Large White Variety of Erythronium Dens-Canis

Spring 2015
No. 41



Cornucopia, the twice-yearly digest of the best of writing from the HPS local and specialist groups, is available to members for just £3 per annum. To subscribe for 2015, send your cheque, payable to ‘The Hardy Plant Society’ to: HPS Administrator, The Hardy Plant Society, 15 Basepoint Business Centre, Crab Apple Way, Evesham, Worcs WR11 1GP. Existing subscribers renew with their membership to the national Society.


From the Chair

Welcome to 2015. The year has started with some cold, crisp days and will be well underway by the time you read this. This is an exciting year for the HPS Worcestershire Group as we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the formation of our local group and the continuing interest and commitment from its members. A whole day is planned for our September meeting with three guest speakers, plants for sale and a special commemorative edition Newsletter. I would love to hear from you if you are willing to share any memories from the last 20 years so that we can include contributions from as many of you as possible, whether you have been a member for many years or just a few months. The best news is that the day is completely free for our members.

Of course we will have already welcomed Anna Pavord as our special guest for February, an opportunity to invite a wider audience and perhaps attract new members. And now we have reached AGM time again, and I do hope that we will have volunteers to take on the committee roles that are so vital to the running of the group, sharing responsibility and bringing fresh ideas. I would like to thank Judith, Kathryn and Julia who are standing down this year for their support and enthusiasm.

Looking ahead, we have the HPS stand at the Malvern Spring Festival in May, the Plant Sale in June and an exciting programme of meetings, coffee mornings and garden visits, not to mention a holiday to visit gardens in the North Yorkshire area – WOW!

Besides all that activity I hope that we will all have a good gardening year, and take the time to really enjoy our gardening. My resolution for this year is to really get to know my plants better. Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd are just two gardeners who remind us that by understanding where plants grow naturally and therefore the conditions that suit them we can achieve healthy plants in harmonious associations. Although I doubt that I shall be able to curb my acquisitive nature for long!

Jan Vaughan

The Hardy Plant Society - Membership Renewal

Members are reminded that subscriptions fall due on 1st January each year. National membership is necessary for continued membership of a local or specialist group. Single membership £17.00, or Joint membership £19.00, payable by cheque to ‘Hardy Plant Society’ and posted to:-

Hardy Plant Society, 15 Basepoint Business Centre, Crab Apple Way, Evesham, WR11 1GP

Payment can also be made by debit or credit card. Tel 01386 710317

Accessing the Members' area of the National HPS website

This area is now available again. If, like me, you haven't used it much and have forgotten how to access it, you'll find that you're asked for a user name and password. The user name is your membership number (on the address slip of your newsletter and 'Journal') and your email address is your password.

The Gardens Open and Bed and Breakfast Lists are there, as well as formal documentation for the running of the Society.

Judith Doughty

Malvern Spring Festival, 7 - 10 May 2015

HPS Worcestershire Group will once again have a display stand at the Malvern Spring Festival.

To celebrate the formation of HPS Shady & Woodland Specialist Group, the stand will showcase plants suitable for shady and woodland locations.

The show will be used for launching the updated Hardy Geranium booklet.

Time to get growing!

Our fourth annual Plant Sale will take place on Saturday 13th June at Peopleton Village Hall, with the doors opening to the public at 2.00pm and closing at 4.00pm. Once again, we are calling on our members to participate in order to build on our previous success and make this year’s results even bigger and better. You can do this by kindly donating plants as well as helping on the day – and, importantly, don’t forget to spread the word about the sale. The more people we can attract the better.

The Hall will be open and the plant reception at the entrance manned from 12 noon. However, to avoid a last minute rush, all plants should be delivered no later than 1.30pm, and preferably much earlier. Free tea and coffee will be available to members from 12.30pm with facilities in the hall for people to eat a packed lunch. Please wear your HPS lapel badges throughout (available in the foyer as usual) so that we can raise the profile of the Hardy Plant Society to visitors.

In order to build up a reputation as being a plant sale of note, our emphasis must be on offering quality plants. Therefore, it is essential that your donated plants are well presented and weed-free in clean pots as the team responsible for receiving and pricing the plants will have little time to tidy them up. All plants should be clearly labelled either with their common name or botanical name if known. Any additional information such as flower colour, flowering season, height and growing conditions etc. will help to sell them. Any plants left on the table at 4.00pm will be taken to the next meeting for the donated table. However, from an organisational point of view it would be preferable if you could please remove any of your unsold plants if you are able to stay until the close of the sale.

Lists will be circulated at forthcoming meetings inviting members to sign up if they are able to supply plants and/or help on the day. This will assist in planning and ensure that we have sufficient helpers to make the event run smoothly. If you can supply plants but are unable to attend the sale, the plants can be dropped off earlier either at David Pollitt’s in Cowsden or at my house in Worcester.

Finally, besides the obvious fund-raising aspect, and the heightened profile of our group within the local area, which hopefully will attract new members, the plant sale also allows us all to participate in whatever way we can, and to experience a sense of achievement from working together as a friendly and enthusiastic team of plant lovers. So do come along and enjoy the day.

Kathryn Elrick Smith

Garden Spotlight on the website

I wonder how many of us regularly look at the Worcestershire Group’s own website. It has been up and running for a number of years now in the capable hands of Colin Doughty. It has recently been updated and looks really good with masses of archive material including photos of outings and holidays as well as our current programme and the current list of notices each month.

