Somerset HPS Programme 2023

The Programme page on the Somerset HPS website has now been updated for 2023. Click here to read about a range of fascinating speakers coming to give talks from January onwards. There is also a range of garden visits, starting with snowdrops and cyclamen in Devon this February, and of course the Group plant sales and fairs to look forward to.

Happy New Year!

Marion Jay

Actea ‘Blickfang’ For Sale

A large (5 litre+) potted Actea ‘Blickfang’ for sale: £10. Recommended by none other than Jimi Blake himself, much sought after and rarely available. An excellent specimen which has flowered this summer. I can bring it to the meeting this coming Saturday if you are able to collect it then. Email if you’re interested.

Marion Jay

2019 Snowdrop Openings

Every Day in February

Ston Easton Park

10.30am – 4pm

A stunning garden of beautiful parkland within a historic Repton landscape kicks off the NGS Snowdrop Festival for 2019.  Cyclamen and hellebore accompany the snowdrops.

Sunday 3rd February – Cancelled

Elworthy Cottage

11am – 4pm

Our very own HPS members, Mike and Jenny Spiller, will be opening to show their remarkable collection of snowdrops, amongst other late winter flowers.   Elworthy Cottage is well worth a visit if you have a passion for galanthus – the range of varieties is superb, and the nursery has a selection for sale, too.  Home-made teas available.

Rock House

11am – 4pm

A 2-acre garden just north of Bristol, which is swathed in broad drifts of snowdrops at this time of year.  Some unusual varieties, too.

Vine House

1pm – 4pm

Behind a listed Georgian house on the West Side of Bristol is a garden full of snowdrops, flowering amongst mature trees, shrubs, herbaceous borders and alongside a stream.  No refreshments.

Saturday 9th February  

Elworthy Cottage

11am – 4pm

Sunday 10th February

Rock House

11am – 4pm

Friday 15th February

Elworthy Cottage

11am – 4pm

Sunday 17th February and Throughout The Month

East Lambrook Manor Gardens

10am – 5pm

HPS members will be familiar with East Lambrook’s quintessential English cottage garden in spring and summer, but have you seen it in its winter glory?  With noted collections of snowdrops and hellebores, and the excellent specialist Margery Fish Plant Nursery, this is a galanthophile’s dream.  Refreshments available.

See previous news item

Thursday 21st February

Southfield Farm

10am – 1pm

This 2-acre, owner-designed garden near Nailsea has much winter colour and scent.  Aconites, heathers, snowdrops, hellebores and more.  Indoor tearoom in the stable yard.

Annual Plant Sale Reminder

Saturday 22nd April – Group Plant Sale 

A large selection of good quality, locally-grown hardy plants – including some unusual varieties – at reasonable prices, plus specialist nursery stalls.

10am – 12.30pm        West Monkton Village Hall        Admission:  £1

Free parking       Refreshments on Sale

A diverse range of hardy perennials will be on offer at our annual Plant Sale, as well as shrubs, annuals and vegetable plants.  Come early to grab a bargain.  Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends and relations!

Any plants you may be able to donate to the Group table would be gratefully received; just bring them along on the day.  Please note this is not a 50:50 sale.

Cakes Wanted

We need cakes for the refreshments on Saturday.  If you are able to provide any, please would you email Elizabeth Gibbs to let her know you are doing so.  Elizabeth’s email address is   Thankyou.

East Lambrook Manor Spring Plant Fair

HPS Somerset Group’s Early Spring Plant Fair at East Lambrook Manor last Saturday proved to be a resounding success, with the fine weather bringing crowds of eager gardeners.  When Bill and I arrived at 9.50am there was already a long queue outside the gate, and visitors continued to arrive well into the afternoon.  There was a cheerful atmosphere amongst the stalls and business was brisk, with a huge range of jewel-like spring flowers on offer, as well as more exotic specimens.  People chatted as they queued to pay, exchanging advice and encouragement.  By the end of the day most of the stalls were much depleted, despite nurserymen replenishing their tables as plants were sold.

The Manor gardens were looking very pretty in the sunshine: The Ditch was scattered with dainty blue Scilla bithynica and massed hellebores were still showing colour throughout the borders.  East Lambrook’s nursery was a treasure trove of hardy perennials, with a wide variety of cottage garden plants at very reasonable prices.

All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a bright, warm day in spring.  Our thanks go to Mike and Gail Werkmeister of East Lambrook Manor for hosting the fair, and everyone else who helped to make the event such a triumph; in particular Roy, Stuart and Jane, without whom it would never have come to fruition.

Marion Jay

Ro FitzGerald On Teasels | Exmoor Magazine

Somerset HPS member Ro FitzGerald has written a fascinating article on teasels in the Winter issue of Exmoor magazine. The 5-page spread includes advice on how to use teasels to good effect in your garden, and explores the historical use of teasel heads as tools to raise the nap during cloth-making, particularly in Somerset where they were grown as a crop. It also features the work of artist Gillian Widden of Staple Fitzpaine, who has used wild teasels to create inspiring and beautiful basket-like artworks. As someone who has always used teasels in my own garden for their nectar-rich flowers and architectural structure, I found Ro’s article an engrossing read.

Click to visit their website

Somerset HPS Update


Ro FitzGerald’s wonderful 2017 calendar, featuring all the selections she has chosen each month throughout 2016, is now available.  I took orders at our last meeting but I still have a few remaining.  Because of the interest (and hence print volume), the price is now £7.50 rather than the previously advertised £10 (a bargain, Ed.).  I shall have them available at our November AGM, so if you’d like one and want to avoid disappointment please place your order with me now at

Stuart Senior


Tea Volunteer

Ruth has asked for one volunteer to help prepare and serve tea and coffee at the AGM on the 19th of November. Please reply to this email if you can help, or use the contact page on the website. Alternatively email Ruth or the committee directly.


Just a note to say that the details of next year’s coach and self-drive trips are now on the Programme page of the website.

2016/17 Programme Update

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The latest programme of speakers is now available to view on the Somerset HPS website.  We have an exciting line-up for the coming months, with talks from snowdrop connoisseur Alan Street of Avon Bulbs; Michaelmas daisy expert Helen Picton, and the internationally renowned Dublin gardener Helen Dillon.  Click here to view the programme.

Forde Abbey Plant Fair Reminder


Don’t forget, this Saturday 24th is the Somerset Group’s first ever Autumn Plant Fair. This is a new venture for us and promises to be an exciting event, set within the inspiring surroundings of Forde Abbey.  Many specialist nurseries and rural craftspeople will be attending.  Our group members will be manning a stand selling plants, explaining what the HPS is about, and showing children how to plant bulbs. We have publicised the event far and wide, and hope to attract a large crowd on the day.

So whether you’re looking for something rare and unusual, or just have a few gaps to fill in your autumn borders, come along and join in the jamboree.  The gates open at 10am and entry costs just £5, which includes admission to Forde Abbey’s gardens (usually £10).  The Undercroft Tearoom serves a range of teas, coffees and cakes, and also provides light lunches from 12 – 2.30pm. The Plant Fair will end at 4pm.

Exhibitors include:

The Forde Abbey Nursery will also be open.

The map below can give you directions to Forde Abbey (if you’re looking at this in an email please click the title and view this on the website)