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On a Chalk Hillside – June 2024

Thu 06 / Jun / 2024
Let’s start with a star plant for the beginning of June in my garden – which also happens to be a very long-lived hardy perennial – the Oriental Poppy, (Papaver orientale):- This month I am going to consider the life span of different plants, and how long I expect different…
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Val Bourne

The Hardy Plant Society is delighted to announce that Val Bourne is our new Vice President

Thu 23 / May / 2024
Val Bourne has been a member of the Hardy Plant Society for over 50 years and has been outstanding in her support of the society and its work. We are delighted that she accepted the role of Vice President of The Hardy Plant Society. Our President, Roy Lancaster and Chair,…
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HPS Member Ann-Marie Powell wins an RHS Award for designing the Octavia Hill Garden

Tue 21 / May / 2024
At the 2024 RHS Chelsea flower show, a new award of RHS Children’s Choice was judged by primary school children from nine London schools. 72 children visited eight show gardens to assess each one on three criteria: The junior judges were chosen for their passion for growing plants in garden…
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Welsh Poppy: Meconopsis cambrica

Mon 20 / May / 2024
  I recall in the early 1980s when I started my professional horticultural career as a nurseryman, admiring the Welsh Poppies from the glasshouses, colonising the grass areas that surrounded the acres of glasshouse on the east side of the Arreton Valley on the Isle Of Wight. With no mow…
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Sixty Plus Surfers

Wed 01 / May / 2024
Following our appearance at the Garden Press Event in February, the online news site Sixty Plus Surfers has written a short piece describing the HPS with a nice photo of our Chair Pamela at the event. You can see their piece on their website here: https://www.sixtyplusurfers.co.uk/homes-and-gardens/  …
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RHS Plant Review Handbook 2024

Mon 22 / Apr / 2024
Published in December last year, the RHS Plant Review Handbook 2024 contains a list of 43 groups offering ways to get involved in plants and gardening. The HPS has a double page feature showing our special interest groups alongside the main society.  If you have a particular plant interest then…
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Winners of the 2023 HPS Members Photographic Competition

Wed 17 / Apr / 2024
The number of entries for the 2023 competition was unfortunately fairly low. The big difference with other years is that this time, people have clearly been thinking a lot more about composition and lighting which resulted in some more unusual pictures which is always great fun to judge. Before I…
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Member Newsletter for March 2024

Fri 15 / Mar / 2024
For HPS members our latest newsletter has now been delivered by post and also available online at the newsletter page. Inside, you can find out about our new approach to flower shows and events around the country, why Rebecca Hilgenhof has a passion for passionflowers, this year’s new names for…
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On a Chalk Hillside – March 2024

Tue 05 / Mar / 2024
This month I shall describe how we started to plan how we wanted to landscape and plant up our new piece of garden. For this March article, I shall also thread through some photos of my favourite Cyclamen-flowered Narcissus which are a joy during the month. We are all familiar…
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Interview with Pamela Clark at the Garden Press Event

Mon 26 / Feb / 2024
On February 20th the HPS had a stand at the Garden Press Event. Saul Walker and Helen Brown who run the Shows and Events team, supported by Ann Franks (Publicity) and Pamela Clark (Chair) all represented the society on the stand. Oliver Rogers of the World Radio Gardening site interviewed…
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On a Chalk Hillside – February 2024

Thu 08 / Feb / 2024
Continuing my look at inspirational gravel gardens and their learning points for us, I mentioned last time that Derek Jarman had been in correspondence with Beth Chatto regarding suitable plants for his garden and that the BIG learning point (presumably for him as well as me) is her mantra “right…
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New Bursary Report: Community and Conservation in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Fri 24 / Nov / 2023
A new bursary report from Selina Tan and Zoe Roberts from Kew Gardens reports on their trip to Bhutan, partly funded by the HPS. They describe the trip as: The project will involve a 5-day working week at the Royal Botanical Garden, Serbithang, where we will help with the installation…
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On a Chalk Hillside September 2023 – Developing our garden

