Local News

This month’s Newsletter and a list of some other gardening events and talks of interest taking place in and around Monmouthshire

Sarah’s Plantlist

Sarah Price has generously provided the plant list from her February talk ‘Plants First’

May Newsletter

Hello everyone
With restrictions lifting, summer on its way soon and gardens opening for visits, we are coming now to the end of our series of talks for the 2020/21 season (see our tentative plans for the summer months and early autumn later in this note). Many thanks to all of those who joined us to hear Cherry Taylor on ‘No Dig’ earlier this month: we hope you were enthused to get outside and try the no-dig principles in your own gardens and plots!
We are delighted next to welcome Nigel Hopes* on‘Ashwood Specialities’ on Saturday 8th May at 2.30pm. Nigel’s passion for plants started as a boy, when he was inspired by a family friend and the promise of free plants thanks to some fuchsia cuttings! Having qualified in horticulture, he worked at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for 10 years, becoming Senior Outdoor Supervisor. In 2018, he took on a new challenge as Head Gardener for Chelsea Gold medallist John Massey VMH in his private garden, ‘John’s Garden’ at Ashwood Nurseries. This wonderful three acre site includes informal borders, island beds, woodland dells and a wildlife meadow set against the beautiful backdrop of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. It’s regarded as one of the finest private gardens in the UK, with magnificent collections of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and conifers adding to the interest all year round, and an abundance of rare plants as well as familiar favourites. Nigel will show us many parts of the garden and then tell us more about some of the interesting plant groups there, such as hellebores, hepatica, lewisia and more. (*Our planned May speaker dropped out – fortunately Nigel has been highly recommended to us as an excellent speaker.)As usual, HPS members and non-members are all welcome for what should be an enjoyable and informative afternoon. The cost will be £3 per person for national HPS members (of any Local Group or none) and £5 per person for non-members, plus (optional) £1 for each raffle ticket. The funds raised go towards the cost of our speakers and improving our future programme as well as towards our raffle prizes. 
Please feel free to forward this invite and newsletter to your family, friends or your other societies/groups if you think it could be of interest. To book your place/s and/or to join our mailing list, please reply to this note asap, i.e to monmouthshirehps@gmail.com, including – if you are an HPS member and haven’t told us already – your group name and membership number where known. The talks are not recorded so will not be available if you are unable to attend. 
Please do not pay until we have confirmed your reservation.  Places are sometimes limited, even on Zoom, so entrance to the online meeting/talk and the associated raffle, will be for those with confirmed and paid bookings only. We expect to have enough capacity but if oversubscribed, priority in booking will be given to HPS members as usual.In the unlikely event that the talk is cancelled, all those who have paid will be notified by email and, as they prefer, either be refunded or have their payment carried forward to a future meeting.
Here are some other topics which may also be of interest: 

  • HPS have now set up a new page on their national website listing local and specialist groups’ Zoom talkswhich are open to HPS members and, in most cases, non-members too.
    See https://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/for-members/zoom-talks(despite the link address, this is not just for members).Did you know that HPS also offers a free-of-charge advice service to both members and non-members? See https://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/about-plants/advice
  • Plant Heritage Open Day visits to see national plant collections (for members only) are getting well underway. For full details of the full PH programme and how to book, see https://www.plantheritage.org.uk/events/   Plant Heritage (PH) has also arranged an interesting series of virtual talks. While some are free to PH members, some are also open to non-members for £4 or £5.   The next PH virtual talk open to all is ‘All about trees!’ on Tuesday 27th April, 6pm by Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum, Gardens and Horticultural Services, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  
  • The NGS programme of many new garden openings and reopenings this year is also underway. See https://ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/ to find some near you. You can also still book online NGS talks – see https://ngs.org.uk  Tickets cost £10. The next NGS talk ‘Kiftsgate Court Gardens – Three generations of women gardeners’ is on Tuesday 27th April, 7.00pm.
  • You can also watch some excellent free talks and walks on Noel Kingsbury and Annie Guilfoyle’s Garden Masterclass on YouTube. See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXrC79EfhuQJjBPXd4wzGHg
  • HPS Monmouthshire Group is also affiliated to the RHS, which has several shows this year. For the latest information, see https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/See also the RHS Partner Garden page https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/partner-gardensto check out those you’d like to visit. RHS podcasts are also available to help you get the very best out of your garden. Each week they feature RHS experts, garden designers, scientists, growers and many others to offer seasonal advice, inspiration and practical solutions to gardening problems. See https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/publications/podcasts If you’d like to join the RHS, you can use a special promotion – seehttps://www.rhs.org.uk/join/promo/4004
  • If you haven’t already, why not also take a look at a Facebook group, The Gardening Bubble, which was set up by a few HPS members a year ago and has grown now to nearly 1000 members. It’s a very active and friendly group, with lots of interesting posts, photos and Q&As from its members, including plant identification and tips/advice on particular situations. The group is for anyone, from beginner to expert, who enjoys gardening in its widest sense. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/thegardeningbubble
  • This year’s Usk in Bloom campaign will involve, as the central feature in Twyn Square, a large installation including lots of red Sempervirens in a heart form and dedicated to the NHS. If you have red Sempervirens that you’d like to donate to the campaign, Jan Mundy, one of our members and the secretary for Usk in Bloom, would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Jan on 07944 616448 or janet.mundy@gmail.com
  • For your diaries, also coming up from our Monmouthshire HPS group (seehttp://hpsmonmouthshire.co.uk):
  • Saturday, June 12th: Local plant sale for HPS Monmouthshire Group members and local visitors. With restrictions being lifted, we are pleased to be able to provide this opportunity to sell/buy our members’ spare plants and (optionally for a small fee, donated to NGS) to visit the beautiful gardens at Highfield Farm, Goytre, the home of our members Jenny and Roger Lloyd. If you are interested in coming along, whether to buy, sell or both, please reply to this note by the end of May so that we can keep track of the number of plant tables needed and estimate the numbers visiting. Appropriate Covid safety measures will be taken, based on guidance as then in place.  
  • In July and/or August, we hope to organise one or more other local events or visits, restrictions permitting. More news on those nearer the time. 
  • Subject to all the usual caveats, we aim to restart our meetings/talks in person in Little Mill Village Hall on Saturday 4th September. Please note the date. 
  • We are just finalising our 2021/22 programme which, while focused on meetings, may include occasional Zoom talks too. More on this in a future newsletter.    
  • And last but not least, would you be interested in joining the Hardy Plant Society? For the wider benefits of joining HPS and to join online, see www.hardy-plant.org.uk/whyjoinus  As well as our HPS Monmouthshire Group, there are many other local and specialist HPS groups around the UK. To find one near you, seehttps://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/meet-us-at  For HPS members, there is then no further charge for joining our local Monmouthshire Group if you live in postcode areas NP4 to NP44 or bordering areas. If you join HPS, please let us know your membership number and area and we’ll add them to your contact details. If you are choosing not to renew this time though and are on our HPS members mailing list – whether from here in Monmouthshire or elsewhere – please also let us know and tell us if you’d like to stay on our non-members email list. 

