My Life at Kew Gardens - Sun, 24 Jun
I first came to Kew Gardens as a glasshouse trainee at the age of 26, knowing very little of what to expect. It was a year-long course that meant I spent half of the year… Read More..
Herbaceous Plants for Summer Shade - Sun, 24 Jun
The peak time for shade-tolerant plants in the garden is spring; this coincides with the rise in temperatures, increasing day lengths and, in the natural environment, lack of competition for nutrients and moisture from trees… Read More..
What's New at The Walled Gardens of Cannington - Sun, 24 Jun
Cannington Priory (later Cannington Court) was first established in about 1138 by the De Courcy family - lords of nearby Stogursey. The manor and church was given by Robert De Courcy as the main endowment… Read More..
Epimediums - A Love Affair! - Sun, 27 May
It’s always quite interesting when putting together a piece like this to hark back to when you first became attracted to the plant you are writing about. It happened probably more than 20 years ago… Read More..
Aromatica – By the Crush of a Leaf (Part Two) - Sun, 27 May
Which plants to crush a leaf of this time? Well, I did ponder for a while finding it a hard choice but then working with some of the plants on the nursery recently my choices… Read More..
Plant Profile - Sparrmannia Africana - Sun, 27 May
This wonderfully architectural shrub, native to Africa and Madagascar, holds hidden delights and is far more forgiving than you might think of our cold winters, given that its natural home is the the edges of… Read More..
The family Proteaceae is a large family of flowering plants found largely in the Southern Hemisphere, with the greatest ranges being found in South Africa and Australia. There are 83 genera containing over 1600 species,… Read More..
National Collection of Perennial Anthemis - Fri, 11 May
National Collections are vital. Without them untold numbers of cultivars, and the skills required to grow them, would disappear every year as different trends fall in and out of favour with the gardening public and… Read More..
Primula Auriculas – ‘Deserved Merit’ - Fri, 11 May
Auriculas are small, perennial herbaceous plants that thrive in cooler temperatures, either in pots or borders. These charming alpine plants herald originally from the mountain slopes of Central Europe and the Western Alps. Often known… Read More..
How to Succeed with Lavender - Fri, 2 Mar
Spring is an excellent time to plant lavender. Hardy lavender in this country is often referred to as English Lavender, but is actually a Mediterranean wild flower, mainly from France and Italy. It grows primarily… Read More..
My 'Desert Island' Plants - Mandy Bradshaw - Fri, 2 Mar
As a plant-lover, I’m rather fickle. My favourite plant is always the one that’s in flower now. I lurch from one minor obsession to another, falling hopelessly for something only to forget it when the… Read More..
Running Postmen, and The Wonga-Wonga Vine! - Fri, 2 Mar
If the winter period of colder weather has left you and your garden feeling a bit worse for wear, you could be excused for hiding in the conservatory or greenhouse while Spring gets things back… Read More..
2018 Rare Plant Fair Dates - Fri, 8 Sep
During the summer, we've been working hard putting together our programme of Rare Plant Fairs for 2018. Some dates are still to be finalised, but please find below our provisional dates as they currently stand:… Read More..
Hardy Chrysanthemum - Fri, 8 Sep
When we were first married we lived in the Leeward Islands, where my husband, Julian was serving as Chief Dental Officer for the Associated States of St Kitts and Nevis. As accompanying spouses weren’t allowed… Read More..
Autumn Colour Plants from Hillview Hardy Plants - Fri, 8 Sep
“Let’s grab a bite!” said Bee. “Great idea! Where do we meet?” answered Butterfly. “At Diervilla rivularis ‘Honeybee’ of course!” I found this quote on a trade website, describing Diervilla rivularis ‘Honeybee’ It certainly lives… Read More..
A Host of Honeysuckle - Fri, 25 Aug
Shakespeare wrote about it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Scots believe it brings good luck and protects your home from evil spirits, and the Victorians exchanged flowers of it to symbolise true love. Is… Read More..
The Bishop's Palace Gardens in August - Fri, 11 Aug
If you visit The Bishops Palace Gardens in August you can enjoy diverse and densely planted borders full of colour and interest. Since we started to develop the gardens in 2005 we have created borders… Read More..
