Lyme Regis: A Screening of Five Seasons: the Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Beat the winter blues and transport yourself to beautiful gardens in New York, Chicago, the UK and Holland. A 75- minute documentary on the internationally renowned Dutch garden designer.

Sunday 12 January at 3pm, The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis; bar opens 2pm. All welcome.

Tickets online at – £6 plus £1.06 booking fee

See our website at for details

PoTM: Camellia sasanqua

About 20 years ago I visited the gardens of Japan to admire their subtle, concealed beauty, and perhaps to understand them a little better.  We all know they are enigmatic, controlled, but they seemed to connect on a very deep level.

It was December when I first visited some of the major Japanese gardens.  But far from being sterile and lifeless, their ‘emptiness’ was highlighted by one or two strategically placed Camellia sasanqua.

In Japan, traditionally native plants are grown singly to celebrate a season, and to focus the visitor’s mind on their especial beauty.  (I can remember vividly queuing with my friends and colleagues to take a picture of a single blue gentian!)  Less is certainly more.  But on that cold, dry December day the pink camellia shone in the mid-winter sunshine.  Its crisp, single flowers were perfect.  One or two petals lay artfully on the ground.

It reminded me of a story of one very great, pioneering tea-master, Sen no Rikyu, who created and popularised the tea ceremony in Japan.  He was training his son in the ways of garden-making and asked him to sweep away the fallen petals of a camellia.  The son duly obeyed to the best of his ability, but his father was not impressed.  He ordered the boy to clear more petals.  Again, he obeyed.  Again, Father was unimpressed.  Once more, the boy was told to finish the job.  “There, father.  There are no more fallen petals now.”  Rikyu then held the camellia by its main stem, and gave it a firm shake.  Petals cascaded to the ground.  “There, boy. That touch of naturalness is what we’re after”.  You can imagine the boy’s reaction.

Since my encounter with these very special, winter-flowering camellias, I have found quite a few named varieties and bought them.  I have C. sasanqua ‘Plantation Pink’, now in a 20-litre pot of ericaceous compost outside my lobby window, sheltered from the north and east.  And last year I bought a C. sasanqua ‘Yuletide Red’ that was covered in single, Christmas-red flowers with a boss of bright yellow stamens.

They spend the winter on the north side of the house, where the walls protect them from the worst of the weather.  They are not quite so hardy in the UK.  And they face west: a trick I learned when we gardened in the acid soils of Kent.  If the flowers get frosted, it is essential to let them melt and warm up again as slowly as possible.  They are pruned to shape only during the six weeks following flowering. This is the only time of year when camellias, and rhododendrons, make ‘extension growth’.  At any other time the flower-buds will already be forming.

So once again, this Christmas, I am hoping that the waxen flowers of these camellias will lend a glow and a warmth to the cold air.  I plan to pick just one or two buds and bring them in for the festive table.

Sally Gregson
December 2019

Meeting Reminder: Sat Nov 23rd AGM and Tom Hart Dyke

Saturday 23rd November – 10am for 10.30 AGM.                          

AGM, followed at 11.15am by

Tom Hart Dyke – ‘Tales of a Modern-Day Plant Hunter’

Tom Hart Dyke first shot to international prominence in the year 2000, when he was kidnapped in the Colombian jungle on a plant hunting expedition that went dangerously wrong.  His plant-hunting jaunts have taken him from the volcanic archipelagos of the Cape Verde Islands to down under in Tasmania, and from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the remote Mentawai Islands in Indonesia.  Many of his collected plants are housed in the World Garden of Plants, which he created within a two-acre walled garden in the grounds of his ancestral home of Lullingstone Castle in Kent.  This promises to be a talk woven with adventurous and exotic tales…and some fascinating plants.

My Journey Through Great Gardens


Presents an evening with ALAN POWER for a talk on My Journey Through Great Gardens

Alan Power, head gardener at Stourhead for over 20 years, found his love of gardens in his native Ireland, growing up outside Cork under the influence of his mother, an international champion at flower arranging.

He got hooked watching his mother pack up a garden and take it with them when they moved, and eventually came to study both horticulture and arboriculture in the UK, going on to gather expertise in managing huge historical gardens under the National Trust. He has won an honorary doctorate for his contributions to horticulture, presented on the BBC TV series on great gardens, and presented on Gardeners’ World

14th November 2019 at 7.30 pm in the Millennium Hall, Seavington St Mary TA19 0QH

Visitors welcome, £2 payable at the door

For more information contact Karen Day 01460 249728

Peony, Pinot and Pizza Party

Hurstbrook Plants PRESENT their unique: Peony, Pinot and Pizza Party

Saturday 30th November. 11.00 – 3.00

 West Monkton Village Hall, Monkton Heathfield, Taunton TA2 8NE

Susannah Applegate appeared on Gardener’s World in April and will give two talks: “Peonies” and “English Wine”

