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: Acorn Trees & Shrubs. 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

Bupleurum fruticosum

If I ever moved into a colder area, this is the shrub I would miss most. It comes from Southern Europe and the old RHS Dictionary cautiously says ‘Not very hardy but useful for exposed maritime situations’ so a dark Exmoor valley or the top of the Brendons or Blackdowns might not be ideal.  It’s also a calcicole - the only time I’ve found it in the wild was in a limestone gorge in North Morocco, growing in scree above oleanders.  Given this warning, I would however urge anybody who could grow it to try.  Like Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ AGM (featured in February this year) it’s one of the few small shrubs I consider faultless.  It always looks smart with long straight upright twigs and evergreen slightly glaucous leaves with paler reverses.  The umbels, a rich mellow yellow, have colour
through July and August and are good for pollinators.  It’s completely wind-proof (twigs, leaves and flowers) – and believe me, Lilstock tests this!  It can be pruned hard back to near the base if you want to keep it low enough for mid-border or front-of-shrubbery, or discreetly beside a path.  I know this because last year one of mine outside the wall was savaged by a careless hedge-cutting contractor. It looked damaged for much of the autumn but this year is better than ever.

The Plant Finder doesn’t list a Somerset supplier, but Pan Global and Bob Brown usually have it, and it’s certainly worth searching for.

Ro FitzGerald

Community Web Kit provided free by BT