Author Archives: mechhps

Next Meeting: Saturday 2nd March 2019 at 2pm

Ingrid/John/Sarah Millington – ‘Primulas and Auriculas’Capture

The Millington family runs Hillview Hardy Plants in Shropshire and has a particular interest in Primulas and Auriculas as well as other hardy plants and bulbs.

Request from BBC Gardeners’ World


Hello there

I am one of the researchers on the BBC’s long running gardening series. 

I am trying to find a garden with a collection of crocus, preferably a smaller garden with an expert gardener, but even a larger garden would suffice if it contained different varieties.

Do any spring to mind at all? 

The flowering season of this genus is fleeting, so the other option is to find a garden with a good range of early flowering bulbs and herbaceous plants, including perhaps some species tulips.

Again – any suggestions would be gratefully received. 

Many thanks and best wishes – Yvonne 

Yvonne Thompson

Horticultural Researcher

BBC Gardeners’ World

BBC Studios, Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR

07884 466 205 / 0117 974 6706 NB: I work Monday – Thursdays.

Important Message

Dear Members

Your committee wants you to know how close HHPS came to folding this month. 

It appears to us there is complacency amongst members which we have been unable to break through.  The perception that HHPS’s continued existence appears to rely on you, the members, to do nothing more than turn up to meetings, go on coach trips, bake a cake and produce plants for sale? Don’t misunderstand, those are all in themselves very welcome contributions and we trust that the membership appreciates them, the committee certainly does. But, for your society to function, a committee is vital.  Everyone must take a share in that committee work.  A full-strength committee ensures that these background jobs are not onerous, indeed, very often they are enjoyable, and the society continues to run smoothly.

We were informed over a year ago that a new Secretary was needed.  Last week we were sorry to receive Mary Robey’s resignation. Somehow, she has soldiered on, during and after an operation, but it has been hard for her.  We thank you Mary for your dedication to the Treasurer’s post and appreciate all that you have done for the Society. On behalf of the membership, we wish you well and better health in future.  Two Officers down  …

Without two Officers we were facing tough decisions.  Unless someone came forward before the Plant Sale in May, disbanding the Society, seeing the end of the Hertfordshire branch of the HPS, seemed inevitable.  Hours were spent in seeking solutions, but no way out presented itself without members volunteering for the vacancies of Treasurer, Secretary, Newsletter Editor and Publicity. 

Fortunately, Alison Tracy very kindly has taken on the role of Treasurer, for which we thank her; accepting her resignation as Membership Secretary.  This delayed things, but until the committee is up to full strength again, this situation will persist.

The good news is that a few days ago we had a volunteer for the role of Secretary, so we welcome Carol Waters to that post and thank her on your behalf.  We look forward to introducing her to you all at the March meeting.

The immediate crisis temporarily averted but the vacancies must be filled, or we will find ourselves in the same unhappy position again.

Vacancies: Membership Secretary, Newsletter Editor and Publicity 

Elizabeth Egre, Chair

For and on behalf of the HHPS committee

Next Meeting: Saturday 2nd February 2019 at 2pm

Alun and Jill Whitehead ‘Irises for the Natural Garden’

We are going ahead with our meeting of 2nd February as the speakers are making the commitment to travel.  So let’s support them for their effort and make it worth their while.  Look forward to seeing you all.”

Next Meeting: Saturday 2nd February 2019 at 2pm

irisAlun and Jill Whitehead ‘Irises for the Natural Garden’

Alun and Jill run Aulden Farm Garden and Nursery near Leominster in Herefordshire, a damp site which they have developed from scratch and where they now hold the National Collection of Siberian Irises. The garden was developed with both wildlife and humans in mind and is described as quirky and romantic.


“Pop-up” Member’s Garden visit: Sunday 20th January

snow-dropHHPS member Barbara Stalbow has very kindly offered to show her collection of snowdrops and aconites (to HHPS members only).  All things being equal, this will be on Sunday January 20th in the afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m.

If you wish to visit, please ring Barbara on 02089542218 to let her know you are coming and to check that nothing untoward (weather etc.) has caused a cancellation or postponement.

The address is “Hornbeams”, Priory Drive, Stanmore, Middx. HA7 3HN

Thanks to Barbara for her kind offer.

Message from Hardy Plant Society HQ

We have been asked to alert our Herts Group membership to the current position at the national HPS Office in Evesham.
  • It would be extremely helpful if members could avoid phoning the office for the next few weeks unless the need really is urgent.

  • Enquiries can be emailed to and will normally receive a reply the same day, if within office hours.

As you may already know, National HPS has a very small staff, and there have been issues with illness and bereavement over recent months.  There have also been difficulties with the IT systems, including a couple of days when access was impossible. Those problems have now been resolved but there remains a significant backlog of membership renewals to be dealt with.

  • If you have renewed your national membership by post, please be assured that all post has been opened and all cheques etc are being kept safe, but it will take a while longer for these to be processed and appear on your bank statements.

  • If you still need to renew your membership, please use the online facility or the postal form from the last newsletter.

For the next couple of weeks the seed orders will be prioritised, ready for the Shropshire team to pick out the seeds and get them posted to you. If you haven’t ordered your seed yet, please do so as soon as possible, again using the online or printed form.

The final date for receipt of seed orders is 10th January.

Please be assured that we are doing all we can to get the office running smoothly again as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Gardening Year

Judi Deakin

Honorary Secretary

Next Meeting: Saturday 5th January 2019 at 2pm

John Tyler ‘The World of Fungi’

Today’s talk explores their lives and how they impact on ours. John trained as a zoologist and conservationist and spent much of his working life developing and running wildlife reserves in London and Kent with a particular interest in introducing children to the natural world. Based in Buckinghamshire he now gives talks and runs guided walks and has for many years studied glow-worms. 

Happy New Year 2019 to you all

Next Meeting: Saturday 1st December 2pm

We look forward to seeing you all for the final meeting of 2018,  which is next Saturday 1st December. It is also our annual Christmas Party.

Bob Brown, our speaker next Saturday, will be talking to us about Geraniums – Restraint and Discrimination. There can’t be many of us who don’t grow geraniums so this should be a talk relevant to us all.

Bob needs little introduction as he is a stalwart of the plant nursery scene and appears regularly on gardening panels, plant trials judging panels and as a speaker. His nursery, ‘Cotswold Garden Flowers’ near Evesham, is on almost everyone’s ‘must visit’ nursery list. His comprehensive catalogue features many unusual varieties and he personally grades all the plants he sells so you know which varieties he really favours and why.

Our Herts HPS Christmas Party follows after the talk. This is the occasion when members provide the nibbles and the committee co-ordinate these and provide drinks.  Please bring a plate of bite-sized food that is ready to be eaten (preferably on a disposable plate). Any precious plate/container needs to be “off-loaded” and returned to your car before the meeting so it doesn’t get lost.  Labels for anything special (gluten-free etc) are always welcome.

Volunteer help would be very much appreciated to help clear away the chairs and tables at the end of the meeting as this task is becoming more and more onerous as the committee continues to be small in size.


A date for your diaries 2019!


The HHPS Coach Trip for 2019 to Essex Gardens will take place on Saturday 15th June. We will be visiting Langthorn’s Plantery, RHS Hyde Hall (RHS members plus one guest are entitled to free entry) and the private garden at Furzelea.

Further details and the booking form will be included in the Spring 2019 Newsletter. I do hope you will be able to join us.

Maggie Lacey