  • Susannah of Hurst Brook Plants delivers lectures to Garden Clubs and Horticultural Societies including the Hardy Plant Society County groups, HPS Peony Group and RHS Rosemoor. She also runs a 2 acre vineyard producing award winning Red and White wine, GROWN AND MADE IN SOMERSET
  • Come along to learn about beautiful Peonies and English Wine with the opportunity to purchase Bare Root Peonies and award winning wine:
  • Coffee on arrival and Pizza for lunch (All dietary options available) Tickets £10 in advance or £12.50 on the door include lunch


Nurseries Past and Present

Dear Members

Anne Kaile and Jenny Hawksley, two members of the Hardy Plant Society, are currently researching Nurseries Past and Present for the Somerset Gardens Trust. They would be very grateful for any help you can give with information, catalogues or other publications regarding any Somerset Nursery. I know some of our members are owners of nurseries, or used to be. Any Nursery, however small, will be included.

The kind of information they require would be the date the nursery opened, the date it closed (where applicable), the type of plants grown, the location of the clientele (whether local, national or international), any famous clients etc.

Anne and Jenny can be contacted as below:

Anne and Jenny would like to thank those who have already responded and look forward to hearing from those who have not yet done so.

Thank you very much for your support for this worthwhile source of information for future generations.


Happy Feet Garden Tours : Herefordshire

Happy Feet Garden Tours was established some eight years ago, as a ‘spin off’ from the garden club in Holford. We have visited many areas around the country over those years, from Sussex, Kent, the Midlands, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, North Wales and more…!

A few photographs can be found on the following link:

Our group is a self-financing, non-profit project, so in essence – ‘you get what you pay for!’

Please click here for a booking form and see below for the proposed itinerary for your perusal.

You will see from the itinerary that there is an optional guided tour of Hereford Cathedral Gardens, followed by an afternoon cream tea and a visit to the Cathedral and the Mappi Mundi / Chained Library. Those not wishing to participate have free time during the afternoon in Hereford.

We will be based in a hotel just outside Chepstow, with leisure facilities, on a four night bed, breakfast & evening meal basis. Guided tours, gratuities, travel, entry fees, lunch and light refreshments where applicable, plus my usual fee of £1 from each person, is included in the total price of the trip. We will as usual be travelling with Ridlers Coaches of Dulverton and there will be pick-up points along the A39 from Minehead to Bridgwater and at the M5 Sedgemoor Service Area (Northbound) and at the services at Eastern Gordano.

Currently we have a few twin bedded rooms and a couple of double bed rooms available.

Should you consider joining this trip, a non-returnable deposit of £50 per person is required as shown on the enclosed booking form, to be received by myself no later than Saturday 21st December 2019, the balance will be required March 2020 (date to be advised.) Nearer to our holiday departure, I will be forwarding details of the pick-up points/times and further information of the itinerary.

The prices quoted for this trip is for a minimum of thirty passengers, if we do not reach that number, there could be an increase, so do please pass on details of our trip to anyone you know who may like to join us, they are very welcome!

I hope I may hear from you soon, With my warmest wishes

Mo (Maureen) Plomgren

‘Happy Feet Garden Tours’
c/o Lady Charles House
Somerset TA5 1RZ
Tel: 01278 741152

‘Proposed’ Itinerary : Herefordshire & South Wales, 21st – 25th June 2020

Sunday 21st Jun

  • Leave Somerset for National Trust Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff
  • Arrive Hotel late afternoon (St Pierre Marriott, Chepstow) porterage should be included!
  • Dinner at 7.30pm each evening

Monday 22nd June

  • Dewstow Gardens, Monmouthshire with tour (am)
  • NGS Garden ‘The Cornhill’ Herefordshire with refreshments (pm)

Tuesday 23rd June

  • Kentchurch Court Herefordshire (am)
  • Afternoon: Free time in Hereford
  • Optional Tour of Hereford Cathedral Gardens, with a visit to Cathedral & Mappi Mundi/Chained Library. (Cream tea included)

Wednesday 24th June

  • Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire with tour by Head Gardener.
  • Travel back to hotel via Scenic Route & National Park Visitor Centre, Libanus, Brecon Beacons

Thursday 25th June

  • Short visit to Taurus Crafts, Lydney (am)
  • Wyndcliffe Court, Nr Chepstow for lunch and guided tour.
  • Leave Wales for homeward journey.


Ros Wiley Eulogy

I think members were aware that Keith’s wife Ros died a little while ago following a short illness.  I spoke to a friend who knew them this morning and she pointed me towards the lovely tribute that Keith had written for Ros on their website.
I’m just attaching a link to it here as I think members will be interested after our trip to Wildside this year:
Kind regards