Martin Ward


07920 518402

The Ranunculaceae Group, one of the newer Interest Groups in the Hardy Plant Society, was formed in 2007. Its aims are to inform, educate and enthuse about numerous ranunculids, by means of two Newsletters a year, an Annual Meeting and Zoom talks. It has just over 100 members from the UK, Europe and the USA, and has as its patrons renowned plantsmen Bleddyn Wynn-Jones and Dan Hinkley.

The botanical buttercup family Ranunculaceae, perhaps one of the most familiar and well-loved of all the plant families, derives its name from the Latin rana, a frog, because many of its members thrive in damp places. There are about 60 genera and 2500 species, more than enough to retain the interest of the members of the Ranunculaceae Group for many years! Many species and cultivars of this large family of plants are grown widely in our mixed or herbaceous borders. The main genera of garden plants are: actaea; aconitum; adonis; aquilegia; anemone; beesia; caltha; clematis; delphinium; eranthis; hepatica; helleborus; pulsatilla; ranunculus; thalictrum and trollius. The family also includes other less well-known genera such as asteropyrum;
isopyrum; oxygraphis; semiaquilegia; and paraquilegia. There is even a woody shrub, Xanthorhiza simplicissima, from North America, which is usually placed within the buttercup family.



This is produced twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, and includes members’ articles and notes on a wide variety of ranunculaceae species and cultivars. It is hoped that as many members as possible will contribute so that it can become a forum for discussion on topics of interest, such as tips on cultivation, members’ favourite ranunculids, in-depth accounts of a particular genus and plant hunting in remote places.

Annual Lecture Day

Our annual get-together features guest speakers, garden visits and of course the chance to buy plants from specialist nurseries and a members’ sales table. We plan to visit a different venue each year so that as many members as possible have a chance to attend and to vary the date so that different groups of plants can be seen in season.

The AGM is usually held on the same day as the Lecture Day.

Zoom Talks

We hold 2-3 very popular Zoom talks every year in the winter. This is a great opportunity for members who find travel distances excessive, especially our overseas members, to join in a virtual get together and listen to talks from around the world. We normally have 50-60 members joining our Zooms. We have had interesting Zoom talks from Deborah Hardwick ‘Clematis – myths and truths’; Peter Williams – “Ranunculaceae – A Treasure Trove of Garden Plants”; Colin Ward -‘Ranunculaceae for a Shady Place’; Richard Hodson ‘The Viorna. Group of Clematis’; Carrie Thomas – ‘All Things Aquilegia’; Mike Byford – ‘All
Things Hellebore’; Timothy Walker – ‘The Thoughts of a Botanical Gardener on the Ranunculaceae’. We are always looking for speakers, especially from overseas, to give our Zoom talks.


If you are already a member of the HPS and these snippets of information give you food for thought and you would like to join our enthusiastic group, please click here to download an application form.

Annual subscription rates run from 1st January to 31st December each year, or on a rolling basis from the day you pay for one year when joining online.

  • UK Membership for one year – 1st Jan 2024 – 31st Dec 2024
    • Single: £6.00
    • Joint: Two people at one address £8.00
  • Overseas Membership for one year 1st Jan 2024 – 31st Dec 2024
    • Digital Newsletter £6.00
    • Printed Newsletter £15.00

To join the group please complete the downloadable application form above, or you can join online here.

Upcoming Events

AGM and Annual Lecture Day 2024

Our next AGM and Annual Lecture Day is on July 7th 2024 at Beckford Village Hall, Main Street, Beckford, Tewkesbury, Worcestershire GL20 7AA.

The AGM starts at 10 am and that will be followed by our speaker, Julian Sutton who will talk about the structure and properties of double forms of Ranunculaceae. The aim is to have an interactive session so Julian asks that you bring double forms of plant material with you. As that is likely to be a limited number of examples, he asks that between now and then you photograph examples in advance. Please send these photographs to Vivienne at v.m.mcghee@icloud.com who will collate them and send them on to Julian. In the afternoon there will be a visit to the garden of HPS member Linda Marsh on the northern edge of Cheltenham. Tea and cake will be served in the garden.

Julian will bring plants for sale, there will be a members’ plant stall, plant supports stall and raffle.
Download your application form for the 2024 AGM and Annual Lecture Day here

Zoom Talks

Zoom talks are free to members of the Ranunculaceae Group. It is worth joining the Group to get these talks given by world renowned specialists in their fields. The Zoom talks open at 7 pm and the talks start at 7:30 pm. Details of the Zoom talks are emailed to members.

Tuesday February 27th 2024

“Success with Sand- How to grow tricky plants easily” by Dr Andrew Ward

This talk, that Andrew developed in 2022, has been modified to include the ranunculaceae that he has grown successfully in his sand beds. This will include the pulsatillas which have done surprisingly well.
“Are echinaceas expensive annuals for you? So many plants’ cultural instructions proclaim the virtues of a well drained soil but 25+ years of trying to improve our clay to enable us to grow plants like Echinacea had proved disappointing. We now have over 20 beds filled with nothing but sharp sand and grow over 30 different echinaceas as perennials plus hundreds of North American, Mediterranean and alpine plants thriving and astounding on an austere diet. Includes, amongst many others, salvias, nepeta, gaura, bulbs, grasses, coreopsis and a few that like well drained but moist! Also, good advice for those of you that naturally garden on a sandy soil.”



No news for this group