<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Devon’s garden heroes and highlights

PUBLISHED: 17:21 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:21 27 March 2017

Path winds through the Summer Garden

Path winds through the Summer Garden

Garden House

As he gears up for his annual Devon Garden Festival next month, presenter and writer Toby Buckland chooses some of his garden heroes and highlights

Devon has a rich horticultural heritage and fabulous gardens including Rosemoor, Knightshayes and Killerton which rightly deserve their high profile. However there are many less vaunted locations, nurseries that deserve to be better known and gardening heroes that quietly influence the way we grow and what we plant in our gardens.

Here is my pick of some of the horticultural faces and places that should be better known.

Katherine Miles, Willow Artist

Willow weaver and recent star of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Katherine Miles has an extraordinary ability to capture her subjects in willow, whether a woven stag, heron or pocket-watch toting White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Katherine’s sculptures always bring dynamism to any landscape and are incredibly lifelike. Katherine runs courses through the year and can work to commission but get in quick, because she’s very much in demand! artisan-willow.com or call 07762 387347

Willow deer family Willow deer family

Dartington Hall Gardens

Its undulating landscape is sliced with horizontal planes into the grass giving it a contemporary but timeless feel, enhanced by sculptures and artwork by amongst others Henry Moore and Peter Randall-Page.

At this time of year the bulbs are coming up and the leaves just starting to unfurl. One of Devon’s best known cultural centres and home of the Ways With Words Festival but unstuffy enough to be a favourite with my younger children who love to play hide and seek among the pillar-like tree trunks and clipped conifers.

Thornhayes Nursery

The place to find trees in Devon, this Cullompton nursery has been owned and run by Kevin Croucher and wife Pat since 1991. Kevin specialises in trees of all descriptions and boasts one of the widest selections in the UK including specialist varieties of ornamental trees, fruit and hedging.

Having celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2016, Kevin claims 60,000 trees in the British landscape are the result of his design and propagating knife. Quite an achievement!

An international expert on trees, it’s good to have Kevin on our doorstep here in Devon. Check out his website for winter fruit training courses, Thornhayes Nursery, thornhayes-nursery.co.uk; 01884 266746

Growers Organics

Producing high-quality organic vegetable, herb and flower plants and seeds from their South Devon Nursery, Growers Organics - run by passionate plantswoman Joa Grower - raise all their plants by hand and run the nursery on environmental and ethical principles backed by 25 years of garden experience – 18 of which have been in nurseries.

Their comprehensive range of veggies, seeds, herbs, fruit and sundries – all certified organic - can be bought by mail order or by taking a trip to the nursery which is open from March to September. growersorganics.com; 01752 881180

Urban and Rural Plants

Based at Matford, near Exeter, this hidden away tree and architectural plant nursery is one of Exeter’s best kept secrets. Sourcing from around the globe and supplying to garden acolytes including Chelsea Flower Show designers, Sam and Lee have their finger on the garden fashion pulse but also know what will do well in your garden, whether it’s a cloud-pruned privet or an exotic date palm.

Many of the plants sourced for Chelsea show gardens find their way onto sale in the nursery, so if you’re after something really special… They also offer a landscape and design service. urbanandruralplants.co.uk; 01392 253266

Nicky Scott

I’ve known and worked with Nicky Scott for years on our garden festivals, where he gives demonstration of his composting craft. And what he doesn’t know about making compost isn’t worth knowing!

Director of Devon’s Community Resource Network and Chair of Devon Growing Schools Nicky is a consultant helping businesses, schools, and community groups make the most of resources they might otherwise throw away. He is ‘Dr Compost’ and can be contacted at nicky@proper-job.org

Atlantic Botanic Atlantic Botanic

Atlantic Botanic

Many of Devon’s gardens are on the coast but many more sit on high ground and are exposed to winds, making growing conditions difficult.

For plants to survive they need to be tough and that’s where Atlantic Botanic nursery comes in.

Started by Alan Godsmark and Kay Tudor who met at RHS Rosemoor, this three-acre nursery is based behind the sand dunes of Braunton Burrows.

Here they grow and sell an inspiring range of wind and salt-tolerant plants hailing from South Africa and New Zealand, including agapanthus, red hot poker, osteospermum, architectural phormium and exotic ginger lilies, canna and passionflower, as well as ‘beachy’ grasses which dance in the breeze.

atlanticbotanic.co.uk; 01271 816225

The Garden House

The Garden House is a plant spotter’s paradise with a wealth of unusual and rare plants. Covering ten acres, its appeal lies in the way it’s divided into smaller gardens and scenes.

Features to look out for include the granite standing stones and serpentine walls. There’s also a romantic walled garden, 16th century ruins and flowering meadows, cottage garden with drift planting and terraced lawns. Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton PL20 7LQ, 01822 854769, open every day except Monday 10.30-5pm, adults £7.20

Hillhouse Nursery

Once the vicarage of Landscove near Ashburton and taken over in 1981 by Ray and Sacha Hubbard to become Hillhouse Nursery, selling a huge range of rare and tender perennials and climbers.

Ray pioneered the use of biological controls, using natural predators instead of chemicals to combat greenhouse pests.

He is a remarkable grower too, with a long list of plants he has bred and named including Nemesia ‘Bluebird’ which has sold more than 13 million plants worldwide. Open 50 weeks a year except Christmas. hillhousenursery.com; 01803 762273

You can meet many of Toby’s Devon Garden Heroes at Toby’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle on 28 and 29 April 2017. Tickets cost £10 and are available from the Powderham Castle Plant Centre or online tobygardenfest.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

12:40

On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps – the aviation element of the Army – became the Royal Air Force, which means that April 2108 sees the 100th Anniversary of the RAF. KEN DELVE looks at the RAF’s presence in the county over those 100 years

Read more
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

The new owners’ renovation is expected to last a year and is planning to provide guests with vastly different experiences to what is currently offer

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Every year local families vote for their favourite Devon family-friendly attraction as part of the Primary Times Reader Star Awards - here are 11 places they have chosen as some of their favourites

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sprinkled throughout Devon’s cities, towns and villages are some of the most picture-perfect roads and lanes you could ever wish to see. Those of you who are fortunate enough to live on one of these 11 streets will know exactly what we’re talking about

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

TONY JACKSON goes underground to find a centuries-old part of Devon’s past, the legacy of which still remains relevant to all of our lives today

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bike-friendly Exeter is a great place to explore on two wheels. Chrissy Harris talks to the cyclists helping to promote pedal power in the city

Read more
Thursday, March 15, 2018

A new visitor centre at The Donkey Sanctuary sheds new light on the charity’s global mission, writes Owen Jones.

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

As both a location for many classic works and as a producer of iconic authors, Devon has rich ties to the literary world. How brushed up are you on these connections?

Read more
Friday, March 9, 2018

From stunning sunsets over Barnstaple to meeting the Dartmoor ponies, we have 23 reasons that prove Devon is the prettiest county…

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Whether it’s the culture, nightlife, food & drink, shopping or the family-friendly atmosphere, there’s so many reasons for you to love Exeter. We’ve picked 24 but we know there are so many more

Read more
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search