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 site

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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 free

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