Sun 17 / Sep / 2023
More summer jobs Tying things up and cutting things back feature heavily in this post, as well as in summer jobs generally. In “posh” garden terminology – staking and summer pruning! I call it tying things up as we mainly don’t use stakes as plants are tied to climbing frames…
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On a Chalk Hillside August 2023, Peonies – which one is which! And late spring/summer garden jobs

Thu 17 / Aug / 2023
On a garden visit, I was idly wandering along a bed of herbaceous peonies during the heat of later June this year and suddenly was struck at how many of those flowering at that time were white. I associate peonies flowering with May and early June, and thinking about it,…
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On a Chalk Hillside July 2023 – Developing our garden

Sun 16 / Jul / 2023
Unwanted wildlife affecting our garden this spring Two star plants in late June last year were Hebe ‘Great Orme’, and Hebe ‘Midnight Sky’:- I stress “last” year, as neither survived the winter, which was a great surprise to me – the Hebe ‘Great Orme’ was here when we arrived and…
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On a Chalk Hillside June 2023 – Developing our garden

Fri 16 / Jun / 2023
Before we start with spring sowing and growing, and look at more plants that did or did not survive the winter here, here are two shots of star plants in the garden at the end of May. I was a bit worried I had lost Lamium orvala as it was…
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On a Chalk Hillside – May 2023, Catching up with Seasonal gardening jobs

Tue 16 / May / 2023
Though this article is officially NOT about the weather 1) I’m British 2) Its been the winter, so a great many of the seasonal gardening jobs I would do/expect to do during the winter and spring in the garden are governed by the weather. On our chalk hillside we had…
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On a Chalk Hillside April 2023 – Hardy Plant Seeds winners and losers in our garden 2

Sun 16 / Apr / 2023
Let’s start with a current star plant in my garden in early April, and one that I have saved seed from to send to the HPS in previous years, the Snake’s Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris):- Now after March’s pause to look at some lovely snowdrops, to part two of reporting…
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Eco Plant Whisperer – April 2023

Sat 25 / Mar / 2023
Helleborus – Orientalis It’s just not easy to spot an entire Hellebore plant at this time of year that doesn’t display the fungal signs of black spot on the leaves. Helleborus orientalis the Lenten rose seems particularly susceptible as with  the caulescent species of Hellebores. Hellebores do of course display…
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On a Chalk Hillside March 2023

Thu 02 / Mar / 2023
Posted on 02.03.2023 | Updated on 03.03.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Snowdrops  It is two years since I talked about snowdrops and the famous snowdrop gardens that inspired my love of the little plants, so I thought I would write about some more gardens and plants that we…
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Eco Plant Whisperer March 2023

Mon 27 / Feb / 2023
Galanthus nivalisThere are about  20 species of the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis, but as a genus it is far more widespread, comprising approximately 1,500 cultivars ! Snowdrops were introduced into this country in the late 16 century from europe. Unfortunately the current  Conservation Status of Galanthus is near threatened !…
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On a Chalk Hillside February 2023

Fri 10 / Feb / 2023
Posted on 10.02.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – Hardy Plant Seeds winners and losers in our garden 1. Let’s start with a stalwart February star plant – Crocus tommasinianus – here flowering under the plum trees in our orchard:- These flowers are a vital source…
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On a Chalk Hillside January 2023

Sat 07 / Jan / 2023
Posted on 07.01.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – a giant winner, and how the vegetable garden coped Happy New Year.  Let’s start with a giant winner from the heat and drought of this summer.  You would expect Yucca filamentosa to have coped well with that…
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On a Chalk Hillside December 2022

Mon 05 / Dec / 2022
Posted on 05.12.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – winners and losers in our garden (2) Continuing on with my review of winners and losers in our decorative garden this year of drought and heat. As you all know, we have almost no topsoil to speak…
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