I think you will agree with me that the best thing about creating a garden is the opportunity to buy plants. We are fortunate in Norfolk to have a good range of garden centres and nurseries selling plants and garden-related items. Two favourite garden centres are Taverham and Wymondham. Neither maintains on-line plant lists but both can be guaranteed to have a good range of trees, shrubs and perennials.
Where do you go for something more unusual?
For something more unusual why not try a specialist nursery. The Norfolk Nursery Network brings together a number of specialist nurseries in Norfolk selling everything from grasses and herbaceous perennials to shrubs, roses and exotics. I can particularly recommend
- The Romantic Garden Nursery for specimen trees and topiary,
- Thorncroft Clematis for clematis, and
- Urban Jungle for exotics.
That’s not to say that the other nurseries aren’t worth a visit, just that I have personal experience of these three.
For trees, Barcham’s in Ely is a treasure trove of semi-mature specimens with a comprehensive online catalogue and very reasonable delivery charges.
Or you can let someone else do it
If you commission a planting plan from a designer then they will usually offer to source the plants for you. Although some of these will come from the garden centres and nurseries above, many will be obtained from trade-only suppliers. There are advantages to buying your plants this way.
- Many plants are available in smaller sizes than are available retail, so large areas can be planted up more cheaply. This is particularly useful for herbaceous perennials, which grow quite quickly.
- Some trade suppliers will buy-in plants they don’t have so that all your plants come to you from a single place, with a single delivery charge. This alone can save you hours (and £’s) traipsing around the country looking for that elusive cultivar that’s not ‘in-vogue’ this year.
- If a plant you want isn’t available then a suitable substitute can be supplied instead, again saving time and money.
- The designer will often set-out the plants in the garden ready for you to plant, so there is no chance of getting it wrong.
So, where do the professionals go?
My special find this week was a trade nursery, GooseGreen Nurseries, in Beccles. I spent a happy couple of hours looking around and came away with 20 Tiarella ‘Silverado’ I wasn’t expecting to find. By the way, don’t be deceived by the website, they sell larger plants as well.
Treasure troves like this are usually reserved for trade customers, but GooseGreen Nursery opens for charity several times each year. The next open days are 3rd and 5th April (Easter) with all proceeds going to the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (E.A.C.H). So why not go along and support the charity. Let’s face it, even a well-stocked garden has space for that special find.