The hidden ones, down miniature country lanes, to the big boys that they pop into whenever they have the opportunity. Here are the best garden centres and nurseries in the UK.


Madrona Nursery

This is a charming nursery specialising in trees and shrubs, but with plenty of other rare and unusual excitements to tempt the exacting gardener. It has lovely buildings and café, and courses and a design service are available. Bethersden Kent TN26 3DD.

Special Plants

I also love Derry Watkins’ Special Plants near Bath. She has a brilliant ye for a plant and grows and trials them in her own garden to select the very best. That’s worth a special trip, particularly if you love very long flowering tender perennials and annuals. Special Plants, Greenways Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 8LA.

Meadow Grange

This is my local garden centre and has an exhaustive supply of anything you could need for the garden, including trees, shrubs and perennials, bedding plants and sundries. Homemade composts are a speciality. Honey Hill, Blean Kent CT5 3BP.

Worton Organic Garden

My favourite plant place is Worton Organic. It concentrates on productive plants. It’s more a farm shop than a nursery but they sell brilliant and unusual veg seedling varieties as well as veg. Based outside Oxford, I take a detour to go there if anywhere vaguely near.  Worton Farm, Worton, Near Cassington, Oxfordshire OX29 4SU.

Jekka’s Herb Farm

Jekka’s Herb Farm is brilliant too. Her varieties are tried and tested over decades and her huge and long experience of propagating them mean the plants are quick to get established and grow on big and strong. I have just put in a new herb garden taking her advice on good culinary varieties and only a year on, the plants supplied by her are huge too. Rose Cottage, Shellards Ln, Avon, Bristol BS35 3SY.

Woottens of Wenhaston

Woottens always surprises and enchants with new plants and exciting specialities and varieties to collect: auriculas, irises and scented pelargoniums. They also have a handy mail order catalogue. Wenhaston Halesworth Suffolk IP19 9HD.

Merriments Nursery

Merriments made its reputation by specialising in (and growing a lot of) herbaceous perennials. The big pluses are the knowledgeable staff and the interesting plants on offer. It is the excellence of the cafe, the main other ‘distraction’, that just about makes it into a ‘garden centre’ rather than a nursery. Hawkhurst Road, Hurst Green, East Sussex TN19 7RA.

Sussex Country Gardens

It sells all the usual gear and an ever-improving selection of plants. But I nominate it as much for these as for the excellence of its cafe, its Christmas decorations and friendliness of its staff. Tunbridge Wells Rd, Mark Cross, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3PJ.

Great Dixter

This is a complete day out with a fantastic nursery featuring all the glories to be found in the garden that are also available from their catalogue. They have an eclectic selection of perennials, grasses and clematis. Northern Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH.

(Article source: The Telegraph)

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