Elworthy Cottage – Tuesday 25th

Our members Mike and Jenny Spiller’s garden at Elworthy Cottage, Elworthy is open for the National Garden Scheme on Tuesday 25th April from 11am to 4.30 pm admission £4.50. Tea, coffee and cake available in aid of the Childrens Hospice South West. The adjoining nursery will also be open. Phone 01984656427 www.elworthy-cottage.co.uk Elworthy is on the B3188 12miles NW of Taunton (postcode TA4 3PX)

HPS Somerset Group Plant Sale – April 22nd

West Monkton Village Hall10.00am – 12.30pm

Admission £1

The HPS Somerset Group’s yearly Plant Sale takes place this coming Saturday 22nd, from 10am to 12.30pm.  There will be a wide variety of plants available, including herbaceous perennials, shrubs, annuals and biennials, all designed to add colour and interest to your borders.

All donated plants will be gratefully received on the day, just bring them along on Saturday morning and they will be added to the Group Table.

It is useful to have clear and accurate labelling  – customers are far less likely to buy a plant when they can’t identify it – so please put the genus and species or variety on the label, if you know it.  If you don’t know the species or variety, then the genus and flower colour would be better than nothing.

Meeting Reminder for Saturday 15th April

Our next group meeting is coming up on Saturday 15th.

Derek Dexter – ‘Fuchsias My Way’

Derek has 22 years’ experience of growing award-winning fuchsias, and has won a number of medals at Hampton Court Flower Show.  He has been a member of the British Fuchsia Society for 17 years and is an expert in his field, growing many different types of fuchsia which can’t be bought from local nurseries.

In this talk, Derek will tell us how to grow, propagate and overwinter our fuchsias.  He will also be looking back over his own career in horticulture – the triumphs and disasters!  There will be advice on how to deal with fuchsia pests and diseases, and how to keep your plants looking their best all summer. 

Caroline Reeves asks:

We need a couple of people to help with serving refreshments at the plant sale on the 22nd at West Monkton Village Hall and also  donations of plants for the group’s sales table and cakes to serve with the refreshments.

Many thanks, Caroline.

Indoor Plant Sale – April 22nd

The HPS Somerset Group’s popular annual indoor Plant Sale is taking place at West Monkton Village Hall, Monkton Heathfield near Taunton TA2 8NE on Saturday 22 April 2023. The stallholders will be a mix of local nurseries and keen growers amongst our group members. Amongst the nurseries taking part are Biocentric Plants, Elworthy Cottage Plants and In Clover.

Entry to the Plant Sale is just £1. Refreshments will be on sale during the morning and there is free parking on site.

Next Meeting: Saturday 18th, Helen Picton

Helen Picton – ‘Daisy Days – The Rise, Fall and Renaissance

Helen Picton is the third generation of Pictons to be running Old Court Nurseries in Colwall, Herefordshire. The nursery has specialised in Michaelmas daisies since 1906; growing, breeding and now preserving these invaluable autumn-flowering plants. Helen trained as a botanist at the University of Reading before returning to the nursery to work full time in 2009. She now co-runs the nursery and garden.

This talk tells the story of Michaelmas daisies from Virgil right up to the modern day, and includes the birth and development of Old Court Nurseries, which houses the National Collection with more than 430 varieties.  Helen will give a taster of the diversity of plants covered by the term ‘Michaelmas daisy’, as well as some essential propagation and growing tips.


All meetings start at 11am, with the hall open prior for tea, coffee, biscuits and chat.

Hadspen House Booklet Search

Sonja Harris asks:

Does anyone have a copy of the visitor booklet / leaflet for Hadspen House when it was under the ownership of the Hobhouses? It also served as a plant list and entry ticket, I understand. 

I have one from Sandra and Nori Pope’s time, but no earlier.

With thanks

Early Spring Plant Fair Looking Fabulous

With the Plant Fair less than three weeks away now, we hope to tempt anyone who has yet to book by announcing the list of wonderful stallholders who will be bringing their plants and garden-related items for your delectation!

  • Gardener’s Blacksmith
  • Avon Bulbs
  • Longacre Plants
  • Elworthy Cottage
  • Wild Thyme
  • Pottertons Nursery
  • Triffids Nursery
  • CB Plants
  • Floyds Climbers
  • Gardeners’ Delight
  • Hilltop Garden
  • Phoenix Perennial Plants
  • Leesa’s Not Just Alpines
  • Beans & Herbs
  • Heartsease Plants

Plus the popular HPS plant stall. 

Added to the attraction of all those fabulous plants that you really need to get for your garden, the Yeo Valley Garden is already looking really fabulous. There will also be delicious food items to buy in the cafe and shop – bring your cool bag to stock up on Yeo Valley products.

Ticket sales are hotting up now and one of the morning arrival slots has now closed so book your tickets as soon as possible. Go to the tickets website to book your place right away.

Jane Hunt.

Early Spring Plant Fair at Yeo Valley Organic Garden

25th March 2023

Tickets for the Fair are now available to purchase online. Go to the booking site via this link or the button under the poster on the Somerset HPS website. There is a small discount for HPS members.

However, you can attend the Fair for free by becoming a volunteer on the entrance gate for a two hour session during the Fair. We still need one person to help from 9.30am to 11.30am and two people to man the gate from 1.30pm to 3.30pm (last entrance to the Fair is at 3.00pm but there will be some minor clearing up afterwards).

The role involves checking tickets against a list which will provided – there is little or no money handling involved. Visit the Fair and the garden for free before or after your stint on the gate.

If you feel unable to volunteer in a committee position, this is your opportunity to show your support and help us raise vital funds, keeping the cost of membership to the current low level we all enjoy.

If you can help, please get in touch with Jane Hunt via the contact page.

Belated Reminder – Feb 18th Meeting

Saturday 18th February – West Monkton Village Hall 11am

Tom Clarke – ‘Exbury Gardens – The First 100 Years’

Created just over 100 years ago, Exbury spans over 200 acres of the New Forest. Tom is Head Gardener at Exbury. He says: “The 1920s were the golden age of woodland gardening, and Exbury was at the cutting edge of this movement. The location, climate, existing oak woodland and acid soil all allowed for the creation of one of the finest gardens of its kind in the UK. Combine this with the legacy of the great plant hunters, and the extensive plant breeding programme at Exbury, and we are fortunate enough to have inherited a truly wonderful garden packed full of horticultural treasures.” A lecture not to be missed!