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The Hardy Plant Society - Essex Group

PUBLISHED: 15:55 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 February 2013

HPS Essex Group’s display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

HPS Essex Group’s display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

While it might be tough to imagine enjoying life in the garden during winter, the Hardy Plant Society helps to add year-round colour. Philippa Pearson reports<br/><br/><br/><br/>Images from: The Hardy Plant Society Photo Library

High society


While it might be tough to imagine enjoying life in the garden during winter, the Hardy Plant Society helps to add year-round colour. Philippa Pearson reports


Images from: The Hardy Plant Society Photo Library


Perennials play a key part in any well thought out planting scheme. Their colourful, exotic, adaptable and infinitely interesting good looks add height, texture and spadefuls of charm throughout the year, whatever the soil or light conditions.
I first became hooked on perennials when I worked with the late Alan Bloom VMH whose garden at Bressingham in Norfolk is a homage to these plants. An eminent nurseryman, Alan founded the Hardy Plant Society more than 50 years ago with other keen plantsmen to extol the delights of perennials to gardeners. As a member of this friendly society you get the chance to find out more about perennials, participate in national events and an opportunity to enjoy seeds donated by members in the annual seed distribution scheme.
There are now more than 40 local groups of the Hardy Plant Society plus seven specialist groups which meet regularly and produce their own newsletters. These groups focus on plant families such as paeonies, hardy geraniums, pulmonarias and variegated plants.
The Essex group of the Hardy Plant Society meet regularly at three venues across the county: Wickham Bishops Village Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall in West Bergholt and Ramsden Bellhouse Village Hall. Meetings take place monthly, alternate Saturdays and Sundays, from September to April and venues are rotated so that all members have the opportunity to get to at least one meeting. At the meetings, talks from plant nurseries and fascinating plantspeople are all followed by tea, homemade cakes and the all-important plant table. Here, members donate plants from cuttings and divisions and you have a wonderful opportunity to pick up something unusual or different for your garden, tried and tested by other members.
Its always fun to see what other group members do in their gardens, says Sally Adams, group secretary for the Essex Hardy Plant Society. I always take away some good ideas.
Throughout the year the groups meetings focus on a range of topics and there is also a sociable element where friendships are formed. Members tend to have gardening skills of all levels, so even if you are new to gardening you wont be on your own but if you are an accomplished gardener you are sure to find something new to interest you. Everyone is made most welcome.


'Members donate plants from cuttings and divisions and you have
a wonderful opportunity to pick up something unusual'



During the summer months, meetings transform into outings and the chance to get out and about to look at members gardens in the county or gardens further afield. Each year a summer holiday is organised, which consists of four days visiting a selection of British gardens, overnight accommodation and some fabulous meals out too. The 2010 holiday is being arranged around the Tatton Park Flower Show in July, including visits to six gardens and a city tour of Chester. In addition to the holiday there are usually two or three day trips out to places like Great Dixter and Merriments Gardens or Marks Hall. Another highlight of the Essex Hardy Plant Society calendar are the Meet the Gardener events, usually a coffee morning at a members own garden.
As well as a plant table at the indoor meetings, the group also organise larger plant sales twice a year, in April and September, where they have a stand at the Plant Heritage Plant Sale at RHS Hyde Hall.
It just goes to show that gardening can add some extra colour to your life, whatever time of year it is.


RHS Silver-Gilt medal winner Philippa Pearson
is a garden designer and professional horticulturalist.
Call 01767 651253 or read more from Philippa at essex.greatbritishlife.co.uk


The Hardy Plant Society Essex Group


Meetings take place monthly from September to April at
one of the following venues:


Wickham Bishops Village Hall
Church Road
Wickham Bishops
Witham
CM8 3JZ


The Orpen Memorial Hall
Lexton Road
West Bergholt
Colchester
CO6 3BW


Ramsden Bellhouse Village Hall
Church Road
Ramsden Bellhouse
Billericay
CM11 1RH


Visitors are welcome, although a 2 admission fee applies. Membership of the Essex group is 3 for one person or 4 for joint membership. Contact the membership secretary at essex@hardy-plant.org.uk. You do need to be a member of the national society before you can join the local group. National membership costs 17 for one person or 19 for joint membership.


For details about national membership contact:
Mrs Pam Adams
The Hardy Plant Society
Little Orchard
Great Comberton
Pershore
WR10 3DP
01386710317
admin@hardy-plant.org.uk


Forthcoming talks


Sunday, January 17
Tim Carter Plants of Seasonal Interest
Wickham Bishops Village Hall


Saturday, February 20
Richard Ford Hostas
Ramsden Bellhouse


Sunday, March 21
Andrew Ward Marvellous Mints & Perfect Poppies
Wickham Bishops Village Hall


Saturday, April 17
Kathy Brown Creative Container Gardening
Plus members plant sale
The Orpen Memorial Hall


All meetings start at 2pm

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