The Hardy Plant Society exists to ensure the conservation and cultivation of hardy herbaceous plants. It offers its membership of over 7000 keen gardener’s access to seeds, rare plants, winter meetings and summer outings.
Months of planning and organising by the AGM/ALD sub group led by Sylvia Bennett and including Barbara Riley, Brenda Mould and Erica Thomson resulted in a brilliant day at Portland College. One made particularly memorable for Nottingham’s members as it is their 40th anniversary this year and they were the first affiliated group to be formed. Attended by 42 of their own members and 136 other members from across the country from Scotland to the Isle of Wight the event had a friendly buzz from start to finish. The four organisers supported by a team of volunteers from their group sported eye-catching red sashes so visitors could readily identify and ask for help as needed.
This year the society was honoured by the attendance of horticultural royalty, their President, Roy Lancaster OBE CBE and holder of the Victoria Medal of Honour. He gave the vote of thanks to the Wynn Joneses after their talk. Drawing particular attention to their role in the conservation of plants in the face of clearances of natural flora for economic reasons.
Attendees also enjoyed talks given by John Grimshaw director, Castle Howard Arboretum Trust and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones of Crug Farm Plants.
Dr. John Grimshaw, Director of Castle Howard Arboretum Trust gave the first talk entitled “Plants, Gardens and People”. He spoke about the people who have inspired and encouraged him especially his parents and garden writers through the centuries from John Parkinson (17th) to Frank Kingdom Ward and E.A. Bowles with special mention to Edward Lear’s Nonsense Botany (1872). He covered the many superb gardens where he has worked. Also, he highlighted the plants he thought special and amused his listeners with his forthright views including the belief that, when you have bought Geranium ‘Rozanne’, you can consider geraniums done (cue hissing from members of the Hardy Geranium group!).
Bleddyn Wynn-Jones from Crûg Farm plant nursery with his wife Sue gave the second talk on “Collecting hardy plants in the mountains of Northern Vietnam” one of the many countries they have visited to bring back exotic but hardy plants. The scenery was superb and the physical efforts required to get to remote places was graphically illustrated! A very serious point from the talk was the damage to the ecostructure from logging and clearances for crops. All in all it was an inspiring and thought provoking talk.
A most successful and enjoyable day.