Four flamingos and a new garden nursery
I’ve just had a sneak preview of the new garden nursery at the Kilver Court Designer Village in Shepton Mallet. The nursery – and the newly restored and replanted ‘secret gardens’ – are opening this Easter weekend. Put together by designer, Mulberry founder and keen plantsman Roger Saul and his wife Monty, you won’t find any garden gnomes or wobbling meerkats here. There are some swanky new residents in the secret gardens too.
Take the steps from the car park to the right of the main Kilver Court buildings (once a Victorian textile mill) to get to the nursery and secret gardens.
It’s a real pleasure to wander around, with herbaceous, alpine and subtropical plants arranged in orderly rows filling the courtyard.
Apparently, every plant in the nursery has personally selected by Roger Saul and has been sourced from specialist plant suppliers and growers around the UK.
There are big plants, like these, soon to be massive, Gunnera….
…and very small ones – loving these succulents.
A nice touch: bright pink wheelbarrows contrasting with the green of the plants. Great care has been taken to make everything look just so.
The Wiggly Shed (you’ll see why when you see it), with its reclaimed corrugated iron roof, mismatched windows and wood-clad walls, is the nursery shop. It’s got the atmos of an airy potting shed, albeit one filled with an (artfully arranged) jumble of plants, bags of bulbs, packets of seeds, garden tools, antique and new collectables, gifts, outdoor furniture and garden accessories. There’s stuff here for the serious gardener as well as lots to tempt those who like to dabble with a dibbler on a sunny day.
There are heart-shaped copper trowels from Implementation (they say they never rust and they’re even supposed to deter slugs) and very professional looking spades and such from Burgon and Ball. They stock seeds from the world’s oldest seed company, the Italian firm Franchi, with both local varieties and a special Kilver Court heritage selection.
You’ll also find Sarah Raven gardening tools and books and gifts by Sophie Conran.
There’s a more out back…
This little bee house caught my eye…
You can have a drink or lunch inside or outside the Sharpham Pantry – it won’t be long before the clematis and jasmine grows up over the new pergola on the terrace .
Many of the plants in the nursery have already been planted up in the borders of the secret garden, so you can have a stroll and get some inspiration if the mood takes you. There are some bronze Alice in Wonderland sculptures by Robert James on show there until 6 April.
The gardens themselves have been revamped and replanted after they were damaged by Storm Frank at the end of last year. Check out the newly opened up rockery and Pink Flamingo Island, which brings me, finally, to George, Ken, Olive and Ivy (named after Roger and Monty’s grandparents)….
Kilver Court Designer Village and Gardens, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5NF. 9.30am-5.30 Mon-Sat; 10am-5pm Sun. kilvercourt.com/secret-gardens