Happy Feet Garden Tours : Herefordshire

Happy Feet Garden Tours was established some eight years ago, as a ‘spin off’ from the garden club in Holford. We have visited many areas around the country over those years, from Sussex, Kent, the Midlands, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, North Wales and more…!

A few photographs can be found on the following link: https://www.holfordvillage.com/happy%20feet%202019.htm

Our group is a self-financing, non-profit project, so in essence – ‘you get what you pay for!’

Please click here for a booking form and see below for the proposed itinerary for your perusal.

You will see from the itinerary that there is an optional guided tour of Hereford Cathedral Gardens, followed by an afternoon cream tea and a visit to the Cathedral and the Mappi Mundi / Chained Library. Those not wishing to participate have free time during the afternoon in Hereford.

We will be based in a hotel just outside Chepstow, with leisure facilities, on a four night bed, breakfast & evening meal basis. Guided tours, gratuities, travel, entry fees, lunch and light refreshments where applicable, plus my usual fee of £1 from each person, is included in the total price of the trip. We will as usual be travelling with Ridlers Coaches of Dulverton and there will be pick-up points along the A39 from Minehead to Bridgwater and at the M5 Sedgemoor Service Area (Northbound) and at the services at Eastern Gordano.

Currently we have a few twin bedded rooms and a couple of double bed rooms available.

Should you consider joining this trip, a non-returnable deposit of £50 per person is required as shown on the enclosed booking form, to be received by myself no later than Saturday 21st December 2019, the balance will be required March 2020 (date to be advised.) Nearer to our holiday departure, I will be forwarding details of the pick-up points/times and further information of the itinerary.

The prices quoted for this trip is for a minimum of thirty passengers, if we do not reach that number, there could be an increase, so do please pass on details of our trip to anyone you know who may like to join us, they are very welcome!

I hope I may hear from you soon, With my warmest wishes

Mo (Maureen) Plomgren

‘Happy Feet Garden Tours’
c/o Lady Charles House
Somerset TA5 1RZ
Tel: 01278 741152
Email: plomdove4145@googlemail.com

‘Proposed’ Itinerary : Herefordshire & South Wales, 21st – 25th June 2020

Sunday 21st Jun

  • Leave Somerset for National Trust Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff
  • Arrive Hotel late afternoon (St Pierre Marriott, Chepstow) porterage should be included!
  • Dinner at 7.30pm each evening

Monday 22nd June

  • Dewstow Gardens, Monmouthshire with tour (am)
  • NGS Garden ‘The Cornhill’ Herefordshire with refreshments (pm)

Tuesday 23rd June

  • Kentchurch Court Herefordshire (am)
  • Afternoon: Free time in Hereford
  • Optional Tour of Hereford Cathedral Gardens, with a visit to Cathedral & Mappi Mundi/Chained Library. (Cream tea included)

Wednesday 24th June

  • Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire with tour by Head Gardener.
  • Travel back to hotel via Scenic Route & National Park Visitor Centre, Libanus, Brecon Beacons

Thursday 25th June

  • Short visit to Taurus Crafts, Lydney (am)
  • Wyndcliffe Court, Nr Chepstow for lunch and guided tour.
  • Leave Wales for homeward journey.


Ros Wiley Eulogy

I think members were aware that Keith’s wife Ros died a little while ago following a short illness.  I spoke to a friend who knew them this morning and she pointed me towards the lovely tribute that Keith had written for Ros on their website.
I’m just attaching a link to it here as I think members will be interested after our trip to Wildside this year:  http://www.wileyatwildside.com/2.html
Kind regards

Advanced Warning of HPS Somerset Group Visits Events Early in 2020

Please note the following events that have been arranged as we will need bookings to be made soon after the January 2020 Newsletter goes out:

12th February 2020 – Winter Social & the Snowdrops of East Lambrook Manor Gardens

We will gather in the Rose & Crown pub opposite East Lambrook Manor Gardens for lunch – a snack or a slap up dinner (you choose!) and then head over to East Lambrook Manor Gardens at 2.00pm for an introductory talk and to see their growing snowdrop collection.

At the time of writing, the pub is closed, but I am assured that it is reopening in December so I will book some tables nearer the time when I have an idea of numbers and obtain a menu. You can then contact the pub to book the meal of your choice.

East Lambrook Manor Garden entrance and talk – £5.25pp

4th March 2020 – Coach trip to Kew Gardens (for Orchid Festival)

Immerse yourself in the tropics this winter by exploring the wonders of Indonesia through Kew’s iconic 25th annual orchid festival. Rainforests and volcanoes will be brought to life inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory through an exotic array of vibrant orchid displays. Over 5,000 species of orchids can be found in Indonesia, alongside the staggering wildlife found nowhere else on earth.

This year’s festival is a celebration of the cultural and natural diversity that is scattered across the country’s archipelago of 17,504 islands, and the scientific discovery being made by Kew’s intrepid scientists.