Sensational Sanguisorba - Fri, 11 Aug
Our first encounter with the genus Sanguisorba was back in the days before we ran our own nursery. For one summer, Teresa helped at an organic herb farm in South Wales, and there we came… Read More..
Living the Dream! - Fri, 21 Jul
In 2013 my husband and I took on a restoration project of an old derelict Walled Garden and over the next 5 years would be involved in its many ups and downs before its final… Read More..
Hill Close Gardens - Fri, 21 Jul
Hill Close Gardens is one of only four surviving detached Victorian leisure gardens in the UK and is the only fully restored example open to the public. Leisure gardens were common on the outskirts of… Read More..
Experiments with Echinacea - Fri, 21 Jul
Thumbing through plant catalogues is a favourite pastime of mine, and a lot can be learnt about availability and the differences between cultivars of the same genus. We have always grown the Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea,… Read More..
Why Rare Plant Fairs are Important! - Fri, 14 Jul
Once we get hooked on gardens and gardening, we all become fascinated with new and unusual plants. Whether we specialise in collecting a particular group of plants such as roses, snowdrops, irises, etc. (our personal… Read More..
MRI Scanner Project at Cobalt - Fri, 14 Jul
The Rare Plant Fair at Highnam Court is the second this year that is being hosted in conjunction with Cobalt Health, to help raise funds to support the work of our medical charity. In our… Read More..
The Walled Gardens of Cannington - Fri, 23 Jun
The Walled Gardens of Cannington have a rich history which dates back to 1138 when Cannington Priory was first established by the De Courcy family, lords of nearby Stogursey village. More recently the priory and… Read More..
We grow a wide range of alpines and herbaceous perennials, with up to 1000 varieties throughout the year. Spring is the time when the alpines take centre stage, but the flowering period can be extended… Read More..
It's a Pellie Revolution! - Fri, 16 Jun
They’ve had a long and chequered history. They have had their name so well and truly muddled up that it’s almost become a national obsession getting it wrong. They’ve been divided up as a family,… Read More..
Waterperry Gardens: 85 Years of Saxifrages - Fri, 16 Jun
Valerie Finnis VMH (1924-2006) Valerie was at Waterperry Horticultural School for Women from 1942 until 1971; unfortunately I did not meet her until 1972. In 1971 I had developed an interest in alpine plants and… Read More..
Dazzling Dierama - Fri, 2 Jun
Dierama are otherwise known as angel’s fishing rods or wand flowers, and with over 40 species and numerous hybrids they have become very popular in the last few years. These beautiful members of the Iris… Read More..
The Unexpected Gardens of Hanham Court - Fri, 2 Jun
Not so far away from the madding crowds of Bristol & Bath, lies Hanham Court Gardens. Hidden away in a far rural corner of suburbia, among the fields, is a narrow, winding lane that leads… Read More..
Pacific Coast Iris - Sat, 27 May
Pacific coast iris are a small group of species from the west coast of North America. The 14 species range from southern California to southwest Washington State. Most are evergreen and range in height from… Read More..
Erodium - Enchanting but Elusive - Sat, 27 May
Those of you who know us well know that here at Rare Plant Fair we’re quite partial to a hardy Geranium. They were a speciality of our nursery before we retired, being Teresa’s passion, and… Read More..
Aromatica – By the Crush of a Leaf: Part 1 - Fri, 19 May
When choosing plants for our gardens we tend to look firstly for colour, then form and how to incorporate these two important aspects into creating an overall planting scheme. But do we think of scent… Read More..
Spotty Dotty meets HiViz Yellow! - Fri, 19 May
Podophyllum My initial attraction to this less than common, woodland perennial of the Berberidaceae family, was the handsome leaf, that emerges through the ground like an umbrella. The leaf unfurls to reveal that it has,… Read More..
Alternative Lawns to Increase Garden Biodiversity - Fri, 5 May
Mixed species lawns are not a new idea, in fact they’ve been around quite a while. Yet, despite our aims to increase biodiversity and reduce our impact on the environment, alternative lawns have often been… Read More..
