Issue 55: Spring 2016 Newsletter

The new edition of the HHPS newsletter is now available to read and download on the site, particularly for those members who opt to receive the newsletter electronically.

This edition includes:

  • ‘In Praise of…Cannas’
  • ‘The Divine Witch Hazel’
  • Old Church Cottage Tring – Snowdrops
  • ‘A Very Public Affair’ – a personal perspective on opening for the NGS
  • ‘Success With Echiums’

Click here (or on the front cover below) to download this edition.  Click here to download the 2016 Coach Trip booking form.


Julie Toll – ‘Garden Design’ – February 6th

Our next group meeting is coming up this Saturday 6th at 2pm, which will feature Julie Toll on Garden Design.

Since 1982, Julie has been running her own garden design practice. Her commissions have included private gardens, a garden for the blind, a playground for children with disabilities, and show house gardens. Julie has achieved seven Gold, one Silver-Gilt and two Silver Medals at Chelsea and, in 1993, the Fisher’s Sword of Excellence for the best garden at Chelsea. She has presented television programmes, published books, and is a Fellow and former Chairman of the Society of Garden Designers.

P.S. Julie Wise asked us to pass on the news that her planned garden opening at Rustling End Cottage on February 14th had to be cancelled due to a waterlogged parking area.


First 2016 Group Meeting | Saturday January 2nd

Here we are on the cusp of 2016 and looking forward to our first group meeting of the year, this Saturday, January 2nd. We welcome our guest speaker Richard Ayres who has a superb double snowdrop named after him, giving a clue as to the subject of his talk.

For forty-one years, Richard was a gardener at Anglesey Abbey, twenty-seven of which he spent as Head Gardener. He was responsible for the introduction of the snowdrop collection and assisted in the creation of the famous Winter Walk.  Since retiring from that position he has designed gardens at Kirtling Tower and Sawston Hall.  Richard is an Associate of Honour of the RHS.  His talk is entitled ‘Snowdrops and Winter Interest’.

Suppliers of Galanthus ‘Richard Ayres’:

Photos of Galanthus ‘Richard Ayres’

We look forward to seeing you all at the usual time: 2 o’clock.

Crossword Winner

Those of you who couldn’t make it to the Christmas Party on 5th December may be interested to know that the winner of the Autumn Newsletter Prize Crossword competition was Margaret Bardell (see solution at the end of this article).  Although attendance numbers for the party were down on last year’s, members enjoyed listening to Stefan White’s story of the Tradescants, and tucked into a delicious spread afterwards.

We look forward to seeing you in early January for what should be a very informative talk on snowdrops by Richard Ayres, former Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge.

Happy Christmas to you all, and here’s to a bountiful 2016!




2  Squaw stirs up no drama (7) 1  Sam bewildered Latin male (3)
5  Went crazy, living in pond (4) 2  Bergamot has a nocturnal pollinator (4)
8  Chivvies old horses (4) 3  Rubs a genie up the wrong way and receives vegetables (10)
9  Arranged little onion (3) 4  Almost a princess, so pink (8)
10  National floral society initially prune fabulously and rearrange (1,1,1) 5  Yellow Book charity selects tops of new green shoots (1,1,1)
11  Slice carnivorous pitcher plant to a spade’s depth (4) 6  Sixth sense a slander, right, when formally trained (8)
12  Mrs Winder, the Greek goddess of youth? (4) 7  Common arum from giant Greek family (5)
14  Retrieves rent covering terrace excavator (6) 8  Tobacco tonic spilt on first class return to eastern China (9)
15  Lad goes to Georgia to find individual aquatic organism (4) 13  Hard surface given to snap, shattering (6,5)
17  Disorientated footballer has orange skin (4) 16  Spartan very soft, immersed in beer (5)
19   Stereoscopic vision required to find nominal Latin suffix (2) 17  Poet becomes designer of Iford Manor gardens (4)
20  River flowing to North Dakota coast leads to king water skimmer (4,6) 18  Aristocratic chick whose house is on fire (8)
21  The way one walks, perhaps, or the way one walks in? (4) 22  Accountant places bet on green (4)
23  Main Christmas evergreen from dune dweller (3,5) 23  Student union removed light source (3)
27  Frantically retracing elevated landscape (9) 24  Smell identification: damp (5)
29  Widen bed to accommodate morning glory! (8) 25  Hardy companion plant? (6)
30  Storks bill two-thirds worn away by ageless aeonium (7) 26  Play, in cabaret item at first, various prickly characters (5)
28  Set ones teeth on sharp stones (4)

On-line Payments, Committee Page and Christmas Party

On-line payments for National Membership & Seeds

The National HPS have now provided a way for members to renew their membership on-line, and order seeds from the 2016 Seed Catalogue.

Renew your national membership using this link: Your national membership lasts from Jan 1st to Dec 31st each year, so please renew soon if you have not already done so.  Membership of the National HPS is required if you wish to remain a member of a local group.