Well, that’s it for now.Wishing you all well and hope to see a good number of you online on 8th May.
JacquiSecretary – Monmouthshire Group, HPS


AGM Minutes 2020

The HPS Monmouthshire Group, AGM 20th March 2021

The meeting was held online using Zoom and started at 2:30pm. All group members had the opportunity to participate and vote, including those who were unable to use Zoom. The meeting was quorate. 

1. ApologiesCatherine Dooher, Maggie Harkness, Jill Hedges, Jan Eastment, Barbara Dwyer, Sue Harrison, Vron Ruth, Sally Davies, Frances Pemberton

2. Minutes of 2020 AGM were approved and there were no matters arising. (Proposer Penny Walshe, seconder Janet Hicks.)

3. The Chairman’s Annual Report was noted and accepted.
4The Treasurers report was noted and accepted. The 2020 accounts were approved. (Proposer Pauline
   Faraday, seconder Christine Bayliss.)

5. Election of Officers and Election of CommitteeThe existing Officers – Keith White (Chairman), Jenny Lloyd (Treasurer), Jacqui Warren (Secretary) – offered themselves for re-election. The motion was approved. (Proposer Pauline Faraday, seconder Penny Walshe.) The Other Committee members – Cath Mullin, Kath Weare, Mary Barkham (previously co-opted) and Brigid Hamilton-Jones (newly proposed) offered themselves for re-lection/election. The motion was approved. 
(Proposer Janet Hicks, seconder Claire Rogers.)

6. Matters for considerationThere were four Committee recommendations for consideration as follows. 
All were approved. (Proposer Norman Chamberlain, seconder Paddy Benyon.)

    a. At the last AGM, the proposed motion was passed to suspend the group’s membership fee for 2021 (ie our local group membership fee for 2021 is £0) with the decision to be reviewed annually. The Committee considers that this arrangement is working well, not least in reducing our local admin, and recommends that it be continued for 2022. (As our local group Constitution states that only fully paid-up members of national HPS may become Monmouthshire Group members, membership of the group will be given to those who reside in postcodes NP4 to NP44 and bordering areas, who have paid their annual national HPS subscription fee and provide their HPS membership number.)

     b. During 2020, electronic card payment was trialled and found to be successful when the group met in person. While event entrance fees and related payments, e.g. for raffle tickets or plants, can continue to be paid for by cash or cheque, the Committee recommends that use of electronic card payment be continued and also direct banking transfers where payment can be confirmed in advance of the corresponding event.

c. The financial position at year end shows (subject to independent review) that the Group remains financially healthy and that the programme and pricing structures led broadly to ‘break even’ across the year as planned. The Committee recommends:
i) that a similar approach be continued in 2021/22 e.g. the group to host both online and in person meetings as at the time allowed, attendance open also to those who are not members of the local group (subject to places being available), some local group ‘members only’ events, and continued attention to improving/maintaining the speaker programme; ii) if the programme and pricing structure begins to generate substantial profit then members be consulted on the most appropriate use of the additional funds. 

d. As a result of changes to the national HPS Constitution, a few corresponding changes are required or recommended to our local group Constitution, a draft of which has been included in this meeting’s papers. The Committee recommends that these changes be accepted.​

9Appointment of Independent Examiner of AccountsThe 2020accounts had been subject to independent examination by David Warren. Nominations for someone to review the accounts next year would be welcome. Penny Walshe will discuss with one of her contacts.

10Any other business: a) While additional revenue for the first few months of 2021 has been welcome, it is unclear in these uncertain times how the rest of the year is likely to develop. A number of options were discussed for use of surplus funds (if any) arising from the programme. b) It was noted that at a national level, HPS is developing an overall strategy which is expected to include, for example, increasing HPS’s public profile and hosting occasional talks by well-known presenters. c) The Committee were thanked for their efforts in maintaining and developing the group, albeit largely online at present. All present looked forward to meeting in person again before too long.

The meeting was closed at 3:10pm

Herefordshire Plant Heritage
Visit Programme 2021

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