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West Yorkshire

At our monthly meetings we normally have an expert guest speaker, plants sales, a plant display and a raffle followed by tea/coffee and biscuits. Twice a year we have a plant show.
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  • Introduction to the group

    Our meetings take place on the second Saturday of each month September to May inclusive.

    We are a friendly group and you are welcome no matter what level of expertise you have. There are members who have a keen interest and a good knowledge about growing plants such as saxifrages, crocuses, cyclamen, gentians, hepaticas, snowdrops, narcissi, fritillaries, primulas, dianthus, trilliums, hellebores, campanulas, androsaces, sedums, dwarf pines and many others.

    There is usually a guest speaker at the meetings who gives a talk for about an hour on a topic of interest to growers of alpine plants.

    Before the main part of the meeting, normally the talk, there is a chance to chat, ask questions of the appropriate experts and to swap, buy and sell plants. Afterwards we have tea or coffee with biscuits. There is also a raffle.

    We have a display table at each meeting (non-competitive) on which members display any plants for our interest.

    At each meeting there are plant sales tables where volunteers sell spare plants on behalf of members with a contribution going to Group funds. Some of the plants sold are unusual and hard to obtain elsewhere. We also have sales tables for second hand gardening books and greeting cards produced by a talented artist member.

    There are Local Group Shows in September/October and May. There is also the AGS Harlow Carr Show in mid-October, organised by one of our members with the help of many other members.

    Meetings are held at St Chad’s Parish Centre, Otley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds LS16 5JT (see map below). The Hall opens from 1.45 pm for a 2.30 pm start to the Meeting. There is ample parking and good disabled access. This is easily reached, lying just 1 mile south of the Leeds Outer Ring Road (A6120) at the junction with the A660. Beware speed cameras! Catch Seafood (was The Fisherman’s Wife & before that Bryan’s) provides both take-away and restaurant facilities.

    Click here for a Google map showing St. Chad’s Parish Centre (opens in a new tab):

    Our Membership Secretaries, Bob and Di Dark, welcome everyone just inside the Main Hall.

    Bob and Di can also be contacted by phone: 01430 626482 or email:

    Subscription: £15.00. Vistors £2.00. Annual membership runs from September.

  • Programme

    Saxifraga oppositifolia ‘Theoden’

    2023-2024 programme

    9 September 2023 Diane Clement,
    ‘Cyclamen and Hepaticas’

    14 October 2023 AGS Harlow Carr Show (national show)
    At RHS Harlow Carr

    21 October 2023 David Charlton
    ‘Flowers of the Picos de Europa’

    11 November 2023 Cliff Booker
    ‘Patagonia – Part Two’

    9 December 2023 Group members
    Members’ photographs

    13 January 2024 Paul Cumbleton
    ‘Potting Composts & Other Conundrums’ ZOOM TALK IN HALL

    10 February 2024 Richard Horswood
    ‘European Alpine Plants of Rocks and Screes’ ZOOM TALK IN HALL
    (Tony Goode’s talk, ‘Bulbs for all Seasons’, is postponed.)

    9 March 2024 Tim Ingram
    ‘Gardening on the Rocks’ ZOOM TALK IN HALL

    13 April 2024 John Dower
    ‘Troughs and Mini-gardens’

    11 May 2024 AGM, Group Spring Show and short talk

    14 September 2024 Frazer Henderson
    ‘Kyrgystan: in search of wild tulips’
    Also Group Autumn Show


    Previous programmes

    10th September 2022 John Mitchell
    Travels around the world
    We welcome back John, Garden Supervisor, Alpine Section at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. John is widely travelled and knowlegeable about alpines in the wild and in cultivation. This talk takes us on a journey through China, Tibet, Afganistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Georgia and New Zealand among a few places!

    8 October 2022 Michael Myers
    Primula marginata – From the Maritime Alps to Yorkshire
    Also: Group Autumn Show
    Michael has long been associated with W. Yorks Group. He is a horticulturalist now teaching at Craven College, Skipton. He has an expert knowledge of and has held a National Plant Collection of Primula marginata.

    12 November 2022 Cliff Booker
    ‘Patagonia – Part One’

    Cliff, from the East Lancashire Group, will return to us to give a presentation about some of the finest flower locations in Chile and Argentina. Cliff is a superb photographer.

    10 December 2022 Group members
    Members’ photographs

    14 January 2023 Jim Almond – ZOOM TALK IN HALL.
    Primulaceae in pots

    4 February (Note: not 2nd Sat) 2023 Paul Cumbleton & Colin Everett – ZOOM TALK IN HALL
    ‘Our Odyssey With Bulbs’

    11 March 2023 Eric Rainford
    ‘Greencombe Gardens’

    15 April 2023 (Note: not 2nd Sat) Jack Ogg
    ‘York Gate Garden’

    13 May 2023 AGM, Group Spring Show and short talk



    Androsace sempervivoides ‘Susan Joan’

  • Keeping in touch

    To help us keep in touch amid the coronavirus outbreak, Charlie Philpotts is aiming to produce occasional Garden Diaries and Interim Newsletters. These will be emailed or posted to members. He would be pleased to receive photographs of your own garden or plants (with a caption) or short written piece about something to do with your gardening. Some contributions will only appear in this part of the website, including a sort of Spring Show alternative (see below).

