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 16 January, 10:00am for 10:30am (please note early start), at West Monkton Village Hall.

Helen Mount's talk about the Hardy Plant Society Conservation Scheme will be followed by a talk by Stuart Senior entitled "The man who planted trees".

Plant of the Month

Lachenalia aloides var quadricolor

Even the most informal photograph can show the wonderfully exotic appearance of this little South African bulb. It looks like a rare luxury plant, possibly very tricky to grow and flower, but I’ve chosen it for this grim month of the year because it is actually one of the most reliable and undemanding of plants, and the brilliant colours and generous flowering are always so cheering.

Lachenalia is quite a large genus, and there are plenty of unusual species (and decorative hybrids) in the trade, some with rare and subtle forms and colours, but I love the in-your-face brilliance of this one.  It comes from exposed, nutrient-poor habitat – crevices in granite rocks in the SW Cape region – so it can be treated with benign neglect, or worse!

Leaves appear in early autumn, which reminds me to knock some compost out of the pots, refresh them a bit, and start watering. They live in open cold frames till flower buds appear (near Christmas) when they come into the house onto light windowsills. Feed well when flowering (tomato food or Ron Scamps magic slow-release compound). After flowering it’s out into the frames again, the leaves die down, and the pots kick around somewhere fairly dry till next September. That’s it!

Bulbs proliferate – if you have energy you can tip them out when dormant and re-pot zillions of little pips, but if you forget they’ll still put on their brilliant show just when you need some warming colour in your life.

Ro FitzGerald


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