Visits Booking Form for 2019

The January 2019 Newsletter has been arriving through members’ letterboxes. It includes a paper copy of the visits booking form for Summer 2019. In addition, the form is available on the Programme page of the website, and also by clicking here.

We hope to see you all at the January 19th meeting to hear Jo Hynes talk about winter gardening.

East Lambrook Manor Gardens Festival of Snowdrops

Throughout February East Lambrook Manor Gardens in Somerset will be hosting a Festival of Snowdrops, an opportunity to see the spectacular array of snowdrops growing in the garden together with additional displays showcasing some of the more unusual varieties.

Cottage garden doyenne Margery Fish enthusiastically collected snowdrops, or Galanthus, to plant in her now famous garden at East Lambrook Manor, her home from 1938 to 1969.

She was one of the first snowdrop devotees or ‘galanthophiles’ and amassed a significant collection, a legacy which is maintained today by the garden’s current owners, Mike and Gail Werkmeister.

Mike Werkmeister said: “Mrs Fish grew her snowdrops in an area of the garden known as the Ditch and this looks magnificent in February, when the sides are carpeted with snowdrops. We now have over 120 different varieties, both species and hybrid cultivars, but getting down close to see them can be difficult so we also have a special raised display bed to show off the collection to advantage. For the Festival of Snowdrops additional displays of snowdrops, principally in pots, will be created round the garden, so more can be enjoyed at close quarters.”

Margery Fish began her collection with a gift of the green-centred, double Galanthus‘Ophelia’, bred in Norfolk by the reclusive Heyrick Greatorex. A WW1 cavalry officer, he caused a sensation in the 1940s by producing the first double hybrids. Galanthus‘Ophelia’ is still to be found growing in the garden along with many others including Galanthus‘Margery Fish’, a chance cross found in the garden in 1987 and named in her honour.

February’s festival will feature informal talks and tours of the snowdrops in the garden given by the Head Gardener or owner. Over 40 varieties will be on sale in the nursery with a ‘Snowdrop Sale’ from 24th February when any unsold bulbs will be offered at reduced prices. Visit the website for more details and a list of snowdrops for sale.

Throughout February the garden, nursery and cafe are open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. Garden entry £6.00, £5.50 for over 65s, under 16s free. RHS members free on Wednesdays.

East Lambrook Manor Gardens,
Silver Street, East Lambrook,
South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5HH


Throughout February East Lambrook Manor Gardens in Somerset will be hosting a Festival of Snowdrops, an opportunity to see the spectactular array of snowdrops growing in the garden together with additional displays showcasing some of the more unusual varieties.The festival will feature informal talks and tours of the snowdrops in the garden with many snowdrops on sale in the nursery.

Garden, nursery and cafe are open Tuesday to Sunday in February,10am to 5pm.
Garden entry £6.00, £5.50 for over 65s, under 16s free. RHS members free entry every Wednesday.

East Lambrook Manor Gardens
Silver Street, East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5HH.

For more information contact:

Mike Werkmeister
T: 01460 240328 or
M: 07710 484745

East Lambrook Manor Gardens

The internationally famous English Heritage Grade 1 listed cottage-style garden at East Lambrook Manor was created between 1938 and 1969 by the celebrated plantswoman and gardening writer Margery Fish. Here she developed her talent for combining contemporary and old-fashioned plants in a relaxed and informal manner to create a unique and enchanting plantsman’s paradise of great beauty and charm.

Originally working in journalism as a secretary to Daily Mail founder Lord Northcliffe in the 1920s she later became personal assistant to Walter Fish, editor of the paper, whom she married in 1933. She and Walter moved to Somerset just before the outbreak of the Second World War at which point she embarked on her second career as a gardener and gardening writer. She wrote for magazines such as Amateur Gardening and was the author of eight books on gardening including her most famous ‘We Made a Garden’, which is rarely out of print. Although having never gardened before, she soon found she had a natural gift for and a keen eye for a good plant that resulted in the creation of the quintessentially English cottage garden at East Lambrook that still exists today.


Updates and Meeting Reminder

  • The next meeting of the Group is on Saturday 19th January. Full details of the meeting are below and on the Programme page of the website.
  • The January 2019 Newsletters will be delivered before the meeting on the 19th, and will have trip booking forms and membership renewal forms enclosed. If you’re coming to the meeting, you can bring your completed renewal forms (and relevant payment) to give to Caroline.
  • Membership cards will be distributed on Saturday19th at the meeting.  Anyone not attending the meeting will receive theirs by post.