My Favourite Succulents - Fri, 5 May
I’ve always had a soft spot for succulents, if you excuse the pun. The range seen in nurseries and gardens gets ever wider. The usual worry for customers is hardiness. But.... there are so many… Read More..
A Potted History of Local Medical Charity Cobalt - Fri, 31 Mar
We are a medical charity helping people affected by cancer, dementia and other conditions. We believe everyone should have access to the best medical imaging for their diagnosis. We invest in equipment, research and education… Read More..
Helping to Grow the Next Generation - Fri, 31 Mar
It’s so easy to take your gardening knowledge for granted, to assume that everyone understands terms like perennial, knows what a mulch is or even how to sow seeds. It isn’t always the case. Coming… Read More..
Hedging your bets! - Fri, 31 Mar
The way we plant climbers here at Roseland House has been influenced a lot by having to find homes for over 500 of them in what is not a huge garden, so planting them in… Read More..
Japanese Maples and Other Fabulous Foliage - Fri, 31 Mar
The foliage of a tree or shrub can often give as much colour and interest as a flowering plant and amongst the best foliage trees are the Japanese Maples. Ranging in size from low,spreading and… Read More..
Lilies for the Garden - Fri, 24 Mar
“If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily” - Chinese Proverb Lilium 'Arabian Night' Lilies are an easy range of bulbs to grow. There are varieties that are good for either… Read More..
Erysimum - Fri, 24 Mar
Erysimum, formerly known as Cheirianthus, is a family of around 80 species of evergreen biennials and short-lived perennials that hail from Europe to North Africa, Central Asia and North America, suggesting that their predecessors occupied… Read More..
Primulas are Back in Vogue - Fri, 10 Mar
Primula: quite literally translated, this means the first flower and to those of us who are just a novice it is a sign of spring, that little flower that cheers us whilst driving down the… Read More..
Heavenly Hellebores - Fri, 10 Mar
Photo: Clive Nichols At a time of year when the frost and winter chill deter most gardeners from venturing forth into their gardens, the flower buds of the Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus) are pushing… Read More..
A Year in Our Garden - Fri, 9 Sep
One of the consequences of retiring from the nursery business this year is that we’ve had much more time to spend in our own garden. Like many in the nursery trade, we found it difficult… Read More..
Bob's Autumn Selection - Fri, 9 Sep
Nerine Say it how you will, ner-eee-nee, ner-eye-knee, ner-een, they’re still one of the plants that make us feel better. You don’t have to grow them merely catch sight of a front- garden coruscating pink… Read More..
With Fronds Like These, Who Needs Anemones? - Fri, 9 Sep
Gardeners usually think of ferns as a solution to a shade problem. They’re better than that and, yes they do grow in shade – both damp and dry - but they also grow in sun… Read More..
2017 Rare Plant Fair Dates - Fri, 26 Aug
During the summer, we've been working hard putting together our programme of Rare Plant Fairs for 2017. Some dates are still to be finalised, but please find below our provisional dates: March 19th -… Read More..
A New Day for Michaelmas Daisies - Fri, 26 Aug
Michaelmas Daisy is a commonly-used, non-scientific name for a group of beautiful, jewel-coloured perennials which bloom late in the season and have been considered as part of the genus Aster for centuries. They were classified, using observation,… Read More..
A Blooming Feast - Fri, 26 Aug
Late summer and early autumn is my favourite time of the year. I love the golds, reds and russet colours of flowers and foliage which seem enhanced by the lower sunlight levels. It is also… Read More..
Exciting Echinacea - Fri, 29 Jul
There are a number of plant genera that have undergone an explosion in popularity over recent years, borne out of the efforts of talented and dedicated plant breeders to develop new and interesting varieties. Heuchera… Read More..
Going WILD at Lyneal Mill - Fri, 29 Jul
Mention wildlife gardening and I suspect most people think of a nettle patch, some long grass at the end of the garden and maybe a Hawthorn hedge. The truth is that these stereotype habitats are… Read More..
The Modern Approach to Rose Growing - Fri, 17 Jun
Roses hold a special place in people's hearts; they may complain about thorns, and say they don't like them, but even they can't resist sticking their noses in and having a little smile! Growing roses… Read More..
