About usThe Kent Group of The Hardy Plant Society has members from all over the county and beyond. We arrange a varied programme of events throughout the year and members come together at these events to indulge their passion for plants with other like-minded people.
The Hardy Plant Society is a national organization, which exists to stimulate interest in growing hardy herbaceous plants. It has local groups throughout the country of which Kent Group is one. To find out more visit the website www.hardy-plant.org.uk. Once you are a member of the Hardy Plant Society you are eligible to join any of the local groups.
HPS KENT GROUP
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KENT GROUP ACTIVITIES IN A LITTLE MORE DETAIL
Meetings are held at various venues across Kent from September to April, usually in the afternoon on the last Sunday of each month, for members and their guests.
- Venues We have our meetings at different locations across the county, in modern village halls with excellent facilities and car parking.
- Lecture The main feature of each meeting is an illustrated lecture by a well-known or local expert. These cover a wide range of subjects related to plants and gardens. Speakers in the past have included, Roy Lancaster, Stephen Lacey, Bob Brown, Timothy Walker, Tom Mitchell and Derry Watkins. Many of our members are also good speakers with a vast knowledge of the plants we like to grow.
- Plant Sales Members bring plants for sale, keeping 75% of the price with 25% going to Group funds. Members collect their money and any unsold plants at the end of the afternoon. Sometimes speakers also bring plants for sale.
- Sundries Gloves, labels, pens and plant shopping bags are some of the useful items on offer. Members can buy things that no hardy planter can afford to be without at much reduced prices.
- Book Sale This operates in a similar manner to the plant sales. A slip of paper with the name of the vendor and the price required is put into each book, 25% going to Group funds. Members collect their money and unsold books at the end of the afternoon.
- Plant Display A non-competitive display to which members bring plants, cut from their gardens or in pots, relevant to the season or the subject of the lecture or of general interest, for the enjoyment of other members.
- Seed Exchange Members bring any spare seed collected from their gardens to share with fellow members. It should be put in small envelopes, labelled and put in the tin provided.
- Raffle There is usually a raffle, which is drawn after the lecture, with a selection of plants for prizes.
- Teas The ever-popular refreshments, offering tea or coffee and a selection of home-made cakes, follow the lecture while members mingle and make their purchases from the sales tables.
There is an entrance charge for members of £3 per person.
Guests are invited to attend up to two meetings before becoming members. Just introduce yourself to the Membership Secretary at the door and you will be made welcome. The charge is £5 per person. If you would like more details please hit the contact button and talk to us.
Visits to members’ gardens, private gardens and specialist nurseries feature regularly in the Kent Group programme. Some are open visits when everyone can attend and others are restricted to just a small number so that members can talk about the plants in more detail. We somettimes organize a coach trip to gardens and nurseries further afield.
Study Days & Workshops
These provide opportunities to learn about the many different aspects of gardening with perennials. Propagation Days are held to give practical experience of the most suitable methods of propagating a wide variety of plants. Study Days may concentrate on a particular genus, type of plant or subject. Other topics have included plant identification, photography and botanical illustration.
As well as plant sales at meetings we have plant fairs, which are open to the public, at different venues throughout the year. In March we have an Indoor Plant Fair at Lenham Community Centre, where visitors can browse the nursery stalls in comfort. We sometimes repeat this indoor event again in the autumn. In the summer we have fairs at gardens that are open to the public so visitors can enjoy a beautiful garden as well as buying some plants for their own gardens. The venues for these change each year. All our fairs are attended by specialist nurseries, usually about six or seven, offering visitors the chance to buy unusual plants often difficult to get from other sources. Kent Group also has a stall where members can bring plants for sale keeping 75% of the price as at lecture meetings and, as they grow such a vast range of plants, there is always a great variety of plants from which to choose.
This very popular addition to the Kent Group programme is usually held a week or two before Christmas. The Christmas Meeting is for members only. The current format is morning coffee followed by an informal talk, lunch (provided by members on a bring and share basis) and a light-hearted quiz or, in recent years, the Kent Group version of ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’, finishing up with tea and mince pies. This is an informal, festive event which provides a good opportunity for members to get to know each other.
Smaller Area Groups have been formed within the Kent Group. At present there are five of these groups covering regions around Sevenoaks, Cranbrook, Canterbury, Faversham and Folkestone. The groups are organized by local volunteers and their range of activities varies, depending on the interests and involvement of local members.
Membership of the Kent Group at present stands at about 250.
THE HARDY PLANT SOCIETY AT NATIONAL LEVEL
Membership of The Hardy Plant Society gives members the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities There are Local Groups throughout the country and Specialist Groups cover specific interests such as snowdrops and geraniums. Twice a year, all members receive the journal, The Hardy Plant, which is full of interesting and informative articles. Other publications include a newsletter to keep members informed of the societies activities, and booklets on many plant families. Throughout the year local groups host a range of events for all members and exhibit at many major shows to stimulate interest in hardy plants. Members can take part in the Seed Distribution Scheme, borrow images from the Image Library and help to conserve good garden plants in danger of disappearing from cultivation. All these activities give members an opportunity to meet with other like-minded people and to further their knowledge and enjoyment of hardy plants. Go to the HPS website for full details.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
The subscription for the main society is £17 for single membership and £19 for joint. Together with Kent Group subscriptions of £7 or £10 that’s a total of just £24 a year for single or £29 for joint membership. If you consider all the activities that will be available to you and the publications you will receive it’s an absolute bargain. Subscriptions for both run from January to December.
HOW TO JOIN
It’s very easy to join us. You need to be a member of The Hardy Plant Society before you can join Kent Group. Just fill in the forms and send them off with a cheque or, better still, come to one of our meetings or events where someone will be pleased to help you. Full details here.