See you on the 19th,


Saturday 19th January – 11.00am

Jo Hynes – ‘The Winter Garden: Why Stay Indoors?’

Jo holds the National Collection of cyclamen in her garden in Dolton, near RHS Rosemoor, and with borders full of hellebores and more than 300 named snowdrop varieties, plus a great many winter flowering shrubs, she is an inspiration to other gardeners who want to brighten up those bare-boned winter months.

Plants for Sale

Jo’s NGS Open Garden

Membership Renewals at HQ

Dear Colleagues

I would be most grateful if you could pass a message on to your members regarding the current position at the HPS Office.

As you all know Sally left us at the end of October, since when Clare has been struggling to keep up with the workload. This has been exacerbated by difficulties with the IT systems, including a couple of days when access was impossible. Those problems have now been resolved (I hope!) and we have engaged someone else to help Clare (Vicci) but there remains a significant backlog of membership renewals to be dealt with. If you have renewed your membership by post please be assured that all post has been opened and all cheques etc are being kept safe but it will take a while longer for these to be processed and thus appear on your bank statements. For the next couple of weeks we do have to prioritise the seed orders as it is essential that all these are completed by mid-January, ready for the Shropshire team to pick out the seeds and get them posted to you.

It would be extremely helpful if members could avoid phoning the office for the next few weeks unless the need really is urgent. Enquiries can be emailed to and will normally receive a reply the same day if within office hours. If you still need to renew your membership please use the online facility or the postal form from the last newsletter. If you haven’t ordered your seed yet, please do so as soon as possible, again using the online or printed form. The final date for receipt of seed orders is 10th January.

Please be assured that we are doing all we can to get the office running smoothly again as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Gardening Year

With thanks.

Judi Deakin
Honorary Secretary

2019 Programme

Hello all,

Marion has been busy producing the next newsletter including a comprehensive update to the 2019 programme, full details of which can be seen on the programme page here. There is a one page PDF summary of the 2019 programme on that page for download. The booking form for trips in 2019 will be added to that page soon.

We hope you enjoy the final days of the year and see you on the 19th of January.

Bill & Marion

Message From ex-Chairman Roy

A big thank you for your generosity.

Following my last meeting as chairman on Saturday, it was only when I got home and pondered the proceedings that the full extent of your generosity struck me. Three lovely shrubs (Corylopsis sinensis, Neillia thibeticus and Ozothamnus ledifolius, all with Stuart’s hand crafted everlasting labels) plus 3 CDs of wonderful music that doesn’t get heard enough and on top of that a very significant cheque and a huge card that so many of you signed.

Putting it all together I have been totally overwhelmed by the send off you have given me – generous and touching words of appreciation, beautiful plants that will always remind me of my friends in Somerset group, and music, that balm of the soul, for quieter moments and dark evenings. Mere words cannot fully convey the feelings I have deep inside me for this amazing expression of support. That will stay with me as a constant reminder of the great times we have enjoyed together.

Thank you all so much. I’ll still be around of course and to whoever may succeed me as chairman I hope you will be able to extend the same support and affection that you have shown towards me. Finally may I reiterate that running a Group like ours is a team effort and I shall always be grateful to the happy band of committee members (past as well as present) who have so ably worked to help deliver the good things we have enjoyed over the last 12 years.


Meeting Reminder – AGM This Saturday 17th

Saturday 17th November –  10am for 10.30 AGM.                          

Lecture starts 11.15am

AGM, followed by

Keith Wiley – ‘Erythroniums and Other Woodlanders’

Anyone who has heard Keith speak or visited his garden, Wildside, will know what a treat this lecture will be.  An erythronium fanatic, he has raised and named several hybrids of his own.  As well as erythroniums he will be discussing the many other woodland plants that he adds to the mix, and showing how observations gathered from seeing plants in the wild helps him to provide the conditions they need.  Even if you don’t have an acre of woodland, most of us have an area under trees in our gardens where these plants can grow.

Plants for sale

Meeting Reminder: This Saturday 20th: Dr Laura de Beden – ‘Create a Garden as a Work of Art’

Saturday 20th October – 11.00am 

Dr Laura de Beden – ‘Create a Garden as a Work of Art’

Laura is a landscape architect and garden designer whose talks are always well received and interesting.  In this design masterclass, she will be discussing spatial composition, ideas and materials, demonstrated by simple yet effective practical examples.  Discover how the rich language of art applies to garden-making and how to relate this to your own plot.  This talk could change how you view your garden!