Saturday, 21 May 2011

Virtual HRT

Although I seem to have spent much of the last three years with my nose in one gardening book or another I don't have firm planting plans for any of the new beds. I know in broad brush terms what sort of plants I am going to use but haven't got a specific list prepared. Friday afternoon I managed to locate a small nursery in Distington. Like many small businesses in this part of the world they seem to operate in stealth mode and last time I tried to find them I failed - no signage, no car park, just a glimpse of polytunnel from the road if you happen to look through the trees in the right direction at the right time.

Yet looking at this image nicked from Google maps you can see how big the site is ......

And also in mad west Cumbrian style the place was deserted - apart from a very elderly neighbour who was wandering around and told me they've gone up the village to cut some grass. This was no bad thing because it allowed me to wander alone for the best part of two hours up and down every single bit of the surprisingly large site making notes of which plants looked good. The owners did turn up after a while and we had a chat.

It would be very easy to dismiss R & J Bennett. It is a tatty, untidy place and there are weeds everywhere. The owners are definitely not as young as they were and, I suspect, run a huge site with no outside assistance. But, persevere and hidden amongst the dross are some beautiful specimens, at ridiculously cheap prices and everything grown here is fully hardy and perfectly suitable for this part of the world.

Home with numerous pages of plant names to be cross-checked with my favourite gardening books and a shopping list compiled.

Same game on Saturday. This time off to Keith Singleton's excellent Seaview nursery just south of St Bees. This is a far bigger operation and Keith is known up and down the country for his composts (made on site) and the quality of the plants he supplies to small nurseries and professional growers. Fortunately nearly all of his stock is under giant polytunnels so I was able to wander without getting soaked.

His site is amazing but access is restricted to just the right-hand third you can see here. The rest is where bulk propagation and growing take place, plus the compost making. Next door (bottom of picture) is Lamberlea, a small garden centre which must struggle desperately being next door to Seaview - or perhaps they benefit from passing trade? Their plants aren't particularly exciting but they do have a great range of pond stuff, however, today it was too wet and too late for me to visit.

Two afternoons full of virtual gardening HRT and all I spent was petrol and a coffee at Seaview.


  1. Forget the virtual stuff - just get on and get some bought! That garden of yours will never mature until it gets planted up. A few nice plants popped in the ground are definitely the best way to find inspiration for the rest. You can always move then again if they end up in the wrong spot. It's like musical plants over here ;-)

  2. Stop bullying me {giggle}. Anyway, that was Friday, if you could see what I've got in the back of my car right now I suppose you'd be nagging me because they weren't in the ground yet.

  3. I love buying new plants ,,, pleased to hear that you have bought some, can't wait to see what they are. It's often like musical plants here too although I'm not as bad as I used to be, probably because there is less room for manoeuvre as things (things that are left in one place that is!)mature. Plans are no good anyway ,,, plants mostly just do their own thing!

  4. Don't tell me you've been to a garden centre today. Are you completely mad (Why do I ask questions I already know the answer to?). And yes, I would have them planted by now. You know me, if it needs doing, it needs doing NOW!

  5. Jill, I know you and CB are happy to move things around but I have enough work to do in this garden - much simpler if I can get most things in the right place first time.

    CB - no, not even you would have got today's haul planted before bedtime.

  6. "much simpler if I can get most things in the right place first time" - I'll hold you to that!

  7. you do that CB, and I'll remind you there is an IF and MOST in that sentence!


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