Local News

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

March Newsletter

Hello everyone
At last the dreary winter gloom is lifting and there is a sense of spring, and of cautious optimism, all around. We hope to restart meetings in Little Mill, near Usk, later this year (all the usual caveats apply) but in the meantime will continue our talks using Zoom. Many thanks to all those who joined us to listen to Sarah Price putting ‘Plants First!’ earlier this month. 
Coming up soon in March: Our next Zoom talk will be on Saturday 13th March at 2.30pm when Noel Kingsbury, the internationally well-known writer, lecturer, researcher, gardener and horticultural consultant, will join us from his new home in Portugal to show us some ‘New ways with Perennials’. We do hope you can join us for what should be an enjoyable and informative afternoon.A little background: Best-known for his promotion of what is broadly called an ecological or naturalistic approach to planting design, Noel has written some 25 books on various aspects of plants and gardens over the years, four of them in collaboration with Dutch designer and plantsman Piet Oudolf. He has also written for Gardens Illustrated, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Garden, and many other publications. Noel will take a look at a variety of contemporary approaches to using perennials: naturalistic, modernist, the Piet Oudolf look, etc. Increasingly popular in recent years but constantly evolving, these varied approaches use a wide range of plants, all selected for the ecology of a specific site and, with an eye to maintenance, the extent to which they can look after themselves. For more about Noel, see:https://www.noelkingsbury.com/what-we-doAs usual, HPS members and non-members are all welcome. The cost will be £5 per person for national HPS members (of any Local Group or none) and £7 per person for non-members, plus £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. 
Please do not pay though 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 be of interest, starting with some other HPS group Zoom talks from around the UK. If you’d like to attend any, please give the organisers sufficient notice.    

  • HPS have now set up a new page on their national website listing those local and specialist groups’ Zoom talks which are open to HPS members and, in many cases, non-members too.
    See https://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/for-members/zoom-talks(despite the link address, this isn’t just for members).At the time of writing, I’ve also been told of a few others:
  • HPS Cambs and Beds Group on Saturday 6th March at 2pm: Andrew Sankey, local garden historian and designer, on ‘Rethinking your Garden’. £3 for HPS members, £4 non-members. Please contact Chris Strachan at cmstrachan4@gmail.com  
  • HPS Hampshire Group on Friday 19th March at 7pm: Andrew Tolman on ‘Stumperies, ferns and shady friends’. Andrew was a Senior Gardener for HRH the Prince Of Wales for over 10 years. £5 for non-Hants HPS members or non-members. For full details, see http://hants-hardy-plants.org.uk/events/meetings/ 
  • 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 is ‘Marvellous Monarda’ on 3rd March. For full details of the programme and how to book, see https://www.plantheritage.org.uk/events/
  • You can also now book new online NGS talks which are scheduled for Tuesday evenings at 7pm. The next, on Tuesday 2nd March, is ‘Twenty years with Twenty acres – a story of Hurdley Hall’. Tickets cost £10 – see https://ngs.org.uk  
    The NGS is aiming for many new garden openings and reopenings this year, including Llanover Garden, Monmouthshire on 28th March (if rules then permitting, and by advance tickets only). 
  • You can also watch some excellent free talks and walks on Garden Masterclass on YouTube. See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXrC79EfhuQJjBPXd4wzGHg
  • As well as a ‘virtual Chelsea’, the RHS is hoping to restart some RHS shows this year. For the latest information, see https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/  Meanwhile, it has recently completed research into the effectiveness of hedge plants as air pollution barrierswith a victory for the bushy, hairy-leafed Cotoneaster franchetii: seehttps://www.rhs.org.uk/science/articles/super-cotoneaster  See also the RHS Partner Garden page https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/partner-gardens to check out those you’d like to visit once restrictions are lifted and find information on the RHS Partner Garden of the Year competition which launches in March with the theme of ‘Feel Good Gardens’.And finally if you fancy joining the RHS, you can use a special promotion – see https://www.rhs.org.uk/join/promo/4004
  • For your diaries, coming up in the next few months from our Monmouthshire HPS group on Zoom (for more on our programme, our Plants of the Month and other useful links, seehttp://hpsmonmouthshire.co.uk):
  • SaturdayApril 10th at 2.30pm  (nb Booking opens Sat 27th March): Cherry Taylor on ‘No Dig’. Cherry, a highly successful practitioner and educator in the No Dig approach to horticulture and follower of Charles Dowding, runs popular No Dig courses and will tell us about the ‘No Dig’ approach. She’ll outline the overall benefits, how to make no-dig beds or convert your existing beds, how to space plants appropriately and how to deal with pests and weeds without using chemicals. While the No Dig approach is particularly associated with organic vegetable gardening, it’s also applicable more generally.  
  • Saturday, May 8th at 2.30pm (nb Booking opens Sat 24th April): Graeme Moore on ‘American plants in the Flower Garden – an historical perspective’. Graeme, a well-known garden designer and historian, became well known for his ‘Herbe Gardens’ made by sculpting grass into intricate patterns and combining American native plants into Italianate garden design. American plants have also been championed by design practices like Oehme and van Sweden which opened its first garden in the UK at the American Museum at Claverton Manor outside Bath.
  • HPS Seed orders started to be posted this week. Unlike in other years, they are not being sent out all at once but in several batches over the coming weeks. Please be patient and don’t chase the office for your order in the meantime.
  • Did you know HPS also offer a free-of-charge advice service? See https://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/about-plants/advice
  • 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 There is then no further charge for joining our local Monmouthshire Group if you live in postcode areas NP4 to NP44 or closely bordering areas. (If you join HPS, please let me know your membership number and area and we’ll add 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.)
  • As well as our HPS Monmouthshire Group and those other HPS groups mentioned here, there are many other local and specialist HPS groups around the UK. See https://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/meet-us-at   

JacquiSecretary – Monmouthshire Group, HPS



Herefordshire Plant Heritage
Visit Programme 2021

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