Bob Brown | Group Meeting on Feb 7th

Member Open Gardens 2015

Many members have garden openings this year, which are described below along with a table of opening dates and times at the bottom of the page.

Two members are opening their gardens for the Herts HPS group exclusively in 2015:

  • Peter and Sue Tomson will be opening The Abbots House garden in Abbots Langley on May 17th (see below)
  • David & Hazel Deacon will be opening their garden in Old Knebworth on June 7th for a brainstorming session with members on how to redesign their new garden (see below)

We recommend these HHPS member events to everyone as a nice way to meet socially as well as enjoy each other’s gardens. The last member garden opening was by Jacqueline Turner in Wheathampstead which you can read more about here.


If you need a handy reminder of this years openings, print out this one page handy planner of all the events. Click to view, download or print.

Adrian De Baat / 35 Digswell Road

adrianTown garden of around a third of an acre with naturalistic planting inspired by the Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. The garden has perennial borders packed with herbaceous plants and grasses. The contemporary planting gives way to the exotic, including a succulent bed and under mature trees, a lush jungle garden with bamboos, bananas, palms and tree ferns.

NGS Page & Gardeners World Appearance

Margaret Easter / National Thymus Collection

thymusMargaret Easter holds National Plant Collections® of Thymus (Scientific Status), Hyssopus and Satureja and is the International Cultivar Registration Authority for Thymus (ICRA). Brickell Award 2011 for Excellence in Cultivated Plant Conservation.

More information here

Julie Wise / Rustling End Cottage

julieMeander through the wild flower meadow to a cottage garden with contemporary planting. Behind lumpy hedges explore a simple box parterre, topiary, reflecting pool and abundant planting. Late flowering borders feature blue camassia in late spring. Naturalistic planting including the use of wild flowers with perennials and grasses. Our terrace hosts drought-tolerant planting. Hens in residence.

NGS Page

Sarah Marsh / The Mill House

sarahListed 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.

NGS Page

John & Madeline McCormack / Reveley Lodge

revely2½-acre garden surrounding a Victorian house bequeathed to Bushey Museum in 2003 and in the process of re-planting and renovation. Featuring colourful annual, tender perennial and medicinal planting in beds surrounding a mulberry tree. Conservatory, lean-to greenhouse, vegetable garden and beehive. Analemmatic (human) sundial constructed in stone, believed unique to Hertfordshire.

NGS Page

Renata Hume / 10 Cross Street

renataA cottage garden fronts a Letchworth Garden City exhibition cottage of 1905. The back garden contains informal planting dictated by the gently sloping plot and three formal circular lawns. Trees, shrubs, grasses and herbaceous perennials combine to create interest in the different areas. The garden also contains a lily pond, a small pond for wildlife, a well-stocked greenhouse and an apple walk with a selection of old varieties.

NGS Page & HHPS Photos

Mary Hines / Radlett Allotments

radlett84 well established allotments cultivated in a variety of styles in a peaceful environment. Wide selection of fruit, vegetable and flowers including exhibition standard sweet peas. Some plots divided into mini-allotments which will have been judged the day before. Many plot holders will be present. Fresh vegetables and plants for sale.

NGS Page

Marion Jay / 84 Valley Road

marionThis will be the final year of opening so do not miss the chance to visit this lovely garden. A dramatic garden rising steeply from the back of the house, using an ‘amphitheatre’ of stone wall terracing to accommodate the slope. Planting is largely in the modern perennial style, mixing drifts of drought-tolerant herbaceous plants with a variety of grasses. Three ponds and new front garden prairie planting.

NGS Page & English Garden Magazine

Sue & Peter Tomson / The Abbots House. HHPS Members Exclusive Garden Opening

tomson1¾-acre garden with unusual trees, shrubs, mixed borders with interesting colour combinations, scented garden, sunken garden, pond, conservatory and a bed with many Himalayan plants. A garden of ‘rooms’ with different styles and moods. Many half-hardy plants.

NGS Page

Diana Garner / Montana

montanaA 4-acre garden for all seasons, comprising herbaceous borders, unusual flowering trees and shrubs, meandering paths through woodland which has been planted with thousands of daffodils. The garden has evolved from virtually nothing since 1995. Plenty of seats to enjoy the peace. Features include spring bulbs, vegetables, ponds, greenhouses, chickens and bees. An unmanicured but happy garden.

NGS Page & HHPS Photos

David & Hazel Deacon / ‘The White House’. HHPS Members Exclusive Garden Opening

The White House, Park Lane, Old Knebworth, SG3 6PR

David and Hazel Deacon have recently moved back to the UK from Belgium. Their new garden is in the early stages of development and they would welcome advice and inspiration from HPS members. Refreshments provided.