Alliums for All Seasons - Fri, 17 Jun
Not just another Allium! People really should be growing a greater variety of edible alliums than just onions, chives and leeks! There are three very useful Alliums that are easily grown and can add so… Read More..
The Walled Garden at Waterperry - Fri, 17 Jun
2016 is going to be an exciting year for Waterperry gardens as, after much deliberation, we have decided to put in to action the refurbishment of the Walled Garden. Plans have been drawn up, beds… Read More..
New Fairs for 2017 - Fri, 10 Jun
We are delighted to let you know of two new Fairs that we will be holding in 2017. The first is at a new venue for us, The Walled Gardens at Cannington, near Bridgwater in Somerset.… Read More..
Plants that turn me ON! - Sun, 29 May
Spring is just about making way to Summer (well, a man can dream), and after a really wet winter the gardens are now finally coming to life.That means it’s time to tuck in and see… Read More..
Flowering Dogwoods - Sun, 29 May
Although there are up to sixty different Cornus species, I am going to concentrate on just three, Cornus florida, C. Nuttallii and C. Kousa. These three species are the ones usually recognisable in late spring and… Read More..
Sage the Saviour - Sun, 29 May
The name Salvia derives from Salvare; to heal or save, with Salvus meaning uninjured or whole, referring to the several species of Salvia with medicinal properties. The Roman scientist and historian Pliny the Elder was… Read More..
Fifty Shades of Green - The Wonderful World of Ferns - Fri, 20 May
There are lots of different ferns in many shades of green and, although they are subtle, other colours too. Ferns can make a dark dull alley into something interesting. You could make a stumpery, like… Read More..
Growing Orchids in Your Garden - Fri, 20 May
Having orchids in the garden is every gardeners dream. It is usually considered that this is an impossible thing to reproduce artificially, but at Bewdley Orchids this is exactly what we do. While a large… Read More..
40 Years at The Cottage Herbery - Sun, 8 May
Here at The Cottage Herbery we celebrate 40 years as a small specialist Herb nursery in June of this year. It all began with purchasing one curly parsley and a gift of the paperback ‘Herbs… Read More..
New Varieties from Hillview Hardy Plants - Sat, 7 May
As I am just putting the finishing touches to our 2016 plant list, I thought I would share some of the new plants we are stocking this year. Cirsium rivulare ‘Frosted Magic’ This is a… Read More..
Corokia - Fri, 29 Apr
C. cotoneaster in flower. “So why do you like corokias?” It’s a question I get asked a lot. They are not in your face, but there is a subtle beauty to them. It’s a genus… Read More..
Geums for the Herbaceous Border - Fri, 29 Apr
Geums make wonderful, easy to grow garden plants They are especially useful because they start flowering before the main flush of herbaceous perennials giving colour from April onwards and also provide an early nectar source… Read More..
Lapageria Rosea - The Chilean Bell Flower - Sun, 10 Apr
Sometimes known as Josephine's Bell Flower, Lapageria rosea was first described for science in 1804 and named after Napolean Bonapart's wife, Tascher de la Pagerie being her maiden name. In some ways a shame as… Read More..
Fuelling Stations for Butterflies - Sun, 10 Apr
When we started our nursery, fourteen years ago, we had relatively few butterflies visiting the nursery. Now we have identified 25 species, many of which are now breeding. Last year the Marbled Whites, Skippers and… Read More..
Tortworth Plants’ Top Alpines for the Spring - Sun, 3 Apr
People often consider alpines to be temperamental and difficult to grow, but this is really not the case. There are some varieties that do need special treatment and an alpine house to grow well, but… Read More..
Planting Wild Flowers for Bumble Bees - Sun, 3 Apr
There are 24 species of bumble bee in the UK. We all know that honey bees are threatened at the moment, by viruses, colony collapse and pesticide use. Well, our native wild bees are suffering… Read More..
Daphnes - Fabulous Fragrance and More - Fri, 25 Mar
Wonderful scent is always the first thing that attracts people to Daphnes; not surprising as the best known plants of this family flower in Winter and early Spring and can fill the whole garden with… Read More..
