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Seeds are ripening. Make sure to send them in before the deadline at the end of October. 


About the Group

The group meets at West Monkton Village Hall, Monkton Heathfield, Nr Taunton, TA2 8NE  (map)
Jane Hunt
t. 01934 732441
For full information visit the Somerset Group Website

2017 Programme

Saturday 14th January, 2017 – 11.00am
‘Small Bulbs’
Alan Street 

As well as being the Head Nurseryman at Avon Bulbs, Alan Street is the creative mind behind the company’s gold medal-winning displays at Chelsea.  An incurable galathophile, he will be expanding our knowledge of a range of small bulbs; which varieties to choose to achieve a continuity of display throughout spring in our own gardens, and how to care for them.

Plants and bulbs for sale

Saturday 11th February, 2017  – 11.00am
Heather Godard-Key

Fibrex Nursery is well known for its pelargoniums, but it also boasts possibly the most extensive commercial collection of hardy ferns in the UK.  Heather Godard-Key, co-owner of Fibrex, will be giving us a talk on this ancient family of foliage plants which are so invaluable for shady spots in our gardens.

Plants for sale

Saturday 11th March, 2017 – 11.00am
Derek Spicer

Derek is the Chairman of the Conifer Society and owns Kilworth Conifers in Leicestershire, a wholesale nursery with the largest selection of conifers in the UK.  He also co-wrote the two volumes of the RHS Encyclopaedia of Conifers, the definitive guide on the subject.  If you find the word ‘conifer’ conjures the squat dwarf forms which populated rockeries in the 1970s, come along and be converted – there is a conifer for every garden and Derek will be persuading us all to go evergreen with style.

Plants for sale

Saturday 25th March, 2017 10.00am – 4.00pm
Somerset HPS Early Spring Plant Fair
East Lambrook Manor Gardens, Silver Street, East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5HH

Sixteen of the South West’s top nurseries will be attending the fair, and the Margery Fish Plant Nursery will be open.  
Light lunches and refreshments available.

Admission to the Plant Fair and the famous cottage gardens:  £4. ( RHS & HPS members: £3.50)

Saturday 8th April, 2017 – 11.00am 
‘It’s Not Time for Bed Yet!’
Helen Picton

Helen is the third generation of her family to be involved in running Old Court Nurseries and The Picton Garden in Malvern, Worcestershire, which houses the Plant Heritage National Collection of autumn flowering asters, with over 400 varieties.  Helen’s lecture will be all about rethinking autumn in the English garden, extending colour in our borders using a range of late season perennials and shrubs including, of course, asters.

Plants for sale

Tuesday 18th April, 2017
Self-drive visit to Haldon Grange, Dunchideock, Devon, EX6 7YE

Haldon Grange is a well-established, family-run 12-acre garden containing what has been described as the finest display of azaleas and rhododendrons in the South West.  It is particularly stunning in spring when they are in full bloom, along with exquisite camellias and magnolias. There is a small lake and also ponds with river and water cascades. In 2011 a 5-acre arboretum was planted with a wide range of unusual trees and shrubs.

Tea and cake available to purchase but bring your own packed lunch.
Plants for sale.

Saturday 22nd April, 2017 10am – 12.30pm 
Group Plant Sale, West Monkton Village Hall, Admission:  £1

Members can contribute to the plant sale in two ways:
(a) Occupy a table in your own right.
If you would like your own table, please contact Roy Stickland.  The charge will be £5, payable on the day.  
This will be waived if you commit to donate all your takings to charity.  There are only 16 tables available and they are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

(b) Grow plants to donate to the Group table.  
If you have plants to donate to the Group table, just bring them along on the day (please note this is not a 50:50 sale).

Wednesday 17th May, 2017
Self-drive visit to Burrow Farm Gardens, Dalwood, Axminster EX13 7ET

In view of Mary Benger’s forthcoming talk in October, this visit to Burrow Farm Gardens is an opportunity to see her garden firsthand. This is a true plantswoman’s garden, with sweeping lawns between island beds of unusual shrubs, rhododendrons and herbaceous plants.  Outstanding views over the Devon countryside blend seamlessly with the garden.  A rill flows quietly down the centre of the garden, and in a Roman clay pit a woodland garden incorporates ponds and a bog garden, combining primulas, iris and other moisture lovers with the many wild flowers which flourish there.

Light lunches and refreshments available in the tea shop.
Plants for sale.

Sunday 18th June, 2017
Coach Trip to Cerne Abbas Open Gardens, Dorset

There is something to  suit everyone in this selection of around 30 gardens opening over the weekend for charity.  Highlights include the garden at Cerne River Cottage, designed and planted by Chelsea gold medallist Nick Williams-Ellis.  His designs characterise many of the Cerne Abbas gardens.  This natural garden is bordered by trees and shrubs with a beautiful and colourful bog garden running along the south side. Don’t miss the lilies, persicaria, filipendula and the statuesque Gunnera manicata alongside the river. Two white bridges link the separate parts of the garden providing a Monet feel to the overall.

Lunchtime meals may be obtained in the local pubs or teashop. The Squibb Garden next to the church is open all day and is a good place to picnic.
Plant stalls in the village square.

Tuesday 4th July, 2017
Coach Trip to Longstock Park Water Gardens, Hampshire

Part of the Leckford Estate, purchased by the retailer John Lewis in 1929, the Longstock Park Water Gardens covers around seven acres. Over the years it has become one of the finest water gardens in Britain, home to 40 varieties of waterlily, over 100 different species of trees and a wealth of native wildlife.  Visit Longstock Park Nursery, with its large collection of unusual wall plants, magnificent herbaceous border and 100-yard arch entwined with roses and clematis.

