2015 Seedling Swap

Garden Opening: Sarah Marsh

HHPS Member Sarah Marsh will be opening her garden three times in the coming week:sarah

  • Weds April 22nd from 2pm to 5pm
  • Sat April 25th from 2pm to 5pm
  • Sun April  26th from 2pm to 5pm

Sarah’s garden has a listed millhouse (not open) with semi-walled garden bordered by a bridged millstream and mill race. This romantic spring garden has ancient apple trees underplanted with an abundant display of tulips and white narcissi. These set off a garden full of perennial promise, within which nestles a stylish summerhouse, a hidden parterre and productive potager. Featured in The Telegraph and Countryside magazine. Click over to her NGS Page for full details and directions.

Meeting Reminder: Seedling Swap 18th April

David and Jane Singleton will host the annual Seedling Swap on Saturday 18th April, from 10am – 12 noon.

Address: Willowdale, 6 East Mount, Wheathampstead, AL4 8JB.

Bring along any spare seedlings you have, in trays or pots, and exchange them for something you haven’t tried growing before. There are always too many to go round, so even if you haven’t got anything to bring, come along anyway and take home a new addition or two for your garden. The Seedling Swap is one of the benefits of belonging to your local HPS Group, and it’s always enjoyable to get together with fellow gardeners and have a chat, cup of tea and slice of cake.

All members are welcome even if they have little or no seedlings to offer. We have room for about four cars on the drive so that will be reserved for blue badge holders. The free public car park in East Lane should have plenty of space and is only a very short walk away.
Directions: from Wheathampstead High Street turn East in to East Lane between the Bull pub and Jessamine Garage. The car park is about 150 yards on the left and East Mount 50 yards further on the right. East Mount is a cul-de-sac and Willowdale is at the top.

Meeting Roundup | Brian Ellis from Avondale Nursery

Meeting Reminder | Saturday April 4th

Don’t miss our final talk of this season this coming Saturday from Brian Ellis who runs Avondale nursery, near Coventry, which holds National Collections for Aster novae-angliae (the ones that don’t get mildew), Sanguisorba & Anemone nemerosa as well as growing many other perennials and grasses. This talk demonstrates the importance of foliage and texture when planning a border, illustrated by photographs taken in the Library Garden at Avondale.


Harpenden Gardening Society 

HGS are running three coach trips this year which are open to non-members, they would be delighted if anyone wanted to come along.

1. SUFFOLK – 27th May – £34

  • Beth Chatto
  • Beeches Nursery Ashdon
  • Parsonage House

2. BERKSHIRE – 24th June – £32

  • Sandleford Place
  • Wolverton Common Nursery
  • Farley Hill Gardens

3. OXFORDSHIRE – 29th July – £27

  • Waterperry Gardens
  • Farnborough Garden Centre
  • The Old Vicarage

Refreshments such as home made cakes are generally available plus lunch. For more information and booking please visit their website here

Aquilegia Downy Mildew

A new plant scourge is spreading across the country from Wales to Eastern England and has been reportedly found on the Hertfordshire/Essex border.  Aquilegia Downy Mildew is a disfiguring, ultimately fatal fungal disease for which home gardeners have no known effective chemical control.  The most prudent course of action is to familiarise yourself with the visible symptoms and destroy any plants as soon as those symptoms appear.  The disease spreads via sporangia which shed spores onto nearby plants, so if diseased plants are ignored then others are rapidly infected.  Aquilegia Downy Mildew is not caught from downy mildew on other species of plants; the DNA is unique.

Symptoms include lighter, yellowy patches on the leaves; straight-edged shapes which are delineated by leaf veins, distinctly unlike those of intentionally variegated leaves.  Growth is weak, leaves brown off and stems may become distorted.  Flower buds are likely to be ‘blasted’.  There can also be secondary damage due to grazing slugs & snails, drawn in by the nutritious fungal material.  The toxins in Aquilegias normally repel gastropods so this is something to look out for.

As Aquilegias are present in so many British gardens, there is a real danger that this disease may become endemic.  For further information, visit the website at Touchwood Plants Nursery where National Collection holder Carrie Thomas has been liaising with the RHS to monitor the disease and raise awareness:  http://www.touchwoodplants.co.uk

Marion Jay

Images taken from an article on the national HPS site on the same topic, click to view.

HHPS Group Members Garden Opening | Important Date Change

Peter and Sue Tomson have had to move the date of their Members’ Open Garden forward, from May 17th to Sunday May 10th, one week earlier than published on the website and in the newsletter. Please adjust your diaries accordingly as this is a free event specific to our group, to which all members are invited.

Full details of the Tomsons’ garden and all other member garden openings are on this page, which also has a new listing for Liz Machin’s NGS garden opening in Harpenden.

March 2015 Group Meeting| Round Up

March Meeting Reminder : Saturday 7th

Dear Members,

Just a quick reminder that the next group meeting is on the 7th March 2015:

Dr Julian Sutton – ‘Herbaceous Berberidaceae’

Julian Sutton runs the very aptly named nursery ‘Desirable Plants’, which ‘specialises in herbaceous perennials, the choice, the interesting and the offbeat’. The herbaceous Berberidaceae group includes delicious plants like Epimedium, Jeffersonia and Podophyllum, varieties of which Julian will be bringing for sale.


Bob Brown | Group Meeting on Feb 7th


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