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.

Plant of the Month

In Somerset we are very lucky to host the National Collection of erythronium under the scrupulous care of Joan Lorraine at Greencombe, Porlock.  She is a lifelong plantswoman with quite an eye for a good plant, and has been gardening on the acid, north-facing slopes under the light shade of mature trees for over half a century.

Joan has spent much of her youth, and her later years, ‘hunting the dogs’ teeth’ in North America, Siberia, Japan, and Romania.  Her knowledge is second to none.  In the UK erythroniums can be a little difficult to please. They dislike summer wet while they are dormant, but relish the woodsy soil in the shade of deciduous trees. At Greencombe Joan has made shallow depressions on the slope, and filled them with well-rotted leaf-mould: that legendary ‘moist but draining’ soil loved by so many woodlanders.

In April the erythroniums are at their best, their spotted leaves a basal rosette beneath stems of dancing spiders.  And the flowers are allowed to seed about. Some she has named herself.  Other enthusiasts have done likewise, and now there are many large-flowered forms in delicious shades of white, pink, peach and lilac, each a testament to expert plantsmanship.

Sally Gregson

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