National Orchid Show

November 3rd-4th 2018, Writhlington School, Radstock,Bath BA3 3NQ

Britain’s biggest orchid event brings together plants, people, science and conservation.

Public Show days 3rd and 4th Nov 10am-4pm

Fabulous orchid displays from across the UK, Scientific lecture programme, Tours of the famous Writhlington glasshouses, Propagation laboratory workshops, Orchid growing lectures and advice, hardy orchid day, children activities and much more.

‘A must for all plant enthusiasts’

Day tickets £5

Visit for more information


Click the image below to download the poster

A4 National Orchid Show copy

Meeting Reminder – 15th September

50/50 Plant Sale: 10.00 – 11.00am (Hall opens at 9.30am)

11.00am: Julian Sutton – ‘How the Flowers Became’

Many of you will be familiar with Julian Sutton who, with his wife Sarah, runs Desirable Plants, a mail-order nursery based in Totnes. In this lecture, Julian will be looking at the nature of flowers, their form, colour and even their biological behaviour.  The lecture includes a series of fascinating stories surrounding the evolution of floral diversity, including the origin of flowers themselves, all illustrated by garden-worthy plants.

Plants for sale

Other Notes for Saturday

  • Caroline and Hester are looking forward to receiving your donations of gardening books for the book table. All proceeds go towards Somerset HPS
  • Showa gloves and marker pens will also be on sale on Saturday.

Midney Self Drive Reminder

Wednesday 19th September

Self-drive Visit to Midney Gardens, Mill Lane, Midney, Somerton, Somerset, TA11 7HR

The garden at Midney was started in 2009, with the aim of creating a place which people would want to visit and enjoy.  Eight years on, the garden offers visitors a chance to experience a plantsman’s garden of exceptional quality.  Subtle themes and a natural planting style draw the visitor from one garden area to the next and each area has its own character.  The onsite nursery specialises in herbaceous plants, alpines, grasses and herbs – all organically grown.

Refreshments available in the tearoom.

Lecture by Tony Kirkham “Following in the Footsteps of Wilson in China”

Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will be giving a lecture to the Somerset Gardens Trust and we would very much like to invite members of the Hardy Plant Society to come to this event.

Tony Kirkham went to China with Mark Flanagan to follow in the footsteps of E H Wilson. Sadly Mark, who was the Assistant Ranger at Saville Gardens, died suddenly and tragically at a young age. Working at Kew is the top job in arboriculture. Tony and his team manage some 14,000 trees and share their passion for trees with the visitors to Kew. He has been on several plant collecting expeditions in East Asia, including South Korea, the Russian Far East, China and Japan to add to Kew’s collection and replace trees lost in the Great Storm of 1987. You may have seen him on television talking trees with Dame Judy Dench.

Tea/coffee and biscuits will be served after the lecture. We look forward to seeing you at this event.

Please use this PDF to apply for tickets or email Sue Hatherell as instructed within the PDF.

Dahlia Day at Gants Mill & Garden Bruton

From Elaine Beedle:

I wonder if your members would be interested to know of our upcoming Dahlia Day at Gants Mill & Garden, Bruton, on Sunday 9 September from 2pm – 5pm? We will have over 100 varieties of dahlia in flower as well as many other autumn flowering perennials. We will be doing tours of the working watermill and there will also be delicious tea and cake. Entrance will be £6, accompanied children free. Elaine and Greg Beedle, Gants Mill, Bruton, BA10 0DB 07969 955442.

Alternatively if you would like to consider coming to us for a group visit in 2019, I would be delighted to offer two representatives of the Society a two-for-one admission price on that day to see whether it would be suitable for you – just identify yourselves upon arrival.

Forde Abbey Garden Festival

There are just two places remaining for the afternoon slots at the Garden and Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey on Sunday 16 September. We need someone extra to help on the 1.00pm to 3.00pm slot to sell plants and talk to visitors about HPS membership and then from 3.00pm to 5.00pm we need another person to do the same and help to pack up the stall. Vehicles can be brought to the stall so this isn’t very onerous. A free ticket to the event – worth £10 – will be your reward. Please contact Jane Hunt if you can help.

Jane Hunt

An Evening with Chris Beardshaw (in Ashcott)

Ashcott Garden Club presents  “An Evening with Chris Beardshaw“.

