Knoll Gardens is one of my favourite display gardens to visit. This award-winning nursery’s staff will be beavering away at the preparations for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 as I speak. Winners of consecutive gold medals for their exhibits this past 9 years. I am quite sure 2011 will see them reach their decade of these awards.
I was down in the Dorset and Hampshire areas the week before last.
Not only did I visit Knoll Gardens, I went to the nursery of Phoenix Perennial Plants, and met the proprieter, Marina Christopher. I’d wanted to visit there for some time, and was glad to finally get there. More of this in a subsequent post.
This nursery is one of the best grass nurseries in the UK, often having new varieties that you hear of only in US gardening articles – and then as a mention. Here you can quite often buy these plants. Or at the very least see them growing.
The style of gardening is sustainable, not much bedding out or artificial heat/forcing. Nor is there much watering and fertilising and garden chemicals required – beyond the essentials – the initial pre-planting ground preparation.
This is very much a new style, even more to my mind strict in its principles than the works of Piet Oudolf. His palette is wonderful of course, but it doesn’t always work in the UK quite as well as on the Continent. Our winters are often more stormy and wet, bringing down sculptural dead stems long before the end of winter.
At Knoll you know the plants are tried and tested under UK conditions. Far from being a balmy South Coast garden, Knoll is in a frost pocket. The plants here are hardy ones.
Flowering plants are combined with the grasses, and the actual garden attached to the nursery is very much worth a visit, having some woodland and shrubby elements, relict plantings of exotic and immense eucalypts, water gardens, and areas more or less formal.
It really is worth a visit if you are in the Bournemouth area. Plus it is right by the Trehane Camellia Nursery, so you can combine the visits.