Larch Cottage Nurseries – Penrith

If surprise and wonder are your shtick, take 13 minutes out of  your M6 journey north or south and get along to Larch Cottage Nurseries just south of Penrith. I know, it sounds disarmingly underwhelming, and believe me the little terraced cottage entrance compounds the deception, for you have in fact found the horticultural equivalent of J K Rowling’s Platform 12 and three-quarters. It was created by Peter Stott over three decades ago when he was unable to find more unusual plants for his landscaping business. His vision to create a unique visitor experience has, unequivocally, been met. The...

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Highdown Garden – Worthing

Highdown Gardens isn’t your usual garden visit. When Sir Frederick Stern was looking for a safe curator for the eclectic range of plants he had successfully established in a chalk pit above Worthing on the Sussex Coast he eschewed what might have been the more natural choice of the National Trust (they must be spitting teeth), or even, given the uniqueness of his collection, Kew Gardens, and left the garden instead to the stalwart care of Worthing Borough Council. So essentially this rare botanical collection is really just a town park, which has both bonuses and drawbacks. It is...

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Why our gardens will be SO much better in 2017!

Several hard frosts in a row have put paid to any meaningful outdoor gardening activities so it is time instead to lay down some ground rules for 2017. This year I will not buy any new plant that has already given up on me a maximum of three times – in this bracket I can already put Clematis armandii  (four attempts so far) and  Romneya coulteri, the tree poppy (possibly five attempts….) both gorgeous creatures that seem to run rampant in other people’s gardens but fail to get out of the starting blocks in mine. I will put a thick mulch on all...

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