Google Maps Link. Google Maps will find the house precisely using the address “The White House, Park Lane, Old Knebworth, SG3 6PR” – your own SatNav may or may not achieve the same accuracy. The nearest A1 junction is number 7, the Spring Newsletter has instructions from Junction 7.

If you intend to visit the Deacons please use the form below and let us know, as it is useful to have an idea of numbers in advance.  Thank you.

Heather and Peter Osborne, 20 St. Stephens Avenue & 30 St. Stephens Avenue

heatherVisit our gardens at a different time of year! As well as our late June date, this year for the first time we’re also opening in September, when the pastel tones of high summer give way to shimmering grasses and a more exotic palette. The plantswoman’s garden at number 20 has been developed to provide a range of habitats from cool shade, hot and dry, to lush pondside displays. Successional planting ensures waves of colour from April to October. Serpentine paths weave through the carefully maintained borders. New areas are developed each year, recent additions include a bed of late season perennials and ornamental grasses. Number 30 has a southwest facing gravelled front garden that has a Mediterranean feel. Herbaceous plants, such as sea hollies and achilleas, thrive in the poor, dry soil. Clipped box, beech and hornbeam in the back garden provide a cool backdrop for the strong colours of the herbaceous planting. A gate beneath a beech arch frames the view to the park beyond.  Plants for sale at June opening only

NGS Page & HHPS Photos

Sue & Paul Wood, Field End House, Old Knebworth

sue1/3 acre garden with views over countryside. Early summer planting in the prairie style has been incl to withstand windy conditions. A curved grass meadow under mature lime trees looks out on to arable farmland with distant views. A sheltered corner with exotic planting affords an enticing place to sit.

Our garden is bordered by several mature lime trees which were originally grown around an old apple orchard and market garden business on The Green before being developed in the late 1980’s. There is a stile at the bottom of the garden to a footpath across fields. Being the highest point in Old Knebworth and prone to winds, borders feature prairie style planting with grasses and perennials. These borders are punctuated by topiary box and yew and maturing white multi-stemmed silver birches and Crataegus prunifolia. Experimenting with the exotic border has been enjoyable and is on-going and changes from year to year. Lots of seating to enjoy the views.

NGS Page

Meta Reeves / Preston Village Open Gardens

The date is Sunday 24th May and opening times are from 1pm to 5.30pm. There will be teas in the Village Hall, Plants on the Green and a Flower Festival in the church. Also a BBQ on the Green from 12noon. Lunches can also be booked at the Red Lion pub, tel. 01462-459585

Village Website Link

Openings in Date Order

Date Member Time Scheme Entry Note
March – End of June Diana Garner By Appointment NGS £3.50
Wed 22 Apr Sarah Marsh 2pm – 5pm NGS £4 Tulips
Sat 25 Apr Sarah Marsh 2pm – 5pm NGS £4 Tulips
Sun 26 Apr Sarah Marsh 2pm – 5pm NGS £4 Tulips
Sat 02 May Julie Wise 4pm – 8pm NGS £4.50 Tulips
Sun 03 May Marion Jay 2pm – 5:30pm NGS £3.50 Tulips
Fri 15 May Renata Hume 5pm – 8pm NGS £3.50 Evening / Wine
Sat 16 May Renata Hume 11am – 2pm NGS £3.50
Sun 17 May Renata Hume 2pm – 5pm NGS £3.50
Sun 17 May Peter Tomson 2pm – 5pm HHPS Members No charge HHPS Only
Sat 23 May Julie Wise 4pm – 8pm NGS £4.50 Evening
Sun 24 May Meta Reeves 1pm – 5:30pm Preston Open Gardens £5 Village Opening
Sun 07 Jun Margaret Easter 2:30pm – 5:30pm National Thymus Collection £2.50
Sun 07 Jun David & Hazel Deacon 2pm – 4pm HHPS Members No charge HHPS Only
Fri 12 Jun Sue Wood 6pm – 9pm NGS £3.50 Evening / Wine
Sun 14 Jun Sue Wood 2pm – 5:30pm NGS £3.50
Sun 28 Jun Heather Osborne 2pm – 6pm NGS £5 Two Gardens Combined
Fri 03 Jul Marion Jay 7pm – 9pm NGS £3.50 Evening / Wine
Sun 05 Jul Mary Hines 2pm – 5pm NGS £3 84 Allotments
Fri 10 Jul Marion Jay 7pm – 9pm NGS £3.50 Evening / Wine
Sun 26 Jul Adrian De Baat 2pm – 5:30pm NGS £4
Sat 01 Aug Julie Wise 4pm – 8pm NGS £4.50 Evening / Wine
Sun 09 Aug John McCormack 2pm – 6pm Revely Lodge £4
Sun 16 Aug Marion Jay 2pm – 5:30pm NGS £3.50
Sun 06 Sep Heather Osborne 2pm – 6pm NGS £5 Two Gardens Combined
Sun 13 Sep Julie Wise 2pm – 5:30pm NGS £4.50
Sun 18 Oct Adrian De Baat 1:30pm – 4:30pm NGS £4

