Welcome to the Somerset Group of the Hardy Plant Society

The UK Hardy Plant Society (HPS) was formed in 1957 to foster interest in hardy herbaceous plants on the widest possible scale. The aims of the society are to give its members information about the wealth of both well and little known plants, and to ensure that all worthy plants remain in cultivation and have the widest possible distribution.  In the Somerset Local Group, we provide information and activities at a local level for Hardy Plant Society members to promote the aims of the society.
This is accomplished by organising a programme of meetings, visits and publishing a local newsletter.  (Please see the Programme of Events page for full details of forthcoming events.)
Membership of the local group is open to anyone who is member of the Hardy Plant Society nationally. You can find details of how to join on the Membership page.
This website is maintained by Somerset HPS Group.

Our next event: 
Saturday 20 September 2014
at West Monkton Village Hall 

10.00am - 50/50 Plant Sale

11.00am - Lecture:  Roger Turner – “Michaelmas daisies and other late flowering perennials”

Plant of the Month
Albizia julibrissin 'Ombrella'

Photos: Stuart Senior, 3 August 2014

Albizia is a genus of more than 100 species, closely related to Acacia from which it differs in having the stamens united at the base.  A. julibrissin, also known as the Silk Tree, is the hardiest species.  It is a native of the Near East, whence it was introduced in 1745.  It is also common, cultivated or wild, in China and many other countries.

Ombrella® was a seedling at the Bourquin Nursery in France which was observed and cultivated, and later on patented under the name Boubri.  It differs from the species by darker leaves and deeply coloured flowers.

The exotic looking flowers (see below) are pinky-red, hairy spheres with yellowish centres, 3-5 cm large and with a sweet fragrance.  The fern-like leaves are deep green and compound. They close for the night and re-open in the morning.

It is a medium-sized tree with irregular, flat or umbrella-shaped, spreading crown. It needs warm, neutral to alkaline, preferably poor or slightly fertile well-drained soil. Mulching is good for winter but in the summer it prefers direct sunlight onto the area above roots so it can collect as much warmth as possible for better flowering.  The tree shown, planted in 2007, has survived the recent cold winters of -15°C and even if the branches are damaged by frost it readily regenerates.

Community Web Kit provided free by BT