Meeting Reminder – This Saturday – Mary Payne MBE – ‘Grasses and Perennials Make Good Companions’

Saturday 16th March – 11.00am

Mary Payne MBE – ‘Grasses and Perennials Make Good Companions’

Mary is a celebrated garden designer, horticultural consultant, broadcaster and writer who has won Gold at both Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows.  Horticultural advisor to the stunning gardens at Compton Acres in Dorset and Lady Farm in Somerset, in this talk she will be sharing her wealth of knowledge about grasses and prairie-style gardening in general.

Mary will confirm at a later date if she will be bringing plants for sale.

Reminder: Subscriptions for the Somerset Group are now due.

Thank you to members who have renewed their membership for 2019. If you have paid by standing order, bank transfer or by post you should have received your membership card by now. I will be at the meeting on Saturday to accept payment from those who have not yet renewed (find me by the book sales table). Rates are £5 for an individual and £8 for two at one address.

Thanks, Caroline Reeves. Membership Secretary

Plant of the Month March 2019 : Narcissus pseudonarcissus – ‘The Lent Lily’

Sissinghurst is one of those gardens that is truly ‘iconic’. Throughout the latter part of the 20th century Vita Sackville-West made a garden that inspired all who were to follow, and changed the face of modern horticulture.

As a young, devoted enthusiast I was completely in thrall to the style of Sissinghurst. It seemed gloriously ‘natural’; the planting deeply subtle and seemingly careless, although I knew it was highly maintained by experts, both professional and voluntary. And now, looking at it afresh from the perspective of the 21st century, over 50 years since Vita’s death, I can see anomalies. The orchard garden, in particular exhibits a very 20th century style.

Vita planted thousands of narcissi in an attempt to make them appear artless, simple: as if they had just arisen spontaneously. She wrote that when it came to choosing which varieties to plant, she had one rule-of-thumb: to reject the temptation to plant up cheap sacks of mixed bulbs. They would have been much better value, it’s true, but the result would have been crowds of flowers, some of which were in bud, some in flower, and some faded. The eye would have registered a mess.

In 21st century gardens the fashion for sowing meadows and growing wild flowers has taken a grip on our imaginations. If Vita were gardening today I feel sure she would have planted the entire orchard with clouds of our native ‘Lent Lilies’: “hosts of golden daffodils”. And today’s gardeners would have picked up the poetic association.

So, gradually, Sissinghurst is becoming an ‘icon’ of 20th century gardening. It remains true to its roots, and true to the vision of its creator. Troy Scott-Smith is surely standing on the shoulders of genius.

Sally Gregson
March 2019

Liatris and RHS

From: Kirsty Angwin []
Sent: 26 February 2019 13:46
To: Hardy Plant Society
Subject: Liatris

Dear Hardy Plant society

My name is Kirsty Angwin and I run the Award of Garden Merit by round table here at the RHS. Yesterday I met a few of your members at the Plant Society day workshop here at Wisley.

I was enquiring if you might know individuals who might be considered folk interested in specific genus.

At present I am looking for people who know the Liatris plant genus and may be familiar with their cultivars. Are you able to help ? Its quite a fun thing to do and very good for networking.

Before I go into more detail could you let me know if you might be able to help us?

Kind regards


Kirsty Angwin

AGM Roundtable Coordinator

Wisley Office my direct number 01483 226583

Mobile: 07702103219

Please note, my usual working days are Monday through to Wednesday

BBC GW Search For a Crocus Garden

From: Yvonne Thompson
Sent: 19 February 2019 10:28

Hello there

I am one of the researchers on the BBC’s long running gardening series.

I am trying to find a garden with a collection of crocus, preferably a smaller garden with an expert gardener, but even a larger garden would suffice if they had different varieties. Do any spring to mind at all?

The flowering season of this genus is fleeting, so the other option is to find a garden with a good range of early flowering bulbs and herbaceous plants, including perhaps some species tulips. Again – any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Many thanks and best wishes – Yvonne

Yvonne Thompson
Horticultural Researcher

BBC Gardeners’ World
BBC Studios, Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR
07884 466 205 / 0117 974 6706

Please use the form below to send Yvonne a message

Meeting Reminder: Saturday 16th February – Nick Wray

Saturday 16th February – 11.00am

Nick Wray – ‘Microclimates’

Nick is the Curator of the recently re-established Bristol University Botanic Garden and has been awarded the RHS Associate of Honour.  In this lecture, he will show us how to identify garden microclimates and describe how these can be manipulated to create better growing conditions for a wider and more diverse range of plants.  If you’ve ever wondered how botanical gardens manage to successfully grow plants from all over the world, this is your chance to find out!

Alpine Garden Society Show at RHS Rosemoor

Join the AGS at the wonderful RHS Rosemoor on March 23rd for their South West Show. A write up of the 2018 show is here

Relocated from its original home in Exeter, The South West Alpine Garden Society Show will highlight some of the great alpine plant nurseries who can provide helpful advice on growing these specialist plants.

Judging takes place in The Garden Room until approximately 11am, with the trophy presentation at 3.45pm. Visitors can view the displays from 11am-4pm. Plant sales open at 10am.

Nurseries in attendance (Open from 10am)

  • Triffid Nurseries
  • Millwood Plants
  • Adventurous Alpines
  • Border Alpines
  • Copton Ash
  • Thuya Alpine Nursery
  • Aberconwy Nursery

Full details on the AGS website here: