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 13 February, 10:30am for 11:00am  at West Monkton Village Hall.

John Wood, head gardener at NT Hinton Ampner, will be talking about:
"Roses - their history and cultivation".


And here's another important date for your diary:


The  following nurseries will be attending: Avon Bulbs, Blooming Hill Plants, Desert to Jungle, Dorest Perennials, Elworthy Cottage Plants, Hilltop Garden & Nursery, Ian & Teresa Moss, In Clover, Long Acre Plants, Mill Cottage Plants, Millwood Plants, Moor Plants, Pennard Plants, Phoenix Plants, Picket Lane Nursery, Roseland House Nursery and Wild Thyme Plants, and the Margery Fish Plant Nursery will be open.

Plant of the Month

Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM

Snowdrops, aconites, the early crocuses and flowering shrubs bring welcome colour into the February garden, each appearance an excitement.  Weather can be cruel though, and often wind or frost (or enemies like greedy pheasants) can spoil those treasures dishearteningly, so for my Plant of the Month I am again choosing one which is just GREEN, but wonderfully indestructible !

This excellent shrub (selected at Kew, hence the name) is probably a hybrid between the little-known S. anquetilia and the familiar S. japonica.  It was awarded an AGM in 2002 and is increasingly popular.  Staying fairly low, forming a satisfying domed mound, it can be very useful in front of shrubbery or by a path.  The dense evergreen foliage is glossy and for most of the winter the bush is covered with greenish conical bud sprays which open in March or April to fragrant greenish-cream flowers.  It’s male, so no berries, but it is the most reliably neat and pleasingly stylish small evergreen I have ever grown.  Cut sprays are great for winter bunches.

It is shade-tolerant and unfussy. Here it grows on the north side of a wall, pretty well in the roots of a large Prunus.  In fact the shade probably suits it, because most Skimmias can show unsightly yellow leaf scorch in full sunlight.  It’s close to a path, so when flowering the scent is easy to appreciate.  It’s fully hardy, and I’ve seen it looking happy in a variety of soils.  It is now widely available.

Ro FitzGerald

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