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Western Counties

About the Group

The group meets at Norton Village Hall, Norton, Gloucester, GL2 9LJ (map)

Catherine Part
01179 373329

2019 Programme

All meetings commence at 10-00 am unless otherwise stated

January 5th, 2019
'Buy it, plant it, kill it!'   
Mandy Potter
January 26th, 2019 
'Rosemary Verey (1918-2001), her contribution and legacy to C20 gardening'
Margie Hoffnung
February 23rd, 2019  
'Erythroniums and fritillaria'
Jim Almond
March 30th, 2019   
Martin Page 
Plants for sale
April 27th, 2019    
'Succession planting in the mixed border'
Fergus Garrett
Plants for sale
NB This event is open to HPS Western Counties Group members only
May 25th, 2019  
Jack Willgoss
Plants for sale
Saturday June 22nd, 2019 2.30pm
“Lyndalls”, Sollers Hope, Herefordshire HR1 4RL
An opportunity to visit the private garden of 
Stuart Donachie, 
Very rarely open to the public.  £8 incl.refreshments. Limited to 40 places. 
Book/pay David Hopkinson at April/May meetings.
June 29th, 2019 
Prompt Finish leave by 3.00pm
Plant discussion at 10.30am 
'Plant hunting in Madeira & the Azores'
Razon Chisu
Plants for sale
Friday July 5th 2019  2.30pm
Brockhampton Cottage, Brockhampton, Herefordshire, HR1 4TQ.
A private group visit and guided tour of the private 5 acre hilltop garden and meadow owned by Peter Clay and designed with Tom Stuart- Smith. 
£10 incl.  refreshments.  Limited to 40 places.
Book/pay David Hopkinson at April/May meetings.
July 27th, 2019 
'Roscoea the hardy ginger we should all grow'
Samantha Hopes

Plants for sale
August 31st, 2019 
'Grasses and ferns'
Robin Pearce
September 28th, 2019
'First Rate Perennials'
Val Bourne

(Note change of speaker)
October 26th, 2019
'For us not them'
Julian Sutton
November 30th   
'In sight of Snowdonia: at home with alpines'
Tim Lever

2018 Programme

January 27th, 2018
'Things that turn me on' Confessions of a plant freak
Nick Macer 
February 24th, 2018
'Experiment in New Naturalism'
Keith Wiley
March 31st, 2018
'How to be a 21st Century Gardener'
Dr Timothy Walker
April 28th, 2018
'Holding Multiple Plant Collections'
Barry Clarke

Plants for sale
May 26th, 2018
'Buttercups in our Garden'
Howard Drury

Plants for sale
June 30th, 2018
'The Beauty of Leaves'
Howard Wills
Thursday July 5th 2018 
Meadow Farm at 11am followed by Morton Hall at  2pm 
Group booking for 30 adults at £8.00 per head 
See David Hopkinson at HPS meeting in April, May, June to book.
July 28th, 2018
'Introduction to Exotic Gardening'
Paul Spracklin
August 25th, 2018
'I just can’t help myself, diary of a national collection holder'
Brian Ellis 

Plants for sale
Thursday August 30th, 2018 
10.30am to the private gardens of Lord and Lady Dulverton at Batsford House. 
Group booking for 30 adults at £5.00 per head
See David Hopkinson at HPS meeting in April, May, June to book
September 29th, 2018
'Bringing the past to life: making the Dower House garden at  Morville Hall, Shropshire'
Katherine Swift
October   27th, 2018
'Barnhaven’s Blooming Legacy'
Jodie Mitchell 

Seeds for sale
November 24th, 2018
Members Day
Joe Sharman 

Plants for sale

2017 Programme

Some members choose to come for the morning discussion, others for the afternoon talk, some for the whole day.
The morning discussion is from 11:00am - 12:30pm and the afternoon lecture commences at 2:00pm

28th January, 2017 
‘Meet the Galanthophiles’
Jennifer Harmer

Jennifer is a practical gardener and garden historian, with a particular interest in the history of plants and the people who breed them. She is the Hardy Plant Society’s Historian, co-author of the HPS booklet on Phlox and Consultant Editor for Hillier’s Plants, People and Places. She fell in love with Snowdrops many years ago. Her Lecture is based on research for a book she is co-writing with Jane Kilpatrick on Galanthophiles.
25th February, 2017  
‘Evolution of Plants’
Nick Wray