Never Underestimate the Power of Magnolias - Fri, 25 Mar
Magnolias are a true treat to us. These vigorous trees and shrubs can reach the height of 110 feet in their native habitat of wet and swampy forests. Even though they don’t reach this height in… Read More..
A Rose by Any Other Name… and for Any Situation - Wed, 9 Mar
We all love roses. They are the nation’s favourite flower, a symbol of all things British and no ‘English Country Garden’ would be complete without them but, with so many thousands of roses to choose… Read More..
What's New at The Bishop's Palace - Wed, 9 Mar
What a mild winter! Just when you think spring cannot get any earlier, it arrives at Christmas! In actual fact we did not have a dormant period following the historic warm December. Our Magnolia stellata… Read More..
New Fair for 2016 - Tue, 10 Nov
We are delighted to holding our first fair at Winterbourne House and Gardens, in Birmingham, on May 15th 2016. The seven acres of Arts and Crafts inspired gardens are home to over 6000 species of… Read More..
Turning up the Heat - Fri, 11 Sep
As the gardens and borders at Llanover House will demonstrate, late summer and autumn offer a great opportunity to develop and plant high impact borders in bright and fiery colour schemes. Why is this? Firstly,… Read More..
Time to be Inspired for 2016 - Fri, 11 Sep
The 15 acre garden, arboretum and park at Llanover, which is hosting a Rare Plant Fair on 20th September, displays the work of seven generations of the same family designing and continuously planting it since… Read More..
Shrubs for Autumn Colour - Fri, 11 Sep
The first plant most people associate with autumn colour is one of the many varieties of Acer palmatum, but being most gardeners already recognise these I will concentrate on the many alternative colour autumn foliage… Read More..
For the Love of Salvias - Mon, 31 Aug
I really don’t know when this romance began as I have been growing salvias for the last 25 years but since I have been at Adwell this romance has blossomed. I think I started with… Read More..
Ornamental Grasses - Fri, 14 Aug
Ornamental grasses are one of the iconic plants of the late summer garden. They have been made popular by the advocates of the ‘new perennial’ movement, such as Piet Oudolf, with their most well-known use… Read More..
A Miscellany of Autumn Perennials - Fri, 14 Aug
Late summer and autumn perennials, as well as providing us with a wonderful display of many vibrant colours, can be essential as a source of food for late flying butterflies and other insects especially for… Read More..
Fuchsia and Penmere Plants - Fri, 24 Jul
Growing up in Cornwall everyone had fuchsia in their gardens. The many different varieties were a staple at the back of the garden border. But it was not until we were semi-retired we began to… Read More..
The Best of Both Worlds - Itoh (Intersectional) Paeonies - Fri, 24 Jul
Combining the best of herbaceous and tree paeonies, Itoh hybrids are long lived garden plants that grow like a normal garden paeony but look like a tree paeony. They produce strong growing and very floriferous… Read More..
Connoisseurs Plants from Hillview Hardy Plants. - Fri, 24 Jul
When we come to plant sales, we like to bring a few plants that people may not know but which are easy to grow. Our soil is very sandy so most of the plants will… Read More..
Easy Late Perennials - Fri, 3 Jul
There are many plants that are easy to grow, fairly free of pest and disease and flower late into the year. These plants, as organic growers, are very useful to us. They will grow and… Read More..
Fantastic Phlox - Fri, 3 Jul
Few plants are more evocative of a summer garden than Phlox paniculata. Erect, with soft, open heads of lightly scented flowers, the phlox is the very epitome of the English garden. But like so much… Read More..
Wildwood Wonders Coming to Waterperry - Fri, 19 Jun
Here at Wildwood, I like to grow plants that are a little out of the ordinary. I source a lot of my seed from other countries such as North America and South Africa. Although a… Read More..
Desirable Delphiniums - Fri, 19 Jun
It's mid summer and perennial borders all over the country are bursting at the seams with plants and colour. At the back of many of those borders there are a group of plants that have… Read More..
The Gardens at Waterperry - Fri, 19 Jun
The main herbaceous border has been at Waterperry at least 80 years, when Beatrix Havergal set up her gardening school for young women, in 1932. It is a border of three seasons, early, mid and… Read More..
