The World’s Best Nurseries Series: No 1.

Whenever I go plant shopping, lingering time is built in.  The notebook, pencil and camera tag along.  There is nothing quite like a good nursery to give ideas for planting combinations. Or to offer up a completely new herbaceous ingredient.   Experimental candidates in pots make it into the car boot to take home and trial.  Compulsive plant buying, kept at bay for a decade, is on the upsurge.  But now as a designer, it becomes duty.

There are nurseries out there that I could waste days in and so now starts an occasional posting on such places.  To me, they are the delicatessens of the horticultural world.  A twist of sumach, a sliver of chorizio or however that translates into roots and shoots.

My number one favourite is Woottens of Wenhaston, in the far-flung Suffolk, not far off the road to Southwold.  Woottens operates out of a sleek black shack, clock-topped by a sythe wielding mannikin.  I think he sends down a hoseful of water on the hour.  That might be a dream though.  And there is a busy packing station right there in the back for their on-line business.  Copious quantities of starch potato chips are used.

The owner, Mike Loftus, will give you snippets of wisdom – what goes with what.  These are tasting menu suggestions that are worth savouring.

Parking up, visitors  find themselves in a nursery jam brimful of  pots – there is pretty much always a rainbow display in staging, colours chosen to be set off by the black background.   The grass collection and variety of hardy geraniums are good – Mike has  fields of daylilies and bearded irises which are wonderful for a visit in season.  There is a polytunnel of pelargoniums (geraniums of the pot type to you and me).  The rest of the site is laid out for shade and sun.  A handy piece of guidance this.

scuttelaria incana Never an empty-handed visit, Scuttelaria incana made it away with me last week, Mikes words “it looks good with Echinacea purpurea Ruby Giant’ echoing  in my ears.


  1. Helen says:

    I am beginning to seek out nursery more other than garden centres. Discovered that Bob Brown’s isnt far from me which was an expensive discovery

  2. hazeltree says:

    ah, yes, time seems to stand still when you enter a good nursery…and what joy to natter to someone who is keen to share their favourite plant combinations…

  3. Janet says:

    When i commented on your most recent post, i then realised that it was No3 and i hadn’t seen the other two! When the season gets going a bit I will look at some of our local plant providers…

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