Lost Property From the Coach Trip

Despite the driver’s very clear request, I found a man’s jacket left on the rack.  It was about one third of the way from the front of the coach on the near side.  It is a light weight jacket cream(ish) in colour, size 42 chest and probably belongs to one of our elder men since the label is Canda i.e C&A so it is probably all of 30 years old!

Unfortunately it contained no wallet with loads of money in it.

Send us an email to reclaim your jacket!

Best wishes, Roy

Sudely Castle Coach Trip Reminder

Our coach trip in June is approaching. If you would like to go there are plenty of places available on the coach, so just contact me the usual email address, please.

Janet Murley

Thursday 20th June

Coach Trip to Sudeley Castle and Gardens.

Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr, is buried at Sudeley, and the garden reflects the castle’s Tudor heritage.  Of nine individual garden areas, the centrepiece is The Queen’s Garden, famous for its abundant roses which are at their peak in June. There is a Knot Garden, designed according to a pattern on a dress worn by Elizabeth I, and also a Rare Breeds Pheasantry, conserving a variety of beautiful and gloriously-coloured birds. The Tudor Physic Garden originally provided the household with culinary and medicinal plants.

There is a restaurant and a cafe on site.


Website appearance


I discovered that the styling for our website (which uses a pre-made theme) had reached the end of it’s life according to WordPress. As a result this removed one feature regarding placing images into news items which we can’t do without.

As a result the site has undergone a small makeover and changed appearance.  This has also caused the image of Somerset to mismatch with the new home page.

If any member has a suitable wide and narrow image of something in Somerset we could use to make a new home page header, please send it over.

Hopefully the change of appearance won’t cause too may sleepless nights.

Best wishes, Bill.

Abigail Willis ~ The Remarkable Case of Dr. Ward and other Amazing Garden Innovations

Secateurs and seed banks, ha-has and herbaceous borders, greenhouses and lawnmowers – these are the some of the inventions and ideas we take for granted now, but which were once radical new ideas. “The Remarkable Case of Dr Ward and Other Amazing Gardening Innovations” looks at the way we garden today through the prism of 50 innovations.

Abigail Willis is an arts and gardening writer whose previous book “The London Garden Book A-Z” has twice been shortlisted for the Garden Media Guild’s Inspirational Book of the Year award. She lives and gardens in Somerset.

“A rollicking potted history of horticulture from the Roman Empire to the inspired innovators of the 19th century.” Amateur Gardening

Abigail is appearing on May 30th at 14:00 at Ilminster Literary Festival, more details here.

Further Sylvagrow News

Sylvagrow compost is also available at Cove Nursery (between Tiverton and Bampton) full details on our HPS nurseries list.

Regards, Kate Harris

Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil stock Sylvagrow multipurpose and will deliver free within 25 miles, no minimum order and payment taken over the phone if you don’t want to visit the garden centre in person.

Steve Fry

Peat Free Compost

Being a determinedly peat-free gardener, I have been very keen to find a source for Melcourt’s ‘Sylvagrow’ composts in Somerset. They are acknowledged to be much the best in this category, in particular the ‘Sylvagrow with added John Innes’ (which handles just beautifully as well as being an excellent growing medium), but it’s hard to find a retailer locally as most places only sell the cheaper brands such as Westland. I’ve been thrilled to find that Sanders (the big garden centre at Brent Knoll) is stocking the range, and they have plenty. I hope some of you will try it – this firm really is leading the field to produce positively excellent peat alternatives, and I believe they deserve our support.

Ro Fitzgerald

Reminder: Group Plant Sale at West Monkton Village Hall – April 27th

The HPS Somerset Group’s yearly Plant Sale takes place this coming Saturday 27th, 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.

Erythronium – April 2019

For years I wrestled with Erythroniums. Not physically, but mentally. There seemed to be no pleasing them; they flowered gloriously in their first spring but thereafter they disappeared. Forever.

I could grow E. ‘Pagoda’, with its upturned, golden petals like the eponymous Chinese temple, but it was the other, stunningly beautiful varieties that seemed to hate anything I did to them. Until, that is, I met the late Joan Loraine.

One April an old friend and I arranged to visit her fabled woodland garden, Greencombe, in Porlock, where Exmoor meets the sea, in search of Epimediums. Of those we found a very few, but the wooded slopes were dizzy with Erythroniums: pink, white, lemon-yellow; they danced in the light breeze which rippled through the trees.

It is an acid garden. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the pH of my own soil might not be suitable for them, but when we spoke, Joan explained how she grew them to perfection; such perfection that some were self-seeding around the mother plant.

Firstly, Joan took advantage of the gentle sloping site by excavating a depression and filling it with a mixture of soil and composted leaf-mould. This meant that each plant had its own supply of moist, but draining, soil. Then in went each precious plant. It flowered, set seed, and then retreated for the summer. It worked; I still have an exquisite plant of E. ‘Winifred Lorraine’. And it is increasing.

Sally Gregson
February 2019