    Ian Instone gave an excellent online AGS talk on Favratia zoysii (was Campanula zoysii) in early July. This talk is still available for AGS members to view on Facebook on the Alpine Garden Society Members Facebook Group. This is a recent photograph of one of Ian’s tremendous ‘zoysii’ plants.

    Garden Diary
    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 1:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 2:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 3:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 4:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 5:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 6:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 7:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 8:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 9:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 10:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 11:

    Click here to open a copy of Garden Diary Number 12:

    From Bob & Di Dark (23rd March 2020)
    Here are a couple from us, first one taken last month, the other a couple of days ago.

    A corner of the front garden. I shall shortly be dividing spreading the snowdrop (and giving some to a friend who has only doubles in her garden).

    Haven’t taken a pic from here before, looking across the front garden.



    Plants I may have entered into the Spring Show

    Please try to send Charlie photographs of plants that you might have brought along to our local Spring Show on May 9th. These photographs will go below. Don’t take the show date too literally – plants a month or so either side of the date would be good. Photographs to show plants in a pot and taken this year..

    From Di and Bob Dark

    Primula ‘Lindum ‘Celebration’

    Primula ‘Clarence Elliott’

    Bellevalia forniculata

    Lewisia tweedyi ‘Rosea’

    Cyclamen coum

    Iris suaveolens

    Androsace studiororum

    Primula ‘Fred Salter’

    Lewisia ‘Carousel Yellow’

    Draba mollisima

    Lewisia nevardensis

    Lewisia cotyledon

    Ornithogalum sigmoideum

    Pan with Erigeron scopulinus



    From Eric Rainford

    Daphne x susannae ‘Cheriton’

    Cyclamen persicum, sown 2011

    Saxifraga pentadactylis. From wild seed collected from Sierra Cantabrica (at 1900m) in Spain in 2014.

    From Michael Wilson

    Lewisia tweedyi


    From Charlie Philpotts

    Cypripedium ‘Sunny’

    Cypripedium ‘Sunny’


    From Ian and Georgina Instone

    Narcissus bulbocodium

    Narcissus bulbocodium white petticoat

    Narcissus rupicola

    Lewsisia cotyledon

    Hepatica nobilis

    Hepatica majalis

    Helichrysum corraloides

    Hacquestia epipactis

    Gypsophila aretioidea Caucasica

    Fritillaria uva vulpis

    Scilla bifolia

    Draba cappadocica

    Draba ‘John Saxton’

    Dianthus ‘Pirrin’

    Cyclamen coum, silver-leaved form

    Corydalis malkensis

    Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’

    Arenaria alfacarensis

    Androsace sempervivoides ‘Susan Joan’

    Androsace himalaica

    Androsace carnea x pyrenaica

    Trillium rivale

    Trillium kurabayashii

    Techophilaea cyanocrocus

    Soldanella ‘Spring Symphony’

    Sebaea thomasii ‘Bychan’

    Scilla libanotica

    Saxifraga ‘Karel Capek’

    Saxifraga grisebachii

    Primula ‘Tony’

    Primula ‘Netta Dennis’

    Primula marginata

    Primula ‘Ingwersen’s A’

    Primula griffithii

    Primula frondosa

    Primula elatior

    Primula ‘Broadwell Milkmaid’

    Primula auricula

    Polygala chamaebuxus grandiflora

    Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’

    Iris bucharica

    Jeffersonia dubia

    Pulsatilla caucasica

    Oxalis enneaphylla

    Lewisia cotyledon

    Iris suaveolens

    Draba longisiliqua


    Dionysia involucrata

    Acis nicaeensis

    Trillium albidum

    Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Flora Plena’

    Salix myrtilloides ‘Red Tassels’

    Ranunculus montanus ‘Molten Gold’

    Pulsatilla vulgaris Alba

    Primula reidii

    Pieris japonica ‘Debutante’

    Pleione formosa

    Primula siebaldii, dark pink form

    Primula siebaldii

    Ranunculus parnassifolia

    Rhododendron ‘Night Sky’

    Trillium sulcatum

    Fritillaria pontica

    Iris cristata

    Lewisia columbiana

    Orostachys spinosa

    Ozothamnus selago

    Lewisia columbiana

    Lewisia ‘George Henley’

    Muscari comosum

    Physoplexis comosa

    Rhododendron ‘Arctic Tern’

    Saxifraga ‘Anneke Hope’

    Scilla verna

    Allium karatvience

    Aster soulii

    Dactylorhizza maculata

    Haberlea rhodopensis

    Jovibarba heufelii

  • Shows

    AGS West Yorkshire Group Spring Show

    The local West Yorkshire Group Spring Show takes place during the May meeting at St Chad’s. Entries are very welcome from any member. The AGM also takes place on this Saturday and there is a short talk by a Group member.

