We don't "get plants in"! We propagate the large bulk of plants here. For two reasons; many of the plants we grow simply cannot be obtained from wholesale outlets which have a depressingly limited range of varieties and so often, their quality leaves a great deal to be desired- they may look good but they have been grown too soft, too fast and pickled in chemicals. More and more we are introducing new plants both of our own selection and those of friends and colleagues in UK and Europe but only those which seem to us to be robust garden plants.
We have cherry picked some of the best herbaceous perennials which we grow in Holbrook Garden and can mail these and most of the best heleniums derived from the UK National Collection, which we hold. Please click on the mail order link on the left for details. Mail order is through the website only and from September to early spring.
All details are in large bold type on the home page.
Print off the map on this site, there's a link on the left. Alternatively look us up on Google Maps. We're just one mile from the M5 motorway in Devon.
No. We've been peat free since 1995. It is a horrible growing medium to which we would not want to return. Our composts are based around composted green waste.
We may never sell it. Don't forget that a plant that is heavily marketed has had a huge capital investment poured into it. But how many plants with Plant Breeders Rights (patents) are still available 10 years later? If, in our judgment, the plant is good then we will sell it, but plants that look very seductive in the pot and in the colour glossies may not live up to expectations. We think this is, at best, misleading and unlikely to encourage long term love of gardening. PBRs mean we are prohibited from propagating these so we have to buy the young plants from elsewhere. We try and judge plants purely on their merits as garden plants and as a matter of principle we have not patented any of our own introductions and nor have any of the plant introducers that we most respect.
As Michael Wickenden of Cally Gardens said in a "Plantsman" article: "PBR are, at best, a way of extracting extra profits from the public, spuriously justified by telling them that they are paying for plant breeding. At worst they are part of a global trend towards the patenting of the natural world that could result in a significant part of the genetic resources that mankind depends on, including food and medicinal plants, being owned by people and corporations who have, in many cases, done nothing to create or even modify them." Read the full article in "The Plantsman"
Look at it this way. We root the cutting or collect and sow the seed. We pot it, water it and weed it on the nursery and sell it to you some months or years later. It hasn't been micropropageted in India or transported from Poland, Holland or Harlow so there's no road or air fuel to pay for. There's no wholesaler who wants his cut so why should it be expensive? To us it seems outrageous to sell a single seedling plant of (say) a foxglove, grown far too soft in a 2 litre pot at about 6 months old for £6.99! Certainly our customers are loyal - some have been coming since 1982 when we opened and our most frequent customer comment is probably "We come back because your plants always grow".
Currently AGMs (Awards of Garden Merit) are awarded to plants that look good on the days of judgment when growing on well drained sandy soil in Surrey (at RHS Wisley) with much lower rainfall than Devon. I think the RHS is aware of the shortcomings of this approach and wants to extend the trials to various sites across the UK. Certainly many plants warrant an AGM but not all. If we think a plant is good then we'll try and grow it.
Yes, the best size is 20-40 people. We're happy to have groups out of hours for evening visits too where we can fit you in! We'll also try and spend some time with you and tell you a little about the garden. Normal entry charges apply. Please ring 01884 821164 during nursery/garden hours to arrange. There is a lot more information if you click the Holbrook garden link on the left.
We try and answer the phone during nursery hours but sometimes its just not possible. The phone message attempts to cover most reasons for calling - directions to get here, opening times etc.