Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’


Hello everyone
Just to let you know that our Committee met today (11 Sept 20) to finalise details for tomorrow and to consider the latest news in Wales, including the First Minister’s announcement at lunchtime. Our meeting tomorrow will be going ahead as planned, with all the social distancing and other measures we have put in place to help keep you safe – see your Reservation note. That note said that face coverings are not required although you may choose to wear one. This is still the case although if you have one, we suggest you bring it with you so you can decide once you’re with us.
You will probably be wondering whether and how the announced changes may affect our future talks.  As you will have heard, face coverings are to be compulsory in indoor public spaces from Monday. There have also been changes around the number of people who will be allowed to meet indoors. Below the headlines though, the rules around our use of the Hall are set out in specific regulations relating to the opening of community centres and the Hall Manager’s policy is based on those.  
As is usual, detailed changes to the relevant regulations follow a day or two after a public announcement is made. Once those are available, the Hall manager and our Committee will  be able to reach a decision. If the Wales regulations and guidance for community centres remain closely aligned with England’s (as has been the case so far) then it is worth highlighting that English regulations make clear “Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6.” This position is similar for pubs, restaurants, gyms and the like, and for example, venues have remained open in Caerphilly during the local lockdown. 
Whichever decision is taken about future meetings over the next few days or weeks, it is worth remembering tomorrow that the focus seems to be on preventing larger groups of family and close friends socialising indoors. While our meetings do have a social dimension, primarily they are about us all listening to and learning from a speaker. Some of those attending don’t know each other and, perhaps unfortunately, it’s rare for a group of six or more family/friends to arrive together or to gather to chat together. Please bear this concern in mind though and avoid congregating tomorrow in such a way.
We know that in attending this talk you will have made your own judgement about risk in the light of your own particular circumstances. For obvious reasons, please do not come along if you feel unwell or have reason to think you have been in contact with someone else who does. 
In summary then, we are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow as planned. We can’t, at this stage, say whether the talk in October will go ahead but we hope so and will let you know nearer that time. 

Val Bourne Talk 12 September 20

Our Committee has carefully reviewed the current regulations relating to Covid-19, has revisited the new meetings venue, consulted with the Hall manager and tested the practicalities and safety of resuming HPS meetings. We have also consulted with our early speakers who have agreed to participate.


Val Bourne, the well-known and award-winning garden writer, lecturer, organic gardener and committed plantaholic, will discuss the “The year in the garden at Spring Cottage” (her garden in Gloucestershire). Val is an Ambassador for the Hardy Plant Society so we hope for a good turnout and to make her very welcome. Please note that as places are limited, entrance to the talk will be for those with confirmed bookings only.

Everyone attending this talk will need to make their own judgement of course about risk in the light of their own particular circumstances. We hope many of you will be able to join us for what should be an enjoyable afternoon. Priority in booking will be given to HPS members. Places can also be requested for family and friends subject to capacity being available.  The cost will be £5 for members and £7 for guests, plus £1 for each raffle ticket. If you wish to book tickets, please write to Jacqui on monmouthshirehps@gmail.com


The HPS Monmouthshire Group is for people who love hardy herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees and enjoy sharing their enthusiasm with other likeminded gardeners in the County and beyond.

We are part of a network of 45 local groups throughout the UK which is registered with the National Hardy Plants Society. Our Group is also an Affiliated Society of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).


The President of the HPS is Roy Lancaster and our Ambassadors are Matthew Biggs, Val Bourne, Carol Klein, and Matthew Wilson.

HPS Monmouthshire Group

Talks by experts from around the UK

Private garden visits

Plant Fairs with exhibits and sales by expert growers and nurseries from Wales, The Midlands and The West Country

Plant and seed exchanges and sales from other members

… and a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, experience, tips, advice or just plain enthusiasm, all shared over a relaxing cup of tea, cakes and snacks

We meet at

Little Mill Village Hall,

Berthon Road, Pontypool


Ample Parking

Next Meeting
12th September 14.30

This Year in the Garden at Spring Cottage

Val Bourne


Val is an award winning garden writer, lecturer and organic gardener and a committed plantaholic. She is an Ambassador for the Hardy Plant Society, so please make her very welcome. 

Val gardens on the wind-swept Cotswolds at Spring Cottage – high above Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. Her third of an acre garden is managed without using chemicals – something she has always believed in. 

The high Cotswolds is not an easy place to garden, but there’s something to admire throughout the year. Follow a year in Val’s garden, which is an eco-friendly space packed with great plants.