    The Spring Show schedule does not change much from year to year. A pdf of the Spring show schedule for 2022 can be downloaded here:

    Exhibitors in our local shows must be members of the AGS West Yorshire local group for some sections but members of any AGS local group can enter other sections.

    Spring Show, 2018 (photo Di Dark)


    AGS Harlow Carr Show

    The AGS normally hold a national show at RHS Harlow Carr in October which the local AGS West Yorkshire Group help organise. See the main AGS website for details.

    RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate, HG3 1QB

    Show bench AGS Harlow Carr Show, 2018 (photo Di Dark)


    AGS West Yorkshire Group Autumn Show

    The local West Yorkshire Group Autumn Show takes place during the October meeting at St Chad’s. Entries are very welcome from any member.

    The Autumn Show schedule does not change much from year to year. A pdf of the Autumn show schedule for 2018 can be downloaded here:

    Judging the Autumn Show, 2018 with Georgina, Ian, Eric & Trevor (photo Di Dark)

    Exhibitors in our local shows must be members of the AGS West Yorshire local group for some sections but members of any AGS local group can enter other sections.

  • Photo gallery

    Photographs from the display table

    Crocus thirkeasus (syn. C. herbertii)
    Crocus thirkeanus (syn. C. herbertii) – Eric Rainford (photo Matthew Childs)


    Petrocosmea cryptica – Ian Instone (photo Matthew Childs)



    AGS Harlow Carr Show

    Alan Newton, Norma Pagdin, Lawrence Peet & Bob Dark, 2017 (photo Di Dark)


    Gentian, 2017 (photo Di Dark)



    AGS West Yorkshire Autumn Show

    Best Plant in Show Gaultheria procumbens – Ian Instone, 2018 (photo Di Dark)


    Plant stall with Fred Bundy, David Woolveridge & Michael Wilson, 2018 (photo Di Dark)



    AGS West Yorkshire Spring Show

    Primula sieboldii, 2017


    Erigeron aureus ‘Canary Bird’ – Matthew Childs, 2017



    Harrogate Spring Flower Show, 2018

    The AGS exhibit of alpines from different continents made by the West Yorkshire Group and Cleveland Groups (photo Ian Instone)

  • Newsletter

    The Newsletter is published twice a year, in February and August. Copies can be downloaded in pdf format using the links below.

    Newsletter 60. Feb 2015

    Newsletter 61. Aug 2015

    Newsletter 62. Feb 2016

    Newsletter 63. Aug 2016

    Newsletter 64. Feb 2017

    Newsletter 65. Aug 2017

    Newsletter 66. Feb 2018

    Newsletter 67. Aug 2018

    Newsletter 68. Feb 2019

    Newsletter 69. Aug 2019

    Newsletter 70. Feb 2020

    Newsletter 71. Sept 2020





  • Video

    RHS Harlow Carr alpine house & troughs 12th Dec 2020

    It was drizzly at times today at Harlow Carr and it was fairly quiet. Below are links to three videos I took in and around the outside of the alpine house.
    Matthew Childs

    Around the inside of the alpine house:

    Around the outside of the alpine house:

    A closer look at many of the troughs:


  • Links


    Keith Singleton’s John Innes
    This is a top quality John Innes that isn’t widely available. Stocked by Swincar Nurseries, Guisley, LS20 9DL. Tel. 01943 874614.

    Download this pdf for an article by Paul Cumbleton about choosing John Innes composts and some comments about Keith Singleton’s John Innes: Choosing a Potting Compost by Paul Cumbleton (2016)



    Dryad Nursery (Anne Wright’s site):

    Slack Top: The nursery has now closed.

    The Alpine Plant Centre:

    Mendle Nursery:

    Aberconwy Nursery: (with latest Plant List available as a pdf):

    Hartside Nursery Garden:

    Other websites

    York Gate Garden:

    Parcevall Hall Gardens:

    Wakefield & North of England Tulip Society (holds an annual show in May at Horbury, Wakefield):

  • Committee

    Committee officers 2023-2024

    Chair (acting) Julia Mort
    Secretary Cath Burns
    Membership Secretaries Bob & Di Dark
    Programme Secretary Matthew Childs
    Treasurer Pat Bundy
    AGS Harlow Carr Show Ian & Georgina Instone


  • Contact

    Contact Cath Burns for more information: