Hello everyone   
Well, while it’s been rather gloomy and wet recently, it’s been a very busy month for the group. Unusually, we’ve hosted two meetings in short succession: Rob Evans in person at the hall and Troy Scott Smith online via Zoom. We’re pleased to see that the feedback for both events has been very positive. Thank you to all those who were able to come along.  
We hope you can join us for our next meeting in Little Mill Village Hall onSaturday 13th Nov at 2.30pm when Ceri Goring, Gardening Conservator, will tell us about ‘The Castle Gardens, St Fagans’. The garden, now within the National History Museum of Wales, is one of the most important historic gardens in Wales. Ceri,who lives near Abergavenny, is the Gardening Conservator there.With an underlying Tudor structure, the layout is now predominantly Victorian and Edwardian. Ceri has been updating much of the planting over the last few years and she will be talking about her choice of plants. If you’ve visited the gardens, you’ll know that there are many beautiful areas including a parterre, Italian garden, terraces, fish ponds, fountains, kitchen garden, a mulberry grove, vinery and an exquisite rosery. 
With reduced capacity to give us more space, entrance to the hall will again be for those with confirmed and paid bookings only. Facemasks are still required of course, and good ‘through ventilation’ will be ensured again so please be sure to dress accordingly. There will be a plant stall outside selling members’ home-grown plants as usual. Unfortunately, due to the small kitchen area which would become congested, we are unable to offer refreshments at these meetings until the remaining restrictions are relaxed.
The cost will be £3 per person for HPS members 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. We have taken the opportunity to invest some of the proceeds of last season’s programme into a new projector, able to show larger clearer images, and also aim to use our PA system more as the hall is fairly large.

To book your place/s, please reply to this note asap. Please do not pay though until we have confirmed your reservation. We expect to have enough capacity but if oversubscribed, priority in booking will be given to HPS members in the order of when we received their booking requests and payments.(In the unlikely event that place/s have to be withdrawn, or the talk is cancelled or moved to Zoom, those who’ve booked and paid will be notified by email and, where appropriate, a refund or carry forward of payment arranged.)
A few other points which may be of interest: 
– If you’re thinking of joining the Hardy Plant Society, joining in November would be advantageous as the first two months of your new membership would in effect be free. As a HPS member, there would be no further charge for joining our local Monmouthshire Group if you live in postcode areas NP4 to NP44 or bordering areas and you would also qualify for a reduced entry fee to most of our talks and events. To find out more and to join online, see  If you join, let us know your membership number and first part of your postcode and we’ll add them to your contact details. 
– For those of us who are already HPS members, now is a good time to renew. See  A reminder will also be coming in the next HPS newsletter due in November. 

– If you’ve been a member but decide not to renew this time, also let us know and tell us if you’d like to stay on our non-members email list. 
– Our Monmouthshire Group really needs your help please. Would you consider lending Keith, our Chairman, a hand in setting up, running and dismantling the equipment for the meetings? If so, or if you’d like to help the group run smoothly in any other ways, we’d love to hear from you – just reply to this note in the first instance. 
– The rest of our programme for the 2021/22 season has now been finalised – see our website for more details. We hope you find something that will interest you and your suggestions for future talks and events would be very welcome. Note that bookings for any talk will be taken after the ‘Advance booking’ email for that particular talk has been sent out. 
– If you’re interested in Zoom talks, don’t forget there’s a page on the national HPS website which lists local and specialist groups’ Zoom talks including ours, which are open to HPS members and, in most cases, non-members too. See HPS Zoom Talks  Did you know that HPS also offers a free-of-charge advice service to both members and non-members? See
–  Many of us also enjoy seeing and learning how to do things in a more direct way so here are a few interesting ‘workshop sessions’ that are coming up soon or being arranged for next year. Perhaps some of these are just what you’re looking for: 

  • A series of seven practical garden workshops is being held during the Autumn and Spring at Bryngwyn Manor near Raglan. Led by Dean Peckett, an accomplished senior gardener, all profits will go to the National Garden Scheme. You can book as many or as few as you wish and the first is on Saturday 13 November.  All the details are on the attached poster. 
  • Justine Scouller of Far Hill Flowers, near Llanishen, has a series of workshops at her flower farm, starting on Tuesday 16th November. See Far Hill Flowers  Some of you may remember Justine as she came to talk to us about growing flowers for cutting a few years ago. There are two main workshop topics: one explains everything about growing your own cutting patch and the other, how to progress to a more advanced/larger scale undertaking. 
  • One of our members, Sue Mabberley of Nant-y-Bedd (a beautiful RHS partner garden near Abergavenny which recently provided the backdrop to Gardeners World), has a series of workshops coming up again next year. The first confirmed date is Sunday 1st May and the workshops include: a Dawn Chorus walk, Forest Bathing, Blueprints with Ruth Barnes-Richards (Cyanotype), ‘Artfulness of Weeds’  Botanical sketching with Jacky Mills, Foraging with Liz Knight, and Compost and Wild Gardening, both with Sue. A new one for 2022 will be Mick Petts on Garden Structures from Natural Materials. Dates, details and booking arrangements will be available inNovember (see Nantybedd ). If you want to sign up for their newsletter and get dates before they go onto the website, just send your e-mail details to You can also buy vouchers, as a Christmas gift perhaps?
  • Some of the other places you could look for interesting workshops, once their diaries are updated for next year, are the Walled Garden Treberfydd  and  Ty Mawr Kitchen Garden  , both near Llangorse Lake, and  Wyndcliffe Court  near Chepstow.

 – HPS Monmouthshire Group is affiliated also to the RHS. Booking for next year’s RHS shows is now open atRHS ShowsMeanwhile, if you’re wondering what to plant in your garden in a particular or difficult area, you may want to try their plant finder service: see to get some ideas on which plants would suit best. If you’d like to join the RHS, you can use a special promotion – see
– Plant Heritage talks this season are mostly ‘in-person’. For full details of their full programme and how to book, see   While some are free to PH members, some are also open to non-members.

– And last but not least, if you haven’t already, why not join the Facebook group, The Gardening Bubble. This friendly group is for anyone, from beginner to expert, who enjoys gardening in its widest sense. See

Well, that’s it for now. We’re looking forward to seeing and meeting many of you again at Ceri Goring’s talk on 13th November.

JacquiSecretary – Monmouthshire Group, HPS

AGM 2021

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

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