Nick is a professional horticulturist and educator who worked at the Bristol University Botanic Garden for 30 years. He has studied plants in the wild in South Africa and in 1998 he was appointed South African plant consultant to the Eden Project. He is a former member of the RHS Tender and Ornamental Plant Committee and is now a member of the RHS Herb Advisory Group. Nick has judged at many RHS shows including Chelsea.
25th March, 2017  
‘English Roses, Past, Present and Future’
Michael Marriott

Technical Manager and Rosarian at David Austin Roses, Michael has 30 years’ experience of rose growing and a life time of general gardening. He is an authority on all matters relating to roses around the world especially David Austin English Roses. This includes all aspects of rose growing and rose garden design. Michael is a lecturer and writer on various aspects of roses.
29th April, 2017 
‘Great Gardens of the World’
Sally Gregson
Sally is the owner of the nursery ‘Mill Cottage Plants’, specializing in plants for shade and damp. She is an author, one of her books being The Plant Lover’s Guide to Epimediums. Sally is also a lecturer and lectures often at West Dean College, Chichester.
27th May, 2017 
‘Making the Most of a Small Garden’
Mary Payne

Mary is a horticultural consultant, broadcaster and writer, specializing in planting schemes.
24th June, 2017  
‘Duck Pools – A Garden Divided’
Adam Greathead

Adam is Head Gardener in John Massey’s private garden at Ashwood Nurseries, Kingswinford. He got the gardening bug and started selling hanging baskets to the teachers at his school. He has several allotments, the first of which he acquired at the age of 11. A writer and a judge, Adam now focuses his attention on alpines and Hepatica.
29th July, 2017  
‘Summer Into Autumn’
John Massey VMH MBE

John acquired Ashwood Nurseries in 1968 going straight from school into horticulture with no formal training. His love of plants was inherited from his grandfather. The nursery has flourished and has won many RHS awards and medals including the awards for the stunning Hepatica display at Chelsea 2016. John has been awarded the VMH medal for outstanding services to horticulture and the MBE for his charity work
26th August, 2017 
Julie Ritchie 

Julie runs Hoo House Nursery in Tewkesbury with her husband Robin and is a fellow HPS member and regular attendee of our meetings, so needs no introduction.
30th September, 2017 
‘New and Unusual Bulbs and How They Get Into Your Garden’
John Amand 

John is a leading authority on bulbs. He is the son of Jacques Amand of the world renowned bulb company. It is a major supplier of well-established bulb favourites, as well as rare and unusual bulbs.
28th October, 2017 
‘Winter into Spring’
Christine Skelmersdale VMH 

Christine is the Managing Director of Broadleigh Gardens. As well as a garden it is a nursery specialising in smaller bulbs and woodland plants. She lectures in Britain and abroad. Christine writes gardening articles for newspapers and magazines and has also published books on bulbs.
25th November, 2017
‘Can I Pick It?’
Elaine Horton 

Elaine is a long- time member of our group and was the owner of Tinpenny Nursery. Elaine certainly rises to the challenge of extreme gardening, at first high on the Cotswolds, then near Tewkesbury and latterly in wet West Wales.

2016 Programme

30th January, 2016 
“The Patch - A Garden for All Seasons”
Jim Almond
Jim is an experienced speaker and grower specialising in alpine plants and bulbs, and holds a National Collection of Juno Iris. He is a keen photographer and horticultural writer with articles in ‘The Plantsman’ over recent years. Jim was a good friend of Margaret Owen and regularly visited ‘The Patch’ over the past 10 years to savour her plant collections, taking a seasonal look at the plants she cherished the most. Starting with a few examples from her famous snowdrop collection, closely followed by Narcissus and other interesting early bulbs. Plant Heritage Collections of Camassia, Dictamnus, Veratrum and Berine ensure there is a riot of interest throughout the year. Add in the established trees and shrubs, some amazing lilies and herbaceous borders simply brimming with plants for the connoisseur. There may be plants for sale.

27th February, 2016 
“The Subtle Art and Exact Science of Pruning”
Timothy Walker
Tim joined the staff of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden in 1980 as a trainee gardener and in 1988 he became the Horti Praefectus (Director), a post that he held for 26 years until July 2014. He is now lecturer in Plant Sciences at Somerville College, Oxford. His particular interests are Euphorbia, plant conservation and explaining why plants are fascinating and important.

