Hardy Plant Society seeks to expand

The Hardy Plant Society (HPS) have judged their annual photography competition and winners have been chosen in three categories.

Individual hardy perennial: Richard Ford ‘Cyclamen hederifolium’ Richard Ford of Kesgrove, Ipswich photo competition winner
Individual hardy perennial: Richard Ford ‘Cyclamen hederifolium’ Richard Ford of Kesgrove, Ipswich photo competition winner

All of the entries have been added to the HPS library’s digital collection which now numbers 7,000 photographs of plants and gardens. The HPS hope that the images will help to raise the profile of the hardy perennial; many of which have disappeared over the last few decades. 

Chairman Cathy Rollinson said: "We were delighted with the calibre of the entries which reflected our members’ love of hardy plants and our desire to catalogue and preserve them for the horticultural world.  The image library which currently holds 7000 images of plants and gardens provides support for the HPS seed distribution service and is also a fantastic resource open to everyone."

The Hardy Plant Society are due to celebrate their diamond jubilee in 2017 and are committed to attracting more members in the coming year. Rollinson said: "We hope that events and competitions such as the photography competition will help to attract more members to our Society which since 1957 has worked to raise the profile of hardy plants and to conserve them for the future. There is an annual subscription of £17, which provides access to the image library and a route to the myriad of wonderful Hardy Plant Society groups dotted across the UK, as well as those focusing on specific plant families or types of plant."

The Society has a strong conservation message and aims to preserve older, rarer or lesser-known hardy perennial plants and to maintain records so that the knowledge of how to grow these plants successfully is not lost, and can be of use, interest and enjoyment to HPS members and others.

Rollinson said: "Countless hardy plants have disappeared from commercial cultivation, despite being good garden plants and potentially having breeding potential for the future. It is our hope that the Society can conserve lesser known and ‘out of favour’ perennials for future generations."

"As new varieties are introduced, some old favourites are no longer available in garden centres and nurseries. HPS members grow and share some of these plants and encourage nurseries to reintroduce them.  

"As part of its commitment to ensuring that garden-worthy perennial plants remain in cultivation and have the widest possible distribution, the HPS operates a seed distribution scheme.  Members collect and donate seed from plants grown in their own gardens and volunteers then sort, pack and dispatch packets of seeds.

A legacy by gardener Kenneth Black provides small grants to students,  plant hunters and plant conservationists. There are over 40 groups and mini groups in the UK each of which offers a wide range of gardening activities and lectures. 

Formed in 1957 by a group of eminent nurserymen and gardeners, the Society is open to all and hopes that its forthcoming jubilee will help to stimulate interest in growing hardy perennial plants. The Society’s president is plant hunter Roy Lancaster.

The Hardy Plant Society’s library can be accessed via  hardy-plant.org.uk

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