Even before the official formation of the Nottingham Group, its members had been pro-active in compiling the first Hardy Plant Directory which eventually grew into what is now called “The Plant Finder”. Their main reason at the time was that the supply of hardy herbaceous plants was becoming alarmingly restricted and it was thought that HPS members must take steps to preserve stocks.
The first edition, published in 1975 was started by Robin and Joan Grout and then John and Lillian Skinner took over - it sold out in six months. It was 6” x 9” and listed 43 pages of plants and 3 pages of nurseries from all over the UK, many still trading today, and cost 50p to members and £1 for non-members. The prices were listed too, with most plants costing less than 50p however a Trillium plenum for £6.50!
The second edition from 1978-9 sold out in its second year. Jill Robinson, still a member of the Group was one of the compilers.
Jill says “It was hard work - a labour of love. We used to meet at someone’s house with all the paper catalogues and go through them all - it was in the days before computers!” This time it had 60 pages of plants and cost £1 and £2 to non members.
The Silver Jubilee Edition in 1982 was A4 size and had again doubled in price to £2, but included 88 pages of plants and the pages were twice as large as previously. The format had been changed primarily to extend its useful life, but also to indicate at a glance, region by region, where plants had become rare and were in need of conservation. Prices were no longer included.
The original intention was not only to produce a badly needed reference book but also to increase interest in The Hardy Plant Society and thus encourage membership.
We’ve scanned an original copy of the first edition, and made it available as a pdf for you to see at the bottom of this page.