Order seeds from the 2016 catalogue using this link:

Both options lead you through the order process, and let you pay on-line using your credit or debit card, or PayPal account.

You should receive your printed copy of the Seed Catalogue soon and, if you prefer, use the paper order form on the back page.

Seed orders will only be sent to paid-up national members, so if you need to renew, please do that first. Anyone who has already renewed will receive their seeds as normal.

Committee Page

The committee page is now updated to reflect the AGM, with contact details of all members of the committee. The committee page is password protected, if you need the password use the contact form on the website.

Next meeting – the Herts HPS Christmas Party!

The final meeting of 2015 is coming up on Saturday the 5th of December. The speaker will be Stefan White, with a talk entitled ‘Skulduggery in the Shrubbery’, the intriguing story of the Tradescants, father and son, who were master plantsmen and gardeners to the aristocracy in the reign of Charles I.  The talk describes the fascinating ups and downs in the life of these 17th Century pioneers who were widely-travelled plant hunters, collectors of curiosities, and founders of the world’s first museum.

Stefan’s talk will be followed by our Christmas Party. The party will include our usual yuletide celebration, with festive cheer provided by the Committee’s sparkling 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.

No cutlery is available so please bring finger-food which does not require heating. 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. Floral or twiggy table decorations would be very welcome too.

In case you like a nostalgic reminder of the feast from last year, here are the photos:

Hope to see you next weekend!



Crossword Deadline Approaching

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for Herts HPS crossword submissions is December 1st, so get your entries in now for a chance to win a £10 garden centre voucher (see p.6 of the Autumn Newsletter).

(You can download a copy of the newsletter in PDF by clicking here)

Next Member Meeting & AGM on Saturday November 7th

The Herts HPS Annual General Meeting will be held this Saturday, 7th November, at 2pm, to be followed by our own member’s talk;  Judy Barker will be telling us all about ‘Hardy Border Chrysanthemums’. Judy is a member of the Trials Committee at Wisley.  She has three allotments, which together hold a Plant Heritage National Collection of Korean, Rubellum and hardy spray chrysanthemums.  After a short talk explaining why these plants are hardy when other chrysanthemums aren’t, and giving tips on cultivation, Judy will take questions from the floor.

Don’t forget to bring your copy of the Autumn Newsletter, which contains details of the AGM agenda.

So far, we have only received two entries for the Crossword Competition in the Autumn Newsletter.  If you’re a keen cruciverbalist, don’t hesitate to send in your entry – there’s a whole ten pounds at stake here!

HHPS Deputy Web Person Opportunity

At the moment all the knowledge about our website, email address, Twitter and Facebook accounts resides with only myself. If someone were interested to learn how all this fits together, and in particular how to add articles to our website, this is your chance.

The main skill is the same as Word processing – writing news items, adding photos, using formatting, and adding web links. WordPress is the software behind our website, it’s user friendly and easy to use.

A volunteer would have a full introduction from myself – and perhaps take on some simple article postings.  By having a Deputy we share the technical knowledge and also account logins and passwords, just in case I were not to be around (whether by accident or otherwise).

There isn’t a vast amount of items to be added to the site – mainly the garden reminders during the first part of the year, after that the occasional meeting reminder.

If you are interested, use the form below to let me know – despite what it seems this isn’t a technical challenge, just learning the WordPress blogging system.

I look forward to hearing from you, Bill

Water & Biscuits | Vacancy for Refreshments Coordinator

Until the AGM in November, Linda Williams will have ably organised the refreshments at our Saturday meetings and we are all grateful to her for all her hard work and dedication. In December we have our annual Christmas party to which members bring a feast, but from January we will be short of someone to organise our hot drinks and cake for each meeting.

The main tasks for the Refreshments Coordinator include:

  • Setting up the hot drinks for each meeting
  • Ensuring supplies of tea, coffee, sugar and milk are maintained
  • Displaying the cakes – these are provided by member volunteers
  • Coordinating other helpers for each meeting, who volunteer via clipboards
  • Providing refreshments at the annual plant sale in early summer
  • Being invited to committee meetings to participate in general (enjoyable) discussions about running the group.

The job could be shared or rotated amongst two or more people, who would have the support of cake makers and volunteers for each meeting.

If you would like to know more (without any commitment this stage) we have a more detailed job description which is available; use the form below to get in touch, or use the usual committee details.

As one of our previous Chairmen made clear when faced with this dilemma, without this role being filled the best that can be provided is cold water and biscuits. The committee will provide support as needed and hope someone would enjoy being involved alongside us.

Final Member Garden Opening – Sunday 18th October

For a final time this year, one of our members will be opening their garden. Adrian and Clare de Baat will open their garden this Sunday 18th October from 1:30 to 4:30pm.

A town 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.

More information at Adrian’s NGS Page & Gardeners World Appearance & Adrian’s own garden website.



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