Gardens to visit for planting inspiration

A seasonal selection of gardens and plant nurseries to visit for planting inspiration, chosen by head gardener Mat Reese


There is a whole host of amazing places to visit for planting inspiration at this time of year. Here head gardener Mat Reese recommends a few of his favourite gardens and plant nurseries for you to visit and take a look at what's on offer. 

Cally Gardens
One of the ultimate British destinations for any gardener is Cally Gardens. The late Michael Wickenden amassed one of the best collections of plants at Cally. Michael travelled extensively to source plants, sometimes from the remotest and most inaccessible regions of the world, but specimens were always carefully selected and sensitively collected. He also sourced plants from many other nurseries and gardens internationally. These collections form the heart of the garden. All is idyllically sited within a beautiful walled garden just outside of Gatehouse of Fleet.

Cally Gardens, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire DG7 2DJ. Tel 01557 815029,

Logan Botanic Gardens
After Cally you could continue west to Logan Botanic Gardens near Port Logan on the Rhins of Galloway, the southwestern tip of Scotland. The gardens have a wonderful and unique collection of plants that thrive in this sheltered coastal garden, bathed by Gulf Stream-warmed trade winds. Many plants grown here are quite exotic and are found nowhere else in the UK. Due to the mild climate it has a long growing season and looks good well into the winter.

Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, nr Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway DG9 9ND. Tel 01776 860231,

Dove Cottage Nursery
A long way south, and over the border, is another extremely good nursery worth a visit – the family run Dove Cottage Nursery in Halifax. It holds an excellent and ever-evolving collection of plants comprised mostly of hardy perennials, but also sells a number of tender salvias and quality bedding. There is a small garden attached to the nursery, which is where plants and combinations are trialled, and it is one of the nicest groups of plantings I have ever seen.

Dove Cottage Nursery and Garden, Shibden Hall Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX3 9XA. Tel 01422 203553,


This article was taken from a longer feature in the August issue of Gardens Illustrated (250), on sale now. 

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