Talks and Visits to the garden

Talks for 2021/2022

21st century Cottage Gardens

Everyone loves cottage gardens. This talk is an examination of how our concept of cottage gardening has changed over the centuries and how it seems to be developing in the 21st century. (1hr flexible) Powerpoint presentation.


With the publication of Sally’s new book, ‘The Plant Lover’s Guide to Epimediums’ by Timber Press, this talk covers the more widely grown species and forms, and introduces 21st century gardeners to the beautiful new species from China, and the hybrids that have been developed over the past 10 years, and are still being bred. (1hr. flexible) Powerpoint presentation.

Great Gardens of the World

Visit some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, from Italy, through Canada, to Brazil. (1hr flexible) Powerpoint presentation.


Once ‘too popular’ in the fifties hydrangeas experienced a fall from fashion. But now they are undergoing a renaissance. This talk covers the different species, their growing conditions,  and care and propagation, and will show you some of the varieties that are coming in now from Japan via the French National Collection holder, Shamrock Gardens, and enthusiast Maurice Foster. As a nursery (Mill Cottage Plants) we exhibited them at the Hampton Court Flower Show in 2005, and hope to bring some for sale to your members. (1hr flexible) Powerpoint presentation

Plants! They just don’t read the books

In response to a request for a talk on why some plants simply ‘die’ when you get them home, this talk covers some of the common problems with newly acquired plants, and continues with a look at where some of our garden plants come from, and therefore where to plant them in your garden. There are often misconceptions!

Practical Propagation

A purely practical explanation and demonstration of how to make more from your garden, including some ‘tricks of the trade’. (1hr, flexible). (Not available as a Zoom talk)

Shady Ladies and Damp Damsels

Suggestions for planting in those difficult spots from dry shade under trees to heavy damp areas. (1hr, flexible) Demonstration and powerpoint presentation

The Winter Garden

A reminder and, I hope, an introduction to some of the loveliest winter performers for our gardens. Followed by slides both of winter flowering plants and a few ideas for structure in the garden – the ‘skeleton’ on which to clothe the garden for the rest of the year. (1hr flexible) Powerpoint presentation

Sally’s fee for 2021/2 is:

£150 for a zoom talk


£200 plus travelling expenses (45p/mile) for a talk in person. If it is acceptable to your Club, Sally will bring along a selection of plants for sale at the end of the talk.

To book a talk please email Sally or phone on 01749 676966



The nursery is located within our 2.5 acre garden that we have been gradually developing over the last 32 years, around the River Axe which runs under the house and through the property.

In spring oriental hellebores take over the shadier corners of the garden borders behind the house among the emerging herbaceous and grasses.

April sees clouds of daffodils, and by May the borders are full of Narcissus, camassias and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, and big pots full of bright tulips. While our collection of Epimediums flower among the Hydrangea serrata and the white bluebells.

On the driveway and among the new roses in the formal garden, we grow gorgeous inter-sectional and seed-raised peonies that are in full flower, ready to greet our visitors in May and June, accompanied by our new, growing collection of Cedric Morris’ bearded iris. Some of these are for sale in the nursery.

They are followed in June and July by a collection of gloriously scented ‘old’ and New English roses that are increasingly taking over the formal beds behind the house.

 Through a yew rondel is an open area of lawn bordered by a ‘hot’ summer border, melding into modern planting using perennials and grasses looking good from July.

From the deck that overhangs the mill leat visitors can look down onto Gunneras and Iris sibirica ‘Silver Edge, growing in the river-boggy area below. A zig-zag path runs through the irises beneath the gunneras to a small platform at river-level. (We don’t advise it!)

From an old ash tree that overhangs the mill race, Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ makes a pink waterfall that dominates the whole garden in June and July.

Behind another yew hedge that is punctuated by a moon window, lies a secret garden containing one or two enigmatic features including a ‘lady in a bath’ of disarrayed grasses.

Crossing another bridge over the river takes the visitor to the ornamental vegetable garden, approached by a allee lined with pleached hornbeam and Hydrangea macrophylla, in flower from the end of July, terminating in a hornbeam pergola.

Our long-term project of planting some very special birches from the National Collection at Stone Lane Gardens, Chagford, Devon is now complete. Underneath the birches we have planted lots more hydrangeas, especially H.serrata for July until late September, that love the increasing shade, and some very special woodlanders such as Ypsilandra, Erythroniums, and ferns in spring (that are usually available in the nursery)


Hydrangea serrata ‘Beni Yama’


Alongside is a small orchard area surrounded by a hornbeam hedge on stilts and then our specialist nursery, Mill Cottage Plants. Here we specialise in the hydrangeas and epimediums growing in the garden, as well as some summer specials not available on-line. The nursery is usually only open by appointment, but we invite our garden visitors to browse and choose from a large selection.

The garden and nursery are open to organised groups of visitors by arrangement under the National Gardens Scheme. Tea, coffee and home-made cakes can be ordered for a summer outing. In 2021 we will be charging £5.50 for the NGS and £2.50 for refreshments.

If you would like to enquire about booking please contact us by email or phone 01749 676966 after 6.00pm