Lunches available at the Leckford Farm Shop Cafe, or bring a picnic.
Plants for sale.

Wednesday 26th July, 2017
Coach Trip to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hampshire

Following Wolfgang Bopp’s talk last November, this is your chance to see the Hillier Arboretum in all its glory.  Established in 1953 by the distinguished plantsman Sir Harold Hillier, the gardens currently hold one of the world’s most important plant collections, incorporating over 42,000 plants from temperate regions around the world, set within 180 acres.  The Centenary Border, one of the longest in Europe, is a summer highlight and is not to be missed.

Lunches and cream teas available at the restaurant.
Plants for sale.

Sunday 13th August, 2017
Group Plant Swap and Lunch

To be held at Creech St Michael.  Further details in the June 2017 Newsletter.

Saturday 16th September – 11.00am 
‘Less Common Trees and Shrubs for the Smaller Garden’
Kevin Hughes 

Kevin Hughes Plants is based at Heale Gardens, near Salisbury, where he grows a superb choice of good quality hardy trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, many of them not widely available elsewhere.   With a vast horticultural knowledge yet an unassuming manner, he is a popular and absorbing speaker.  In this talk, he will be showing us some of the more unusual plants we can enjoy in our own gardens.  Bring a notebook!

Plants for sale

Saturday 21st October, 2017 11.00am
‘The Development of Burrow Farm Gardens’
Mary Benger

Mary Benger moved to Burrow Farm, near Axminster, almost 60 years ago and has since transformed the accompanying ten acres of fields into the stunning garden it is today.  Encompassing a variety of different garden styles, Mary’s creation is a feast for the eyes, both within the garden itself and in the views which surround it.  In this talk, Mary will be bringing the development of the gardens to life and guiding us around some of the highlights.

Plants for sale

Saturday 18th November, 2017  10am for 10.30 AGM. Lecture starts 11.15am

AGM, followed by
‘Moving Gardens?  Only the Best Come Too’
Helen Dillon

Over the course of 44 years, Helen Dillon and her husband Val created an astonishing garden at 45 Sandford Crescent, Dublin.  Robin Lane-Fox of the Financial Times described it as ‘the best walled town garden one can hope to see’.  Having made the decision to downsize, the Dillons held their final garden opening at the end of September 2016 and say they are looking forward to the challenge of a new plot.  Don’t miss out on this world-renowned plantswoman’s visit to our Group – Helen is a mine of information and a lively speaker with years of experience.

2016 Programme

Saturday 16th January, 2016 10:00am for 10:30am.
“The Hardy Plant Society Conservation Scheme” Helen Mount and
“The man who planted trees” Stuart Senior

Saturday 13th February, 2016 10:30am for 11:00am
'Roses - their history and cultivation'
John Wood
head gardener at NT Hinton Ampner

Saturday 12th March, 2016 10:30am for 11:00am
'On the Fringe of Botany'
Julian Sutton
Desirable Plants

Saturday 26th March, 2016 10:00am to 4:00pm
HPS Somerset Early Spring Plant Fair
(Admission £4: £3.50 to HPS & RHS members)
East Lambrook Manor Gardens

Saturday 9th April, 2016 10:30am for 11:00am
'From Pinks to Peles'
Emma Allwood
Allwoods Nursery

Wednesday 20th April, 2016 
Coach Trip to Aberglasney Gardens and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales Carmarthenshire

Saturday 23rd April, 2016 10:00am to 12:30pm
Group Plant Sale
West Monkton Village Hall, Monkton Heathfield, nr Taunton, TA2 8NE
Admission £1. There is ample free parking on site and there will be refreshments and a horticultural book stall.

Tuesday 7th June, 2016 
Coach Trip to Cranborne Manor Gardens Dorset

Friday 1st July, 2016 6:30pm for 7:00pm
'Plants with Impressive Pedigrees'
Mary Toomey
Mary is very well known as an expert plants-woman with a commanding presence and is always thought provoking. West Monkton Village Hall near Taunton TA2 8NE (map) at 6.30 for 7.00pm, tickets £3.00 for members, £5.00 for visitors. The talk will be followed by a finger buffet and glass of wine and the chance to chat with Mary. All welcome.

Tuesday 5th July, 2016 
Coach trip to Kiftsgate Court Gardens and Fibrex Nurseries Gloucestershire

Sunday 7th August, 2016 
Plant Swap & Lunch
Creech St. Michael

Wednesday 7th September, 2016 
Self-drive visit to Mapperton House and Gardens Dorset

Saturday 17th September, 2016 10.00am 50/50 Plant Sale followed at 11:00am
'Salvias; their History and Cultivation'
Janet Buist
Pennycross Plants

Saturday 24th September, 2016 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Plant Fair at Forde Abbey
The entry price of £5.00 will include entry to the gardens. A similar collaboration in the early spring with East Lambrook Manor is now in its 5th year and we hope that the new arrangement with Forde Abbey will similarly become a sought-after annual fixture.
Many of our favourite nurseries will be there along with some exciting new ones.

Tuesday 18th October, 2016 
Self-drive visit to Minterne House and Gardens Dorset

Saturday 22nd October, 2016 10:30am for 11:00am
'Crocosmias and Eucomis'
Mark Wash
Trecanna Nursery

Saturday 19th November, 2016 10:00am for 10:30am Annual General Meeting followed at ~ 11:15 am by
'The History of Hilliers Arboretum and the Centenary Border'
Wolfgang Bopp

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