Category Archives: News 2012

Why all gardeners should join the HPS – Daily Telegraph

An article by Val Bourne in the Telegraph.

via Hardy Plant Society: why all gardeners should join – Telegraph.

HPS Chairman’s Blog – November

Molinia “Bergfreund”

Molinia “Bergfreund”

I fear that this will be a short entry this month as I am on holiday in U.S.A., firstly in Massachusetts for a few days, then travelling through New Jersey to Washington DC area where I have been for the last two weeks. The Fall colours are over and it was sad to see the devastation along the New Jersey coast in the wake of storm Sandy. Even here in DC there is evidence of many fallen trees and many large trees washed up on the banks of the Potomac.

I have seen reports of extensive flooding in U.K. and wonder how my garden is faring. Some of the grasses were looking splendid before I left. The Molinia “Bergfreund” was looking splendid in the sunshine. It is similar to Molinia “Transparent” with tidy mounds of foliage that turn orange in Autumn. It is deciduous but I leave the foliage in place as it provides a popular shelter for hibernating ladybirds. I have planted Allium gigantium under it and this seems to work well as its flowers and foliage and decaying as the grass gets going in Spring.

I visited Dumbarton Oaks Garden a few days ago. The Garden was created by Mildred and Robert Barnes Bliss, collectors and patrons of art and scholarship in the humanities. Robert Bliss was a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service and they travelled extensively in South America and Europe. After a long search for a permanent home in Washington, they purchased the 1801 Federal-style house and property in June 1920.

After buying the property they made extensive alterations and Mildred Barnes Bliss worked closely with renowned landscape designer Beatrix Farrand to transform the land surrounding the house into terraced gardens and vistas. They enhanced the resultant garden rooms with plant material and garden ornaments thus giving differing character and use. Trees are important in many of the rooms, framing views and enclosing spaces. Benches are fitted into corners thus providing both points of interest and places to rest. Urns and vases mark transitions between rooms.

At the moment there is little of plant interest in flower. The advantage of this is to give a good overview of the rooms from the area near the house. The use of rooms in the Garden may suggest a similarity to the gardens at Hidcote Manor, near where I live. The atmosphere is very different without the aesthetically satisfying use of proportions and lengthy views to the horizon that are such a feature of Hidcote. Nevertheless it is a garden worth a visit if you happen to be in the Washington DC area. For further information visit


Originally published here:

WGC Group Photographed on Pottertons Website

At the recent Christmas Meeting Rob Potterton photographed our group, ostensibly to prove to his wife he doesn’t have a secret life, you might be able to see yourself in the photo on his website here or copied below, click to enlarge.

Herts Group, not Rob's secret life

Herts Group, not Rob’s secret life

Country Homes & Interiors: The De Baats

If you happen to see a copy of Country Homes & Interiors this month, it features the garden of Adrian and Clare de Baat in WGC, members of the HHPS Group. The photos show the garden in winter, with lots of snow.

American, Canadian & Belgian HPS Groups

By accident I discovered there are Hardy Planters outside the UK, so far I’ve found groups in the US, Canada & Flanders.  I have made a google map of their locations, below, click on each of the blue markers to see the name of the group. Each group is also reachable from our Links page or using the links below. I emailed the various groups to introduce us and got some replies which are shown lower down the page. Some of the international groups are huge, Oregon State is 850 members alone.

Does anyone know of any other international HPS groups? Send them over if so.

International Groups Map

Underneath the map is a link to “View Larger Map” where you can see it all – or else zoom out to see the whole of the US and all the groups on the West coast.

Connecticut, USA

I am the president of the mini chapter in Connecticut. It is great to hear from you and we are adding you to our website. The Pacific northwest is the part of the country with the most “English – like” weather.

Don’t know if you sent an email to the Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Pennsylvania but they are a very large and active group.

Leslie Shields
25 Johnson Ave.
Plainville, CT 06062

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Hi Bill,

Greetings from Victoria, the City of Gardens, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The Victoria Hardy Plant Group is a specialty group of the Victoria Horticultural Society. We have about 80 members, some more active than others, but all avid gardeners. We are just north of the US border and share the wonderful Pacific North West climate with our neighbours to the south.

You will see on our web page which is part of the VHS website, that our Mission Statement is much like yours. We meet seven times a year including a summer picnic with a lively auction of members plants as a fundraiser for the Group. We also have an annual lecture where we invite the public, our speaker this year was James Alexander-Sinclair and in February we are hosting Chris Beardshaw.

