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

Many years ago my only experience of epimediums was a stand of E. x versicolor that grew in my Kentish garden.  Every spring I would visit the treasure trove that was Elizabeth Strangman's Washfield Nursery in Hawkhurst.  On one occasion I happened upon E. 'Enchantress'. It was so completely different to any I had met before. Its palest pink flowers had deep purple-pink mouths, and floated on tall, thin stems like moths above the long, pointed, mottled leaves.

Then, over the course of the next 5 or 10 years I began to pick up more species and named hybrids.  I was hooked. I learned about Mikinori Ogisu who has spent a lifetime hunting epimediums and other new plants in the remote valleys of Szechuan and Yunnan. He has been responsible for introducing very many new species of epimedium to western gardeners, and continues to do so.

Over the last decade those new species have been deliberately, and accidentally, hybridised, and with the care and hard work of plant breeders here, in France, Belgium, and the US, very many new named forms are being introduced to our gardens. They will shortly appear at a nursery near you.

Pictured above is E. ‘Kaguyahime’.

Sally Gregson

Sally's book, 'The Plant Lover's Guide to Epimediums', is out now (Timber Press).

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