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On a Chalk Hillside – July 2024

Mon 15 / Jul / 2024
This month following on from my thinking about how long plants live last month I am going to talk more about how to rejuvenate plants in your garden.   First a couple of star plants at the end of June here: – Lychnis coronaria: – Geranium ‘Patricia’: – I mentioned rejuvenating…
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Astrantia Major, Astrantia Major Buckland, Lakeside Garden

Thu 11 / Jul / 2024
Astrantia major commonly known as (Great Masterwort) has to be one of the most admired plants in the Lakeside garden, it catches the eye and is the focus of encapsulating undivided attention on every garden tour I undertake. I was struck by this perennial during my days as an Undergardener for…
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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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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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On a Chalk Hillside – May 2024

Tue 14 / May / 2024
After the landscaping and creating the gabion wall described last month, this month is about constructing and planting up the fern bed.  By 21 July 2019, the ground at the base of the gabions had reverted to weedy grass and had to be weeded and levelled.  You can see below…
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On a Chalk Hillside – April 2024

Wed 03 / Apr / 2024
This being a gardening column you would naturally expect me to major on all the ferns I have collected into my new fern bed, and I will be introducing some of the plants in between my explanation of how we created the fern bed planting opportunity on our new bit…
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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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Hybrid Hellebores in the Lakeside Garden

Tue 12 / Mar / 2024
The Hybrid Hellebores are currently a real showpiece on the edges of the woodland setting at the Lakeside garden. Companion planting includes Cyclamen coum and Crocus tommasinianus. The colour tones of Hybrid Hellebores are quite something to behold, rich burgundy, plum, deep black-purple, greenish tints, pink/white flowers, deep apple greens,…
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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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HPS Bursary Reports for February 2024

Thu 29 / Feb / 2024
The Hardy Plant Society uses our Bursary fund to enable applicants to conduct research and investigation into suitable plant projects.  We have three new reports for your enjoyment on our bursary reports page. Most have beautiful photos and great detail on the locations visited and plants encountered. These reports are…
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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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On a Chalk Hillside – January 2024

Thu 11 / Jan / 2024
Happy New Year!   Last month I mentioned another type of garden we wish to develop on our chalk hillside – a gravel garden.  (You may recall I already have a gravel garden I’ve described to you before, which is a gravel mulch on beds, rather than what looks like plants growing…
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Winter planting at the Lakeside garden

Thu 28 / Dec / 2023
It’s this very practical time of the year that I really love and enjoy the garden that bit more, (that may seem strange to some gardeners !) it prepares the way for the new growing season, to get the best from our hardy perennials.  The cool glasshouse is filled with…
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On a Chalk Hillside – December 2023

Mon 18 / Dec / 2023
Let’s start with some festive Cotoneaster horizontalis berries brightening up my December garden to send us all some cheery seasonal greetings: Previously I mentioned that himself was hankering after an exotic garden down the slope on our Chalk Hillside, but during last year had been rethinking what “exotic” meant as…
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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 – November 2023

Sat 11 / Nov / 2023
As I finished last month talking of bees on beans, here is a shot of the flowers of my Runner Beans this year – showing, I think why they were originally introduced as ornamentals here:- The white flowers are “Moonlight” and the red are “Best of All”. I try and…
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Geranium Dreamland

Tue 31 / Oct / 2023
It’s that time of year to rethink the perennial borders. I like to leave as much interest as possible on display, even if it’s the various structures of foliage until the frost takes them, in addition to that I leave dried seed heads and stems of various perennials through the…
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On a Chalk Hillside – October 2023

Tue 10 / Oct / 2023
This month:- compost experiments; some fruit and vegetable progress; thoughts on pollination techniques.  But first following on from last month’s article, I am just going to finish the path clearing jobs with a shot of the wiggly stakes I use for pushing geraniums, back, and their effect:- Hopefully you can…
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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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