We have a loyal team of members who maintain three beautiful Hardy Borders at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific and a monthly email newsletter The Seedling to keep in touch. I would be glad to put you on the list to receive our newsletter if you like.

Best regards,

Suzanne Johnston, editor
Victoria Hardy Plant Group

Salem, Oregon, USA

Hello! I will be happy to add a link to your site the next time I update our webpage, which should be within the week. I will have to check out your webpage as well. We are the Salem Oregon Hardy Plant Society and have around 160 members.

As far as I know, there is no link between us [meaning the USA in general, Bill]. Our group formed because we didn’t want to drive to Portland all the time for meetings and wanted a smaller, less formal group. We also have a Facebook page but it is not very active. Most of our group is older and not too computer savvy.

Mid-Atlantic, USA

Hi Bill
I am writing on behalf of the Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group. We have approximately 850 members and most of our members are from the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland but we have members all over the United States. We don’t have monthly meetings but we have 4 lectures a year that we host or co-host with other garden associations in Pennsylvania. We have a very active Seed Exchange program and hold a Members Plant Sale and during the garden season there are quite a few garden tours. We have each year a domestic trip to an area usually on the Eastern Seaboard for 2 to 4 nights long. Also a small group usually goes to UK for a garden trip to a different area each time but they also have gone to France and Morocco. Next year there will be a 10 day trip to Belgium which I am organizing and when I was over this past June I met a couple Hardy Plant Society of Flanders [in Dutch, try this for English] members. Our website is informative and keeps everyone what to-date on what is happening.
We will share your link with our members. It was nice hearing from you, take care.
Janice Thomas
HPS Past President

Oregon State, USA

Dear Bill,
Thanks for your kind message. And, thanks for putting our organization, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, on your links page. You are correct in your assessment that HPSO is the largest group in the Pacific Northwest. We have a very active organization. I thought you’d like to know of a couple other of our “sister” organisations, too. While they aren’t called “hardy plant societies”, they really do fill that niche. Both of them are located in Washington State in the Seattle area. The name of Hardy Plant Society of Washington was already registered, so they couldn’t use that name also. But, these two organizations are the largest in Washington:

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon mainly serves the Portland area. However, we do have members from all over the US and Canada plus a few in England, too! There isn’t any Hardy Plant Society of the US (or America). I think our group was the first one in the US. The HPS of Great Britain was our model back in 1984!
Since I am the webmaster for the HPSO site, I will be happy to list your website on our links page. It may take me a few days to get around to doing it though. But, you can check back on it later this week.
By the way, the Pacific Northwest does indeed have a fantastic climate for gardening. Our climate here is the closest match to England’s that exists in all of North America. We have a moderating influence from the Pacific ocean. Horticulture, particularly for the commercial nursery industry, is among the top industries in our state. Our nurseries ship ornamental plants to all parts of the US.
Kind regards,
Bruce Wakefield
HPSO Executive Director

Washington State, USA

Hi Bill!

Delighted to hear from you and that you’ve done some legwork to find us all. Our group, the Hardy Plant Society of Washington (USA), is a small group of about 40 avid plants-people, with a lot of experience in Horticulture in the Pacific Northwest. We are starting a new public education garden for perennials and shrub at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. We have also this year, started maintaining the Blooms of Bressingham Plant Trials beds and we evaluate about half-a-dozen new plants each year here.

We really look forward to hearing about other groups. Our website is and we’ld be delighted to get the URLs of our Hardy Plant Society friends to link our groups. We also have a Facebook page ( to facilitate dialogue. It would be really interesting to hear about how some specific plants we’re working with do in other climates and areas. We also have a seed exchange, and we’ld love to promote reciprocal seed exchanges as well.

My very best wishes,
Grace Hensley
HPSW Webmaster
Seattle, WA, USA

Wisconsin, USA


Great to hear from you. I am with the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society. We have over 600 members and offer very similar opportunities to our members: speakers from around the country, coach trips, local garden tours, a public plant sale, and a member’s plant exchange. We have also offered our members a trip to the British Isles every other year for about 16 years.

Unfortunately, there is no “central” HPS which provides contact between the organizations. Our group has had contact with some of the groups when we have travelled to other parts of the US. Oh – and the Pacific Northwest is “garden heaven” here.

I plan to forward your message to the rest of the Board of Directors so you may be hearing from some of them too. Personally I am in charge of membership (plus send all e-mails and read e-mails which is why I saw this first), am on the trip committee, and organize the local garden tours.