Give Your (Rare) Plants the Support they Deserve! - Fri, 5 Jun
Plants that have flopped do not enhance a garden! Gardeners often spend a great deal of money, love and time on the plants they choose for their gardens, but one of the kindest things you… Read More..
Scabious : A butterfly’s best friend - Fri, 29 May
Summer is upon us and the garden at this time of year is lush and abundant and (hopefully)overflowing with blooms. Mine is also filled with butterflies but, this is not the case in every garden… Read More..
Hardy Geraniums - Fri, 29 May
Hardy geraniums are now a deservedly popular and fashionable family of hardy perennials. They are reliable, easy to grow and beautiful, and are favourites with gardeners because of their usefulness in a wide variety of… Read More..
The Gardens at Pyt House - Fri, 29 May
Pyt House sits at the bottom of the north Berkshire Downs in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The house was originally a small farmhouse in the 15th Century, added to in the 18th Century,… Read More..
Plants for Insects - Fri, 22 May
As a beekeeper I am very concerned to ensure that my garden provides nectar and honey for the honey bees in my hives as well as other pollinating insects. There is, in my opinion, a… Read More..
We’re not just Parsley and Thyme - Fri, 22 May
Why do we herb growers attend something called a Rare Plant Fair you might ask? Well it’s because we do grow a number of hard to find unusual edible plants besides the large quantities of… Read More..
H. Avray Tipping and his garden at High Glanau Manor - Fri, 22 May
Words can hardly express how I felt when I first saw High Glanau in 2002. A perfect Arts & Crafts house, set on a steep hillside above Monmouth with its spectacular views over the Vale… Read More..
The Wonderful World of the Spiky Agave - Fri, 15 May
When I moved to a house with a large garden I was looking for plants to fill the blank canvas I was faced with. I didn’t realise then that a chance discovery of an Agave… Read More..
Fifty Shades of Green - Fri, 15 May
Asarums Asarums are a really useful evergreen ground cover for that deeply shaded spot. We have seen Asarum europaeum growing really well under the dense shade of a holm oak in the Oxford Botanic Gardens.… Read More..
The Wonderful World of Perennial Violas - Thu, 2 Apr
Violas are plants with personality, which is what attracted us to them in the first place, their smiling faces and sunny disposition. On our nursery in South Shropshire we grow a lot of violas, 180… Read More..
For the Love of Lilacs - Thu, 2 Apr
Lilacs, or Syringa, are a widely grown range of trees and shrubs admired as much for their exquisite fragrance as for the beautiful profusion of flowers they produce each spring. Most gardeners would recognise the… Read More..
Cobalt in a Nutshell - Thu, 2 Apr
Cobalt is an independent medical charity helping people affected by cancer, dementia and other life-limiting conditions. Each year we provide diagnostic imaging for over 24,000 patients at Cobalt Imaging Centre in Cheltenham and with our… Read More..
New Developments at Evenley Wood - Sun, 22 Mar
It doesn't matter if you are a tree lover, take a fancy to bulbs or if you are a keen gardener with a love for the natural environment. With our extensive collections of trees, shrubs… Read More..
Spring Forth! - Sun, 22 Mar
Spring is always an uplifting and promising time of year especially after the dreary months following Christmas. It is not only a time for rebirth and new life in the garden but also an opportunity… Read More..
Trilliums – not hard to grow - Sun, 22 Mar
Many of us, gardeners and naturalists, have had our interest and imagination captured by Trilliums. They are desirable plants due to their striking appearance and showy flowers. Their relative scarcity in gardens, the perceived difficulties… Read More..
The Gardens at the Bishops Palace - Sat, 14 Mar
The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens is the site of a stunning medieval Palace – home to the Bishops of Bath & Wells for over 800 years. In the gardens, the wells that give the City… Read More..
Clematis viticella - Sat, 14 Mar
Clematis viticella If you haven’t already discovered them, the clematis varieties based on the species Clematis viticella will alter your perception of clematis being somewhat difficult to grow plants. The actual species is found in… Read More..