Chris will be talking on a topic close to all of our hearts which is about getting colour in our borders with the least amount of effort. The talk is entitled: ‘Painting with Plants – an illustrated talk’ which looks at creating floral rewards with less effort. Inspired by traditional English borders but with the aim of reducing the inputs and looking for a new style. It uses examples from Chris’ own schemes such as Ness Botanics

To be held in Ashcott Village Hall on Thursday 1st November at 7.30 p.m.  This will be accompanied by a raffle, with coffee served after the talk. Tickets £10, contact Freda Prime on 01458 210485, expected to sell out.



Newsletter Editor

Since my plea for a new newsletter editor to take over from Stuart, I am pleased to say that Marion Jay has agreed to take on the role. Members may know that Marion is the current editor of Cornucopia and was previously the newsletter editor for Hertfordshire Group before she and Bill Hodgson moved to Somerset.  She is therefore particularly well suited to build on Stuart’s excellent work and I very much look forward to Marion’s contributions in future editions.

She will of course need the support of members in providing material for her to publish, whether it is an account of our visits,plant fairs, photographs, information about plants or events of particular interest, questions or tips about gardening issues. The list of possibilities is a long one – anything that you would regard as interesting if you were to read about it in the newsletter is a pretty good guide. An editor will generally prefer to have too much material than not enough, so please don’t be shy. Share your thoughts with Marion, and through her with the rest of us.

(Send your articles, news, photos and newsletter contributions using the Contact form on this site, or by replying to any of the news emails you receive and Marion will reply directly by email)

In her most recent email to me, Marion concluded by saying, “Now all we have to do is to find a new chairman!”     Just so.   One member has suggested that we should limit the tenure of the post to three years, and it is true that some Groups have written that into their constitution. Somerset has not done that, but it is worth emphasising that a potential candidate can certainly make it a condition of being elected that they will do it for only a specified period.  It is emphatically not a job for life!  But it is a lively and enjoyable job which each individual will do in their own way.  Please give it some thought, talk to Jane, Stuart and/or other members, put on your negotiating hat and let’s get it well and truly cracked before the AGM in November.


Forde Abbey Volunteers Needed

We have again been offered a stall at the Garden and Harvest Festival at the Forde Abbey on Sunday 16 September. Roy Stickland will be overseeing the day but he will need help on the stall to tell visitors about the Society and the Group and perhaps sell a plant or two. He particularly needs a couple of able-bodied folk on for the first session, 9.00am to 11.00am, to help set up the stall.  In return, helpers will receive a free ticket to the event and there is free parking on site.

If you can help, please would you contact Jane Hunt (by replying to this email) indicating whether you would prefer a two hour morning or afternoon slot. Tickets for Forde Abbey volunteers will be available to collect from Jane at the Group’s 15th of September lecture meeting when we will also have our popular 50/50 plant sale. Please would you also let Roy have any donations of plants to sell at Forde Abbey at that meeting if you are not going to the Festival.

Jane Hunt

Newsletter Editor and Group Chairman Needed

Please read this carefully and consider your response

30th November is the deadline for contributions for the next newsletter. This may seem a long way ahead and in some respects it is. But first we have an important issue to resolve to ensure that we are able to continue with the publication of the newsletter. We are seriously close to ceasing publication and we need your help.

Stuart gave notice two years ago of his intention to stand down because of other pressures, but continued to produce the newsletter in the hope that someone would come forward to take over. This has not happened and Stuart is now unable to commit to carrying on by default any longer. A replacement editor must be found and Stuart will gladly fully brief the new editor to ensure publication continues as in the past. Failing that, we shall rely on up-dates (such as this one) to inform you of booking arrangements for visits, programme events and any other ad hoc items. The journalistic items such as Chairman’s Letter, write ups and pictures from visits and occasional magazine items will disappear.

Despite all our efforts, we are in real danger of ending the year without a chairman and without a newsletter editor. Please don’t let that happen. There is a wonderful vibrancy about the Group at the moment and it would be a great pity if that were to be jeopardised. It was encouraging that we welcomed new members to the committee last year and they have already assumed important roles, but we need a couple more volunteers to help perpetuate the “vibe”. Whilst it is true that the key posts of Secretary and Treasurer remain occupied we cannot be complacent. Some Groups in recent years have been forced to close down for want of people to take on those key roles. Please don’t allow Somerset to be added to that list.

Please talk to Jane, Stuart or myself with offers/proposals to fill the vacant posts.