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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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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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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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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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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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Watch Jimi Blake talk about his Snowdrop Obsession on this HPS Zoom

Mon 26 / Feb / 2024
The Galanthus Special Interest Group (SIG) will be hosting a Zoom talk by Jimi Blake of Hunting Brook Gardens on Thursday 29th of February.  Jimi says: I live in a woodland garden in the Wicklow hills in Ireland so woodland plants have become my passion. A few years ago my…
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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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