Category Archives: News 2016

Geoff Hodge review of secateurs in November ‘Garden News’

Those of you who heard Geoff Hodge at the October meeting will remember that he trials and publishes surveys of available tools. His latest one about ratchet secateurs will appear in the 5th November edition of ‘Garden News’.

The New Season Starts On Saturday

Welcome back, everyone, to the new season of meetings. On Saturday 1st October, our first speaker, Geoff Hodge, will be giving a talk entitled ‘Pruning – Making it Simple’.

Geoff is a freelance garden writer, writing for various national gardening magazines. He was Web Editor for the RHS, Gardening Editor of ‘Garden News’ and technical writer for ‘Garden Answers’ magazine. He is an author and broadcaster, appearing on Q&A panels at flower shows across the country. He may make gardening butchers of us all!

NB  The Autumn edition of the Newsletter will be distributed at this meeting, so please collect yours during the meeting. Any newsletters not collected at the meeting will be sent by post as usual.


Member’s Open Garden | Tessa Davies

Sunday 31st July

Don’t miss the chance to visit Tessa’s garden in St Albans this weekend.  It promises to be in full summer swing, with plenty of inspiration for Herts Group members.

Member’s Open Garden, 13 Seymour Road, St Albans, Herts, AL3 5HL, 2 – 4pm

Tessa Davies’ surburban garden is planted for all year interest, with contrasting trees, shrubs and grasses forming the backbone of the garden, interwoven with flowering perennials. Planting is broadly Mediterranean in an English garden setting, i.e. with a lawn at the centre. Tessa says Beth Chatto has been a strong influence, as has Christopher Lloyd.

Highlights in July include Cytisus battandieri (pineapple broom); tooth-leaved Melianthus major; Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’; Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’, and felty-foliaged Ballota acetabulosa. Rosa glauca sends up arching sprays of glaucous foliage scattered with dainty pink flowers, and ornamental grasses, such as Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and Stipa gigantea, add shimmer to the borders.

The back garden is approximately 90ft long and is dominated by a large and very old Bramley apple tree, underplanted with aromatic Phlomis fruticosa and P. russeliana, the perennial poppy Papaver rupifragum and evergreen shrubs such as box. In July, different varieties of phlox and hydrangea are the main flowering plants, but Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Achillea ‘Moonshine’ will still be going strong. Refreshments provided.

Members Peter and Sue Tomson Featured in Hertfordshire Life

The Abbots garden created by Peter and Sue Tomson are featured in Hertfordshire life, illustrating 25 years of gardening to create the lovely place we visited in 2015. Some of us will recall the HHPS open garden visit there, recounted in this article on the site here. Well done to Sue and Peter.

As a reminder we have two open gardens coming up (check the programme for details):

  • Tessa Davies, Sunday 31st July, 13 Seymour Road, St Albans, Herts, AL3 5HL, 2 – 4pm
  • Liz Machin, Sunday 21st August, 2, Barlings Road, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2AN, 2 – 4pm


I hope you are enjoying the abundance in your gardens in July and finally some Summer weather.

Date Correction for Margaret Easter

Margaret Easter is opening her garden with a national collection of Thymus on Sunday 3rd July, not Sunday 2nd July. The programme has been updated with this detail, you can read more about Margaret’s garden by clicking here.

Coach Trip Departure Time is 8:45

Please note the coach trip departs at 8:45 from Westminster Lodge, not 8:15 as mentioned in the previous reminder.


Grand Plant Sale, Before and After



The HHPS Plant Sale team ready themselves for the public



Once the public arrived, a flood of buyers

Beryl (our plant sales coordinator) would like to pass on her thanks to everyone who helped make this annual event a success.


Grand Plant Sale Reminder

Our annual plant sale takes place on Saturday 4th of June from 10am to 12 noon at the URC Church Hall in St Albans. Full address:

United Reformed Church Hall, Homewood Rd, St Albans, AL1 4BH

On the Friday night from 6pm to 9pm member volunteers are required to help sort and price the plants. Members with plants to donate should deliver them to the URC hall at the same time.

Roger Trigg Offer : Geranium maderense

Roger asked us to pass on an offer of Geranium maderense. If any member would like one (they’re at the 1L pot stage) and has the necessary conservatory or heated greenhouse to over-winter it, would they contact Roger (email or 01923 774293) and I’ll bring it/them on Saturday.

Annie Godfrey Success at RHS Chelsea 2016

Our ex-Chairman Annie received a Silver-Gilt at RHS Chelsea 2016 for her garden in the main pavilion. Annie described it like this:

The exhibit showcases plants that are resistant to drought conditions. The lower or ground level features plantings in gravel, which create a beach-like feel. A path winds through the planting, leading to steps and a second, more densely planted area. Daisy Roots hope to prove that low rainfall does not mean low levels of interesting planting.

Photos courtesy of Heather Osborne

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust Vacancy

This is a message from the HMWT which we thought would be interesting to our members. Use the form at the bottom of this web page to send a message direct to HMWT if you are interested.

The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) has a wildlife garden next to the office in Verulamium park St Albans. Sadly their volunteer gardener of many years Jane Baldwin, who has done a marvellous job, has had to stop going due to health problems.

HMWT are in the process of trying to find an experienced and passionate amateur gardener who would be interested in helping maintain their wildlife garden and help with the creation of a new garden adjacent to it. Typically they need help 1-2 half days per week.

Meeting Reminder: April 2nd – John Amand

And so to our final meeting of this season of talks, this Saturday, 2nd April, at 2pm, when John Amand, managing director of Jacques Amand International Ltd, will be speaking on ‘Tulips, Old and New’.

For over 70 years, Jacques Amand has offered flowering bulbs of many varieties to discerning gardeners.  The company began as a flower shop in the Strand when Jean Jacques Amand arrived from the Netherlands in 1927.  Since then the company, based at Stanmore in Middlesex, has grown to become a major supplier of bulbs, and is renowned for the diversity and quality of bulbs offered to customers in many countries.  They exhibit at many shows around the UK, including the Chelsea Flower Show, where they have won twenty-nine Gold Medals for their displays of unusual bulbs and plants.

Plants for sale.