26th March, 2016 
“Irises for the Natural Garden”
Alun and Jill Whitehead
Alun and Jill are holders of one of the National Collections of Siberian Iris with over 160 cultivars. Their garden, Aulden Farm, has developed in a natural style with abundant wildlife, and the Beardless Iris suit this style and their Herefordshire clay. The talk will cover various Beardless Iris, gardens, and the people behind the plants. Alun is a qualified Iris judge and has served on the Joint Iris Committee with the RHS. Aulden Farm is open by appointment and visitors are welcome to see the Collection. They also open for the National Garden Schemes and are Western Counties Group members.

30th April, 2016 
“Scents and Desirability”
Andrew Ward
Andrew started his nursery and gardens 21 years ago in a frost pocket and on heavy clay. He gives approximately 50 lectures a year nationwide and has given the HPS National AGM lecture on several occasions. This talk tries to unravel the mysteries of why plants produce both scented flowers and aromatic foliage. It looks into the methods employed by plants to attract pollinating insects and animals and then gives illustrations of why we should use scent to its full in our garden and finishes with some beautiful plants which should be grown for scent as well as their aesthetic qualities. There will be plants for sale or you can pre-order from the nursery website

Sunday 15th May, 2016 
Garden Visit
We are invited to visit two members’ gardens on the 15th May, both quite close to each other. Brenda Jones’ garden and Keith and Lorna Ferguson’s. The gardens will open from 11:0am to 5:00pm and teas will be served from 3:00pm. The entrance fee (including tea) is £5 per person, payable at the second garden. Please contact the group for further details.

28th May, 2016 
“A Plantsman’s Guide to the American West”
Julian Sutton
Julian Sutton is a lifelong plantsman. Having started out as an academic botanist, he and his wife Sarah caught the cultivated plant bug seriously while working at Ness Gardens in the 1980s. They ran a mail order nursery, Desirable Plants, in Devon for over 20 years. In order to garden and propagate better, and to write more, they have shrunk to a domestic scale, but still sell a wide range of choice and interesting bulb, woodlanders, ferns etc through their twice yearly Desirable Plants email lists. There will be plants for sale.

26th June, 2016 
“Propagation - Part Two”
Joe Sharman
Joe has an HND in Commercial Horticulture and is a specialist nurseryman (Monksilver Nursery and writer of articles in local and national magazines. Joe continues with a hands-on demonstration of propagation techniques with audience participation expected. Please bring plant material. He welcomes questions on specific plants or problems you may be having, stating it will be more fun. Joe produced the original Plant Heritage Pink Sheet of endangered species. There will be plants for sale.

30th July, 2016 
“Flowers of the Pontics”
Bob Wallis
Bob and his wife Rannveig are both now retired and are devoting more of their time to growing, showing and learning more about their large collection of bulbous plants which are housed in their greenhouse in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. They are frequent travellers and most of their holidays over the last three decades have been focused on plants in the wild. They lead plant hunting trips for AGS expeditions to Turkey and were recipients of the AGS Lyttel Trophy for "an outstanding contribution to the world of alpine plants" in 2007.

27th August, 2016 
“Plantsman’s Choice”
Bob Brown
Bob needs no introduction as he attends almost every meeting to talk about the contents of our wonderful plant material display table which encourages a lively debate between members during the morning. For those members new to our group be prepared for a very interesting afternoon.
We also have the opportunity to visit Adrian and Sheila James' garden. Further details available from the group

24th September, 2016 
“Stumperies, Ferns and Shady Friends”
Andrew Tolman
Andrew entered horticulture, first with the Parks Department studying City and Guilds, then working on a golf course before returning to work with plants at Estcourt Estate nr Tetbury. His next position was as a Senior Gardener for HRH Prince Charles at Highgrove where he led a team of three gardeners. He left in June 2013 to set up his own gardening business - Andrew Tolman Professional Garden Services,

29th October, 2016 
“Winter in Bloom”
Samantha Hope
Samantha initially trained as a Field Geologist, but re-trained at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses whilst doing the RHS Level 2 qualification at Pershore College. She went on to work/study at the RHS Garden Wisley for a year with their Rock and Alpine team, with additional training at Kew and Great Dixter. Since then she has spent the last four years as part of the team at Ashwood Nurseries, growing Hepatica and Roscoea in particular, propagating alpines, helping with the events and giving tours of the Hellebore collection. Her talk will be a journey through the Hellebore season, looking at botany, cultivation and the varied breeding works currently undertaken at Ashwood Nurseries. She will show the current range of hybrids and cultivars available, varying in colour, form and markings, along with a range of suggested planting partners. There will be plants for sale.

26th November, 2016 
Members' Day

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