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Ranunculaceae Group

About the group

Clematis alpina

The Ranunculaceae Group, one of the newest groups in the Hardy Plant Society, was formed in 2007; its aims are to inform, educate and enthuse about numerous ranunculids, by means of two Newsletters a year and an Annual Meeting. It now has just over 100 members from the UK, Europe and the USA, and has as its patrons renowned plantsmen Bleddyn Wynn-Jones and Dan Hinkley.

The botanical buttercup family Ranunculaceae, perhaps one of the most familiar and well-loved of all the plant families, derives its name from the Latin rana, a frog, because many of its members thrive in damp places. There are about 60 genera and 2500 species, more than enough to retain the interest of the members of the Ranunculaceae Group for many years!

Many species and cultivars of this large family of plants are widely grown in our mixed or herbaceous borders, such as Actaea, Aconitum, Adonis, Aquilegia, Anemone, Beesia, Caltha, Clematis, Delphinium, Eranthis, Hepatica, Helleborus, Pulsatilla, Ranunculus, Thalictrum and Trollius. The family also includes other less well known members such as Asteropyrum, Isopyrum, Oxygraphis, Semiaquilegia, and Paraquilegia, and there is even a woody shrub, Xanthorhiza, from North America, which is usually placed within the buttercup family.



This is produced twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, and includes members' articles and notes on a wide variety of ranunculaceae species and cultivars. It is hoped that as many members as possible will contribute so that it can become a forum for discussion on topics of interest, such as tips on cultivation, members' favourite ranunculids, in-depth accounts of a particular genus and plant hunting in remote places.

Annual Meeting and Study Day

Our annual get-together features guest speakers, garden visits and of course the chance to buy plants from specialist nurseries and a members' sales table. We plan to visit a different venue each year so that as many members as possible have a chance to attend and to vary the date so that different groups of plants can form the main focus.

Saturday 3 June 2017
AGM, Lecture at North Warnborough Village Hall, 
Prior’s Corner, Dunley’s Hill, North Warnborough, Hampshire RG29 1EA
Garden visit to West Green House Gardens,
Thackhams Lane, nr Hartley Wintney, Hook Hampshire RG27 8JB

Following our very successful meeting this year at Hesketh Bank, nr Preston, we decided for 2017 to come southwards to Hampshire for our AGM, Lecture and Garden visit.  

Following the AGM, we are delighted that Jennifer Harmer, HPS Historian and Sue Ward past trustee and RHS Chelsea Gold Medal exhibitor have agreed to present a talk on ‘The World of Ranunculaceae – its plants and people’. In the afternoon we will visit Marylyn Abbott’s inspirational gardens at West Green House in Hook, which will be about 10 minute drive from the hall.  On arrival at West Green House we will be given an introductory talk on the gardens, you will then be free to stroll round the gardens and to finish the day a delicious cream tea will be included.
Cost for the day:
HPS Ranunculaceae Group Members    £12.00
A booking form is available here 

Non- Ranunculaceae Group Members    £25.00

Why not consider joining our group? It will only cost you £16.00 which includes 1 year membership at £4.00 or a 3 year membership at £12.00 plus the event £24.00
An application forms are available under 'Further Information' below

Annual Meeting and Study Day 2016 Report

Clematis Heaven!
The Hardy Plant Society, Ranunculaceae Group, Annual Lecture Day 2016 was held on Saturday, 30th July 2016 at Hesketh Bank near Preston, Lancashire and over 90 delegates were treated to a lecture by world renowned clematis expert Dr Mary Toomey on the subject of ’Small-Flowered Clematis for all Seasons’.

The day started with delegates having time to meet up with friends and acquaintances from all over the UK, chatting over tea and coffee, purchasing raffle tickets for the fabulous prizes of Ranunculaceae plants, including many clematis and purchasing plants that members had kindly donated.  We were also delighted that Jacqueline Iddon of Jacqueline Iddon Hardy Plants, Bretherton, Lancashire had brought along some really fantastic plants to sell and John McGhee had a stall selling plant supports.

Dr Mary Toomey’s lecture about the Clematis genus was informative and very interesting describing the difference between herbaceous and subshrubs, of which there are 60 species and approximately 200 cultivars.  As the talk was on small flowering varieties Dr Mary told us about the exquisite and free flowering species and  hybrids belonging to the C. viticella, C. tangutica, C. alpina, C. macropetala and C. texensis groups.  She also described the pruning groups, giving examples of which Clematis come within which group, eg those that flower on old wood, those that flower on new wood and there were many slides to illustrate the talk.  We were told at the end of the lecture that it takes 3 years for Clematis to settle down and reward us - one year a sleeping, one year a creeping and one year a leaping, so we must be patient!

After lunch delegates moved on to Richard Hodson’s Hawthornes Nursery, which is a specialist working nursery and Richard and his wife Irene, found themselves very busy with so many people to speak to and lots of questions to answer regarding the many clematis for sale and also those growing magnificently in their beautiful garden.  

In no time at all it was time to return to the lecture hall for tea and a piece of delicious home-made cake which was provided and served by Audrey Dawson and her HPS North West Group team.

Further Information


If you are already a member of the HPS and these snippets of information give you food for thought and you would like to join our enthusiastic group, please click on the following link if you wish to pay by cheque application form (pdf) or if you would prefer to pay by Electronic Transfer please click on the following link for details.  Annual subscription rates run from 1st January to 31st December each year.

UK members:   

£4   Single or £6 Joint (two members at one address) for one year.

 £12 Single or £18 Joint for 3 years.

Overseas members:      

£5 Single or £7 Joint per annum.

To join the group please complete the downloadable application forms above. There is a choice of payment by cheque, or electronic transfer.


Membership Secretary:
 Vivienne McGhee
Tel: 01386830789

For other information regarding the HPS Ranunculaceae Group please contact the Secretary:
     Sue Hough
     Telephone: 01420 562039

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