Jane LaFlash
WHPS Membership

Vancouver, Canada

Hello Bill
My name is Angela Miller and I am a displaced Brit who has been living in Vancouver for the past 40 odd years (although I come back for a visit most years). I am Co-Chair of the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group with Gillian Collins.

I visited your website and see with great interest that you are having many of the speakers from UK for upcoming talks who we have had in the past. We have just had James Alexander-Sinclair come to speak to us on one of our study days – he was a delightful man and we enjoyed him enormously as I am sure your group will too. We have also had Derry Watkins a couple of times, another lovely person, and Keith Wiley was here in February.

Next year Vancouver is hosting the Hardy Plant Study Weekend in June at the University of British Columbia…. the Hardy Plant Study Weekend is an annual three-day conference which takes place in the Pacific Northwest and is hosted each year by The Northwest Perennial Alliance, Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, Hardy Plant Society of Willamette Valley or Hardy Plant Group of Vancouver/Victoria. The location varies between Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver or Victoria, BC. I am attaching a promotional bookmark which we have been sending out. As you will see we are having John Massey (he has been over here several times and is one of our favourites) and also Andy Sturgeon – our other speakers are more local.

I don’t know if there is an overall USA Society – we are an unincorporated group as we don’t want to have to be bothered with formal meetings, AGM’s, elections, etc. Basically, my colleague Gillian and I run the group and all the members seem happy with that….easier for them!

I would add a link to your site – but I do not know how – but will ask the guy who maintains the website to do so at a later date.

I am attaching a copy of our latest newsletter (click here to view the PDF) with a write-up on James’ talks.

We would be happy to send you info about the Hardy Plant Study Weekend when it is finalised – you never know – some of your members may be coming this way and may like to attend. When we last hosted the weekend we had two ladies from Wales.

Nice to communicate with you….keep in touch.
Angela Miller

Insight & Inspiration from the Ground Up

You are invited to the Hardy Plant Study Weekend
June 14, 15, 16, 2013 Vancouver, B.C.

Speakers ~ John Massey Andy Sturgeon
Egan Davis Thomas Hobbs
Sue Milliken & Kelly Dodson Paddy Wales

registration February 1, 2013

Hello again Bill,
I forgot to mention that, in fact, our climate here in the Pacific Northwest/British Columbia is temperate like UK – although as you will see from James’ comments, we get lots of rain, it is a rain forest after all! I often think that it can be colder in UK than here on the coast – although I come from Salisbury, where the wind whips down from the plain!

Oregon HPS Photo

Oregon HPS Open Garden

Oregon HPS Open Garden

Xmas Party 2012

Today the group enjoyed a talk from Rob Potterton, along with a Christmas feast. Rob took us through his plant hunting expedition to China, and onwards through the process of propagation and sale. Rob experienced altitude sickness at 16,000 feet in the mountains near-ish the border with Tibet, to collect new species of alpine plants, now on sale at his nursery The lovely table decorations were made by the members (if I missed any, sorry), and also the bountiful fancy cakes. Next meeting on the 5th of January with James Alexander-Sinclair. Have a good Christmas everyone.


HHPS now on Facebook

For those that use Facebook, you can now become ‘friends’ and ‘poke’ HHPS yourselves, use to become a friend. As of now Herts HPS doesn’t have any Facebook friends, maybe one of you can become the first! Our profile is here:, if interest picks up I’m sure there’s ways to make more use of it. Our profile is female by the way, we couldn’t be “not sure”, and we also have a made up date of birth, in 1938.

From Romans to GM scientists: The hidden history in your garden

An event at Luton Hoo in the walled garden in 2013 for interested parties…

via From Romans to GM scientists: The hidden history in your garden.

History of the HPS on the National Site

National HPS has added a history of the HPS as a presentation, click here to visit the relevant page.

2013 HPS Seed Catalogue

This years HPS Seed Catalogue is being sent by post as I write, you should receive your paper copy along with your national newsletter soon.  With the agreement of Sue Pinsent the national seed distribution co-ordinator, the HHPS are lucky enough to have prompt access to the catalogue in PDF format, as the production of the paper copy involved myself.  Please note that orders must be made using the paper form, and is not included in the PDF.  The catalogue is on a new page on our site here [Link removed, out of date], using the password distributed to members by email, or at the recent meeting in Wheathampstead. If you are unable to locate the password, use the Contact Us form to ask for a reminder of the black and white movie stars which guide the choice of password.

Autumn in Sherrardspark Woods