After visiting the orchids there will be plenty of time to enjoy the rest that Kew has to offer.

Combined coach and entry price is £36.00 for those aged 60 and over and £37.70 for everyone else. There will also be a pick up at Great Western Rd car park (free) in Clevedon.

To book please use the contact form or reply to this email.

Meeting Reminder: Saturday 19th October – 11.00am

Peter Cantrill – ‘Unusual Herbaceous Plants’
Peter runs the wholesale nursery Dayspring Plants near Exeter, which supplies plants to National Trust gardens, amongst others.  With a lifetime’s experience in the business, his horticultural knowledge is second to none, and the plants he brings to sell have been known to cause a rush to buy at the end of his lectures.

Plants for Sale

PoTM: Pines, Cones, and Needles

I wonder how many of us planted a ‘conifer’ hedge back in the ‘80s? x Cupressocyparis leylandii seemed the perfect solution to screen an ugly view, divide us from our overly close neighbours; and they grew fast. And then they grew more. Slowly it dawned that this by-generic cross had hybrid vigour and just kept on growing like a triffid. Eventually many ‘Leyland’ hedges had to be grubbed out. At vast expense. Leaving a view of the eyesore beyond, and bare, exhausted soil. The net result was a distrust and dislike of all things coniferous.

But like all babies thrown out with the bathwater, there is much more to the world of conifers than instant hedging and Christmas trees. It is large and eclectic. And slowly, slowly they are coming back into fashion.

Of late I have bought two, seriously beautiful new conifers, neither with the vigour to achieve more than 2 metres in 10 years. They live in pots by the front door in winter. And in summer they holiday in a sunny corner of the nursery. One is Pinus strobus ‘Tiny Kurls’ with silvery, twisted stems and needles that look as though it’s having a bad hair day. The other, Abies pinsapo ‘Aurea’ with fat primrose and grey shoots, look like prickly sausages waiting for the barbeque. They both make me smile. And they always draw comments from our visitors.

In order to screen our ugly greenhouses from the rest of the garden, about 7 or 8 years ago I planted a magnificent specimen of Pinus wallichiana. Now it is a very big tree. I have already cut off the lower branches at the main trunk so that we can all squeeze past. It has long, silvery needles that are as tactile as a cat. Everyone pauses to give it a stroke. Otherwise known as the ‘Bhutan Pine’, for me it commemorates a plant-hunting expedition to the Himalayas. Mr Wallich was curator of the Botanic Garden at Darjeeling which we visited on our travels, and the garden boasts a giant specimen. If you have room for just one, truly big conifer, I would heartily recommend this beauty.

Sally Gregson




Seed Collection Day

Come and join Alison and Zoe at Fivehead SSSI in Somerset to collect seeds from some arable plant species.

We’ll collect from a variety of species, depending on what seeds are still on the plants. Shepard’s-needle, Spreading Hedge-parsley, Corn Buttercup and more.

Please bring lunch and suitable clothes and footwear.

Everyone is welcome, from beginners to more experienced botanists.

DATE Tuesday 8 October TIME 9:30 onwards

LOCATION Fiveheads Arable Fields, Cathanger Lane, Fivehead, Somerset, TA36PS

BOOK HERE zoe.morrall@plantlife.org.uk to let us know you are joining us


Mistaken Plant Pick Up on Saturday

Rowena Varley bought some plants at Saturday’s plant sale which were left near the door with a number of others and someone else has picked up her bag by mistake. Please would the person concerned could contact me so that I can let Rowena know and then bring the plants to the October meeting.
If you are reading this as an email, just click reply to respond if you think you picked up the plants.
Many thanks
Jane Hunt

Correction: Marcel Floyd This Saturday

Apologies, I posted the details of the 2020 plant sale, below are the correct details.

Saturday 21st September – Plant Sale 10.00am
Lecture starts at 11.00am

50/50 Plant Sale:  (Hall opens at 9.30am)  followed by:

Marcel Floyd – ‘Clematis’

Marcel is the owner of Floyd’s Climbers and Clematis in Wiltshire, and has been growing award-winning clematis for over 30 years.  He will be demonstrating how to prune and take cuttings from various types of clematis, as well as advising on how and where to grow the different varieties.  All your clematis questions answered!

Plant orders can be made online, and Marcel will bring them to the meeting.


The 50/50 Plant Sale prior to the lecture at our September meeting each autumn is a popular event. The Group keeps half the money taken and returns the other half to the seller.  The hall will be open from 9.30am – 10.00am to receive your plants to sell.

Please ensure that each plant has two identical labels, both of them bearing the name of the plant, your name and the price.  One will be removed so that the amount you are owed can be totted up and given to you at the end of the meeting, when you can also reclaim any unsold plants and your labels (tip: write in pencil on the labels so that they may be reused).

Selling will take place between 10.00am and 11.00am, at which point the lecture begins.  Offers of help with selling on the day will be most welcome.

Our speaker, Marcel Floyd, will also be bringing plants for sale.