Tithonia rotundifoliaOur History

The Hardy Plant Society/Mid-Atlantic Group was formed in 1986 by Joanne Walkovic and Jean SchumacherJoanne, a fashion designer and talented gardener in Philadelphia, was a great fan of the Hardy Plant Society in England where she visited yearly.  Jean was a horticulturalist and a former Assistant Director of Tyler Arboretum and the American Horticultural Society's Plant Science Data Center. The women persuaded well-known garden experts and educators to lend weight to the organization, and membership climbed. Today more than 700 belong.

Education has been stressed from the start. There are workshops for beginners and special interest groups (SIGs) for those interested in deeper study. Our newsletter features articles by members and professional garden writers, and our popular garden tours have allowed members to visit unique private gardens in the US, Canada and overseas.

Making rare seeds and plants available is also a major focus. Plant sales feature specialty retail and wholesale growers from up and down the Eastern seaboard, and the Members' Plant Sale is an annual favorite. The seed exchange has been a hit from the beginning, drawing donors from arboreta and rare plant nurseries, in addition to area gardeners. Best of all is the companionship of other gardeners.

In 2000, while visiting gardens and nurseries in England, Joanne was tragically killed in an automobile accident. The Hardy Plant Society commemorates her in a yearly lecture.  Jean, with her husband Phil, who collects bamboo, continues tending her Wallingford garden and watching over the Hardy Plant Society with a founder's pride.