The return of St Margaret’s Hospice Care’s Glorious Somerset Gardens!

I am delighted to announce the return of St Margaret’s Hospice Care’s Glorious Somerset Gardens, which will see more than a dozen stunning gardens opening to visitors across the summer. The campaign kicks off with gardens opening from Monday 17th May and runs until the end of July 2021. Our green-fingered supporters have taken lockdown in their stride and have spent months getting their gardens ready and Covid secure for the summer.

Here at St. Margaret’s Hospice we know how important our gardens are to the health and wellbeing of our patients and their families, providing places of relaxation as well as reflection. For years, our loyal gardeners have been opening their gardens to raise funds for us and this year is no different. Our supporters have also stood by us in the face of Covid-19 so this year we wanted to give something back by offering more than a dozen amazing gardens for the community to visit, including walled gardens, steep woodlands, and many stunning gardens with beautiful views. There is something to interest everyone and every donation made will help us continue to provide compassionate care to patients and their families, when it matters most.

I am hoping you will be able to kindly help us by promoting the campaign to your members, or even popping along to visit the gardens we have on offer. I have attached a poster for reference. Full details of locations, opening dates and admission prices can be found in the Glorious Somerset Gardens 2021 brochure, available from St. Margaret’s Hospice shops, selected local garden centres or via the hospice’s website:

Zoom Talk by Fergus Garrett

Zoom Lecture Saturday 15th May 2021 at 2pm – ‘Succession Planting’ by Fergus Garrett hosted by Norfolk & Suffolk Group

The cost will be £4 for HPS Norfolk & Suffolk Group members and £5 for non-members. Please feel free to let family, friends and fellow gardeners know.

Bookings are made via this website, the Norfolk and Suffolk group website is here, places will be limited to 100.

A message from your Chairwoman

It is time to start planning the June newsletter for Somerset Group. However we are still looking for a editor to bring this about. Are you that person?I edited the last issue following the layout as designed by Marion. It is quite straight forward once you have decided what to include and members have provided the promised articles and photos. There are certain items that need to be included but you are free to choose what to include as long as it is relevant to the group.  

In the meantime, whilst you are thinking of volunteering, why not write an article, not too short not too long and if appropriate illustrate with photos and send them to me (preferably by 22nd May) at or reply to this message. Look at past issues for inspiration and what about that topic that you are interested in but never seen it mentioned. I’d like to see a regular feature where members give us an insight into what they like growing and doing in their garden.  Why not have a go?

If Newsletter Editor does not appeal to you, please consider the following roles that are either vacant or soon will be:

  • Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary
  • Nursery List 
  • Plant Fair organiser

Jobs can always be shared as for example when Janet and Sandra organised the groups’ visits.

I am happy to discuss any of the above.


Chairwoman, Membership Secretary

Newsletter Editor (Temporary)

Summer Plant Fair – July 4th

The SHPS Summer Plant fair will be taking place at Lower Severalls on July 4th 2021. 14 of the southwests top nurseries will be attending including:

  • Blooming Hill Plants
  • CB Plants
  • Desert to Jungle
  • Elworthy Cottage Plants
  • Gardener’s Blacksmith
  • Gardener’s Delight
  • In Clover
  • MAJ Allison Plants
  • Mill Cottage Plants
  • Mrs Mitchell’s Kitchen and Garden
  • Phoenix Perennial Plants
  • Picket Lane Nursery
  • Millwood Plants
  • Shady Plants
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust
  • Wild Thyme

Attendance is via pre-booked tickets available via this link. Would members consider putting up the flyer below to promote the event?

Also would members consider helping run the event? We need volunteers on the plant stall and for other aspects of running the event. Please contact Jane Hunt if so, all volunteers receive free entry to the event.

Many thanks, Jane.

Monmouthshire HPS Zoom talk: Nigel Hopes on ‘Ashwood Specialities’ on Saturday 8th May, 2.30pm

We hope you can join us for our next talk and what should be an enjoyable and informative afternoon.

After qualifying in horticulture and working at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for 10 years, in 2018 Nigel Hopes became Head Gardener for Chelsea Gold medallist John Massey VMH in his private garden, ‘John’s Garden’ at Ashwood Nurseries. This wonderful three acre site includes informal borders, island beds, woodland dells and a wildlife meadow set against the beautiful backdrop of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. It’s regarded as one of the finest private gardens in the UK, with magnificent collections of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and conifers adding to the interest all year round, and an abundance of rare plants as well as familiar favourites. Nigel will show us many parts of the garden and then tell us more about some of the interesting plant groups there, such as hellebores, hepatica, lewisia and more.

Hardy Plant Society members and non-members are all welcome.The cost is £3 each for national HPS members and £5 for non-members. To book, please drop an email asap to as places may be limited.

Our local HPS Monmouthshire group hopes to restart our meetings in Little Mill (between Abergavenny, Usk and Pontypool) in September. We are just finalising our 2021/22 programme which, while focused on meetings, may include occasional Zoom talks too. For further info on our group and full programme, see

Epimediums and Friends – Sally Gregson

Our member Sally will be giving an online talk on Weds 21st April at 6pm.

We’re all familiar with those low ground-covering Epimediums, that usefully make a bid for world domination in dry shade. But of late plant-hunters have scoured the remotest parts of Sichuan and Yunnan in China and discovered dozens more species. They have brought them home to the UK and the US where specialist growers have been breeding new, big, beautiful forms for our shady gardens with rich soil. The acid-loving Japanese forms have also been undergoing a renaissance with breeders producing some with larger flowers in all tones of pink, white and purple.

Join us for a look at the traditional varieties and their planting companions, and meet some of the beautiful new species and hybrids that are currently in circulation in the US, Australia, and Europe.

Booking for the webinar can be found on this page please scroll down, the event is £24 per ticket.

April 17th Zoom Talk: Salvias

Saturday 17th April – 11.00am 

“Salvias” by Vicki Weston of Westons Salvias, Ceredigion in West Wales.

Seven years ago, Vicki moved to Ceredigion in West Wales, along with her beloved collection of 6,000 plants. Her interest in salvias has snowballed and she now has about 75 species and cultivars, which she sells by mail order from her website.

Some of the cultivars she recommends, such as the deep purple ‘Amistad’, are new to cultivation but already well known. ‘Someone found ‘Amistad’ at a plant fair in Argentina and it’s now one of the most widely seen salvias in the world,’ she says. ‘Hot Lips’ is also popular, with small, aromatic leaves and delicate, bi-coloured crimson-and-white blooms from June until the first frosts.

The tender species flower the latest and some can even be in bloom at Christmas if grown in pots. Vicki recommends varieties such as S. fulgens, the Mexican scarlet sage or the striking rust-red S. confertiflora for Christmas colour. S. involucrata ‘Mulberry Jam’, with its showy deep pink flowers (or indeed any of the New World salvias), can also be container-grown to maximise autumn flowering time.

Group members will receive the zoom link a few days prior to the talk. Guests can book to attend using the following instructions:

Joining for Guests only:

Step 1: Please send £4 by bank transfer to:

  • Sort code 60-03-27
  • Account no 46429956 (Nat West Bridgwater)
  • Name (for verification): HARDY PLANT SOCIETY (SOMERSET GROUP)
  • Reference: The first four characters of your surname following by ZOOM04 e.g. HODG ZOOM04

Step 2: Complete the form below to notify us of your booking, so we can send you the link.

Zoom Link for Saturday March 20th

Hello all,

The zoom link for this Saturday’s talk by Dr John Grimshaw have been sent out to all members and paying guests.  If you haven’t received an email please check your spam or junk folder first and then reply to this email or make contact via the website.

See you online on Saturday at 11am, Bill (Zoom Captain).