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 the HPS Somerset Group.


Our next lecture will be on Saturday 17 October at 11:00am at West Monkton Village Hall.

Neil Lovesey (of Picket Lane Nursery) will talk about "The History (and Future) of the Cottage Garden".  He'll also be bringing plants for sale.

Plant of the Month

Hydrangea aspera

I have long had a love affair with Hydrangea aspera. Many years ago when I saw H. aspera 'Villosa' flowering at Great Dixter I was bowled over.  In the very well cultivated soil in the Sunken Garden, the flowers were like dinner plates: enormous lavender lacecaps over large felted leaves.

There are several different named forms of H. aspera.  All are huge.  Some are well over 2.5 metres (7-8ft) tall, and the flowers remain the same colour:  H. aspera appears not to be sensitive to the pH of the soil.  Both H. aspera 'Mauvette' (see picture) and H. aspera 'Sam MacDonald' have pinker flowers, while H. aspera 'Peter Chappell' has pure white flowers that fade pink, and so far has not exceeded 2m in my garden.  But perhaps it is the leaves that really 'sell' this plant.  Those of H. aspera 'Macrophylla' are the size not of dinner plates but of serving salvers.  And among some varieties the foliage is coloured.  The new variety 'Hot Chocolate' has red stems and reverses to the sea-green leaves. The flowers are an outstanding strong coral pink.  I can't wait for my own plant to achieve its potential.

Sally Gregson

Sally's book, 'The Plant Lover's Guide to Epimediums', is out now (Timber Press).

Community Web Kit provided free by BT