Issue 53 | Spring 2015 Newsletter

The new edition of the HHPS newsletter is now available to read and download on the site, particularly for those members who opted to receive the newsletter electronically.  This edition contains a wealth of articles on winter and spring colour in the garden, everything from snowdrops and hellebores to scented winter-flowering shrubs and the exuberant élan of Mathiasella bupleuroides!  Check out our exciting events programme, full of interesting speakers and opportunities to buy and swap plants.

Issue 53 Front

Download the PDF by clicking on the front cover above.

Meeting Reminder: 7th February, Bob Brown

Our next group meeting takes place this Saturday at 2pm when our speaker will be nurseryman Bob Brown.

Bob Brown - ‘New Garden Worthy Plants’

Bob Brown is well known for his strong opinions on matters horticultural. He famously gives plants in his catalogue marks out of 10, based on how they have performed at his nursery, Cotswold Garden Flowers, and in his garden in Evesham. He is also at the forefront when introducing new varieties to the gardening public.


2014 Christmas Party

2014 Website In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Reminder: Saturday January 3rd, Dr Brenda Harold

Welcome to 2015, and our first group meeting on Saturday January 3rd at 2pm. The talk will be:

Dr Brenda Harold, a.k.a ‘The Botany Geek’ -  ‘Flower Power; How Plants Control Animals’

Dr Harold is a qualified botanist and retired university lecturer. This talk is about how plants defend themselves (physically and chemically) from herbivores, how they occasionally become carnivores, and how they use animals to carry their pollen and seeds. Beautifully illustrated with digital photos of British wild flowers.

Brenda also teaches a plant identification course which you can see here.

Next HHPS Meeting | Talk on Alpines | Christmas Party | December 6th

Hello Everyone,

Coming up this weekend is our final meeting of 2014, which features a talk by alpine plant expert, Jim Almond: “Something for Everyone”

Jim is a keen grower/exhibitor of alpine plants, a hobby which has given him much pleasure for the past 20 years. Specialising in Primulaceae, he has a large rare bulb collection, and is also a member of the Alpine Garden Society judging panel. This talk should appeal to any audience of discriminating ‘plants-people’.irnar

Autumn bulbs, berries and colour; summer herbaceous plants; the odd tree; fabulous foliage and the occasional shrub. Specific genera include Cyclamen, Anemonella, Hepatica, Rhododendron and Daphne – yes, something for everyone. He comes very highly recommended by other HPS groups.

Jim’s website can be found here:

Jim’s talk will be followed by our Christmas Party!

DSC_3513Our usual yuletide celebration, with festive cheer provided by the Committee’s bucks fizz!! Please bring a plate of nibbles to share, savoury or sweet, on a paper plate to avoid washing-up. Gluten-free contributions particularly welcome.

NB: No cutlery is available so finger-food which does not require heating, please. Please bring in on disposable plates. If you need to bring your food in a tin/plastic container, please unpack the food on arrival and return the container to your car. Table decorations will be very welcome.

New Email Distribution Approach


David Singleton has passed responsibility for email communications to myself as of the AGM, and we all owe David thanks for his entertaining updates. Going forward the format of the emails has changed, and also the method of delivering them. The key points are:

  • Member emails are kept on a private distribution list using a service called Mailchimp – this is safe and secure
  • The emails will be automatically generated from the HHPS website and sent via Mailchimp, meaning all the communications will originate from the website, and allow flexibility to include images
  • When we publish new articles on the website of a general nature, these will also arrive in your Inbox via this new approach

Each email you receive has an unsubscribe link at the bottom, so you can opt-out of these communications.  If you unsubscribe from these new emails, you will therefore got no emails at all from the HHPS, so won’t be notified of upcoming meetings and events.

If you have any feedback on the emails your receive, the format or compatibility with your computers or tablets, reply to these emails, or to

Best wishes, Bill.

November Meeting: Madeleine McCormack – “Gone to Pot”


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