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’.

Issue 56 – Autumn 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:

  • Seedling Swap Report
  • Plant Sale Report
  • Coach Trip Report
  • ‘In Praise of…Joe Pye Weed’
  • Plant Profile (Athyrium otophorum var. okanum (AGM))
  • ‘Sage Words’
  • ‘Hestercombe’
  • Member’s Open Gardens Report

Click here (or on the front cover below) to download this edition.


Front Cover of the Autumn 2016 Edition


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.


New National HPS Website

After a huge investment of time and effort, the national Hardy Plant Society website has been transformed into something colourful, interesting and new. We have our own page on the site, but overall the new design has made better order of the vast amount of information available. Click the link above or the screenshot below to visit the new site.


HPS Diamond Jubilee Garden Opening

To celebrate the Hardy Plant Society’s 60th anniversary in 2017, the national HPS is looking for members who would be willing to open their gardens to both the public and HPS members. Each garden owner may choose the date(s) on which they would like to open, so that their garden may be seen at its peak and ‘star’ plants can be at their best.

An entry fee will be charged at each garden (similar to the pricing for NGS or other openings) and £1 per admission will be passed back to the national HPS to cover the scheme’s administration costs. The balance of each admission may be donated to a charity of the garden owner’s choice, or to their local HPS group, whichever they prefer.

The national Hardy Plant Society has arranged insurance for the opening gardens along the lines of that adopted by the NGS.

A booklet is to be printed at the end of this year, which will give details of all the gardens opening for the HPS Diamond Jubilee across the country. As the booklet will be going to print early next year, the closing date for applications is December 31st.


If you feel you would like to open your garden for this once-only special event, visit the HPS Diamond Jubilee website and provide your details.

Member’s Open Garden Reminder – Liz Machin’s Garden

Sunday 21st August 2016

Our second open garden event this summer is Liz Machin’s garden in Harpenden.  With lots of late summer colour and interesting features, it’s sure to be a hit with Herts Group members, so join us if you can.

2, Barlings Road, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2AN, 2 – 4pm

Liz Machin will be opening her garden to Herts HPS members at its peak this weekend.  Set in a mature development, the garden is packed with unusual plants – shrubs, herbaceous perennials and climbers – designed to provide all-year-round structure, colour and contrast.

Highlights in August include green-and-white petalled Clematis ‘Alba Luxurians’, starry-flowered Clematis x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’, and towering blue-flowered chicory, Cichorium intybus.

There is also a delightfully colourful courtyard garden incorporating a water feature, and a secluded shade garden. Come along and while away an hour or so in beautiful surroundings. Liz’s garden is also described on her NGS Page

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.