholarships to places both in this country and abroad. A very impressive list – Great Dixter, Cambo gardens in Scotland, Sissinghurst, Kerdalo in Brittany, Tresco Abbey Gardens – Scilly’s subtropical gem and lastly Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania where, much to her delight she found 80 acres of original wild meadow land to wander through!

Finally, in 2018 she took on the formidable task of restoring the gardens at Bramdean House to its original splendour.

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 then owner, Victoria Wakefield, and her mother. Victoria was a Kew trustee and part of the RHS judging panels.

Victoria was an avid plantswoman and packed the borders with as many different and diverse plants as she could find.

Unfortunately, for some years the garden was left to do its own thing until it was passed down to the next generation – Victoria’s son Teddy and his family who, along with Maggie are working hard to bring it forward to contemporary times and practices. A difficult task by any standards but with a workforce of only 5 (Maggie being the only full-time gardener) sustainability became the order of the day. In 1944 there were 40 gardeners employed!

So it started, but instead of doing a massive, much needed clear-out, Maggie restrained herself for a year to just watch and see what developed. Time was not wasted however as she began to cut back the obvious climbers which were not only entering the roof space but also covering the windows. She said it had been like carefully removing layers to expose the gems beneath.

The Mirror Beds, for which the garden is famous, were completely restored and are now quite magnificent throughout the year. Each one mirroring the other – that is along as the plants behave and don’t start wandering.

The walled kitchen garden which extends to over an acre, the greenhouse and the shed were all also desperately in need of a makeover.

Maggie told us that there were enough leeks growing to feed the whole of Hampshire – well nearly! She and her team have now divided the plot into smaller beds and using a non-dig method are growing a larger variety of vegetables and cut flowers.

All this as well as maintaining the massive sweet pea collection, the orchard with a beautiful meadow and the grand old Grandfather oak – what a task!

All in all a most entertaining and inspiring evening – well worth the effort of stepping out on a very cold and frosty evening.

Bramdean House garden is open  under the NGS on Sundays 19 February and 25 June (13:00 – 15:30)  Visits also by arrangement March to September

Maggie very kindly donated her lecture fee to the charity Perennial.

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