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.


Do make sure that you have our inaugural Forde Abbey Plant Fair in you diary!

Confirmed attendees are: Avon Bulbs, Barracott Nursery, Blooming Hill Plants, Coates Willow, Desert to Jungle, Dorset Perennials, Elworthy Cottage Plants, Entwood Farm Plants, Gardeners Delight Nursery, Gillard Garden, Hidden Valley Nursery, In Clover, Kevin Hughes Plants, Millwood Plants, Pickett Lane Nursery, Shady Plants, Shaker Woodwork, Steve at Bobbin Wood, Tolman Topiary, Tortworth Plants, Waytown Nursery and Wild Thyme Plants.

The Abbey Nursery will also be open.


The Somerset branch of the National Gardens Scheme is currently looking for volunteers: click on the logo for more details.


The Somerset Group of the Hardy Plant Society is a member of the Somerset Federation of Gardening Clubs.

Plant of the Month

Tulbaghia ‘Purple Eye’ AGM

These charming African bulbs have rather come into fashion, with West Country nurserymen such as Julian Sutton (Desirable Plants) listing many species and selections. This one, ‘Purple Eye’, is actually quite venerable but has only recently been widely launched into the trade after tissue culture enabled bulk production.  Bred by Dick Fulcher of Pine Cottage Plants, where so many of us have acquired treasured Agapanthus cultivars, it was the result of a cross between T. comminsii and T. violacea, and to me way surpasses either parent. It’s gentle, palest mauve colour, with the dark eye like a drop of ripe mulberry juice, gives it real charm.

A great advantage (and here too it outdoes its parents) is a surprisingly long flowering season. Coming into bloom in June, it will probably still be flowering in November if reasonably sheltered. It’s an ideal pot subject, discreetly pretty, flowering above a clump of narrow, spreading leaves. It ‘goes with anything’, and enjoys sun and good drainage, making a lovely companion for twiggy salvias or pelargoniums. It is also an excellent front-of-border plant – I’ve just seen a delightful planting where it was combined with a fine-leaved Eryngium, Geranium psilostemon and a deep cherry-red Salvia nemorosa or S. x sylvestris selection.  The pale Tulbaghia heads and the silver streaks in the Eryngium leaves made a most elegant contrast to the deeper maroon shades of the other flowers.

‘Purple Eye’ is hardy as long as drainage is good, but of course appreciates a warm position.

Ro FitzGerald

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