At the end of last year I decided to try a new feature, something just for the website, and I have called it the ‘Garden Spotlight’. I want to use it to share anything that I think might be interesting and include photographs, so it works a bit like a blog. Ideally I would like other members to share the spotlight, so have a look at it and if you have something to say (from a few words or more) then e-mail me.

Please don’t worry - this will not affect our regular newsletters in any way.

Jan Vaughan

Coffee Break Quiz

Some you may know, others perhaps not. Click in a yellow box for the answer.

  1. Explain the meaning of Scoville units.
    The method of calibrating the comparative heat of different varieties of chilli devised by American Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The higher the number the stronger the chilli. For instance tabasco registers 50,000 units while the tongue-numbing Scotch Bonnet weighs in at a searing 300,000.
  2. Who said “a cucumber should be well-sliced and dressed with pepper and vinegar then thrown out as good for nothing”?
    Dr Samuel Johnson as reported in Boswell’s ‘Tour Of The Hebrides’. It seems he wasn’t very keen.
  3. Who is the patron saint of gardeners?
    St Fiacre, an Irish priest who moved to France and created miracle cures at his gardens. The village of Saint-Fiacre grew up round his property in Seine-et-Marne after his death in 670AD.
  4. Which of the seven wonders of the ancient world had horticultural connections?
    The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, part of the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II.
  5. The Latin names of certain plants contain the word vulgaris. What does that tell you about the plant it’s attached to?
    Vulgaris doesn’t mean vulgar but common. A lot of Latin names describe particular characteristics of plants: edulis means edible, fragrans means fragrant, and fragilis is fragile.
  6. What exactly is Miss Willmott’s ghost?
    Biennial sea holly Eryngium giganteum named after Edwardian photographer, gardener and writer Ellen Willmott, who sprinkled seeds in gardens she visited so it sprang up in her wake a year later.
  7. Allotments were traditionally measured in rods, poles or perches. Which is biggest?
    They are all the same. Rods, poles and perches are all roughly 5m or 16.5ft.
  8. Frankincense was one of the three gifts given to baby Jesus but what is it?
    It is the aromatic resin of Boswellia sacra, an African shrub once burnt as incense.

Plants Wanted

I am pleased to report that Judith Davis had a positive response to her request in the last Newsletter for a Dianthus ‘Memories’.

Following on from this, it was agreed at our last committee meeting that we could try having a regular ‘plant request’ piece in the Newsletter for those members searching for specific plants. So as to not affect the success of the monthly donated plant stall, it was suggested that for anyone receiving a plant in this way a voluntary donation of around £2 to the donated plant stall would be appropriate.

Kathryn Elrick Smith

"There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight." - Gertrude Jekyll

Worcestershire HPS 20th Anniversary Celebration

The first meeting of a new local HPS group in Worcestershire took place in November 1995 at Pershore College and your present Committee hopes that you will be able to join us there on Saturday 12th September 2015 for a memorable day. (There is no charge for this event for Worcestershire Group members).

20th Anniversary Day Programme

To be held in The Frank Parkinson Centre, Pershore College, Pershore WR10 3JP

9:00Registration open
Tea and coffee available in the College Refectory
10:30Frank Parkinson Centre lecture theatre open
10:45Welcome and introduction to the day
11:00John Massey - Autumn into Winter
John is a local nurseryman, plant breeder, plant collector and, above all, a passionate gardener. He acquired Ashwood Nurseries as a teenager in 1968, and is now known for his introductions, particularly of hellebores and hepaticas, as well as his own garden which we visited as a group last year.
12:30Lunch served in the Refectory
1:30Return to the lecture theatre for the afternoon session
1:45Fergus Garrett – Succession Planting
Fergus joined Great Dixter as Head Gardener in 1992 and worked closely with Christopher Lloyd during an important time in the garden’s development. Now he combines his gardening role at Dixter with that of Chief Executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust as well as lecturing and writing.
3:00Tea in the Refectory
3:30Alistair Bayford - Parks Matter: the Value of Parks
Alistair is a chartered landscape architect, Park Manager of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from October 2012 until May last year when he became Assistant Director of Strategic Parks Management.

There will be a special commemorative edition Newsletter and displays showcasing the activities of the Worcestershire HPS Group over the last 20 years.

Nurseries will be attending this event and selling plants from registration and through the breaks.

"The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before." - Vita Sackville-West

Feckenham Flower and Garden Festival

This triennial festival to raise funds for our 12th Century Parish Church will be held on the weekend of Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th May 2015, from 12 – 6 pm. Approximately 30 gardens open, flower festival in Church, plant sales, WI teas and barbeque/pig roast. Ample parking. Admission £5 per adult.

Feckenham is situated in Worcestershire on the B4090 between Droitwich and Alcester.

Contact: Catherine Fisher

Data Protection Notice

Under the Data Protection Act you should know that your name, address, email address and telephone number are held as paper records and/or on a computer file for administrative purposes. No personal information will be disclosed to any organisation or person outside the Group without the member's permission, except to compare data with that held by the National Hardy Plant Society Administrator. If you are concerned about the methods used to store your data, please contact the Secretary, Lyn Maile.