Extraordinary Plants and Secret Gardens

Special places in Cumbria for gardeners who love to seek out new plants for their own gardens and enjoy a bit of a nosey around in other people’s gardens.  

abiandtomsAbi and Tom’s Garden Plants at Halecat is in the village of Witherslack near Grange-Over-Sands.

Enthusiastically run by this green-fingered couple, the nursery is a fusion of traditional nursery values with modern approaches to the display, growing, use and experiment of the plant material.

A full range of perennials, trees and shrubs can be seen growing alongside one another in themed borders be they shady damp corners or south facing hot spots.

The ethos of the business is to grow a range of plants that excite growers and gardeners, thrive in a northern climate and create a multitude of creative opportunities. The great majority of plants are grown on site, something Abi and Tom are passionate about with many species and cultivars started from seed, cuttings or division.

You can call by any day of the week from 9am until 5pm or Sundays 10am until 4pm.



Holehird Gardens are really worth taking the time to explore. The Lakeland Horticultural Society’s 17 acre plot above Windermere is truly a garden for all seasons.  In a superb Lakeland setting, Holehird Gardens are reputed to be among the finest in England and are unique in being maintained entirely by volunteers and supported by voluntary donations. This is a true ‘labour of love’.Holehird Gardens

Plants are available to buy at the gardens, most of which have been propagated at Holehird and reared in the greenhouses and nursery beds.  There is also a display area in reception featuring exhibits on such things as climate, soils and plant trials conducted by the Society.  The current display is Charles Darwin.

Open daily throughout the year from dawn until dusk, with volunteer wardens in reception from Easter to the end of October between 10am and 5pm to welcome visitors. It is free to park and enjoy the gardens only donations are requested.



Caths Plants is hidden away in a pretty Walled Garden not far from Levens in South Lakeland. A http://www.cathsgardenplants.co.uk/small, family run nursery that is very passionate about the plants they grow.

Cath and Bob are proud to offer a wide range of high quality plants including many unusual varieties.  Enjoy browsing among a wide range of herbaceous perennials, more unusual shrubs, grasses, ferns, roses, wall shrubs and climbers. Also they have larger collections of Barnhaven primroses, Paeonias and Astrantias. Most plants are hardy, grown naturally and would grow well all over the country. Cath & Bob are always happy to offer help and advice.

Open 6 days a week from Tuesday to Sunday during the growing season.



Hutton in the Forest is the home of Lord Inglewood who’s family have been there since 1605. Hutton is surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds. It is known that there were elaborate http://www.hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk/gardens around the house from the late 17th century. They have evolved since that time but the basic elements can still be seen and are a wonderful background to the plants and flowers. There are varied outdoor events during the summer, including the Plant and Food Fair this year on Sunday 18 May.

If you are just visiting the gardens, grounds and woodland walk entry is £6.50 and these open at 11am every day except Saturday. Dogs are allowed on leads. You can also pay to look round the house and Cloister’s Tea Room serves delicious home-made light lunches, sandwiches and teas.

Hutton in the Forest can be found about six miles north of Penrith on the Wigton road.



Larch Cottage Nurseries described by The Telegraph as ‘The Lake District’s best kept horticultural secret’ is in the hamlet of Melkinthorpe in the Eden Valley. Developed by Cumbrian landscape www.larchcottage.co.ukdesigner, Peter Stott, in a most unique style and combing his love of architecture, plants and art. He and his team of experienced craftsmen  created – and are still creating – A Secret Garden hidden in the heart of the Eden Valley where Romanesque walls, draped with greenery act as a backdrop for the peaceful gardens bursting with mature stock plants.

The choice of plants is amazing and advice is always on hand from helpful staff.

The Nursery Garden and Red Barn Gallery are open 7 days a week from 10am until 5pm. There is also the really popular Greenhouse Restaurant serving morning coffee, lunches and afternoon tea.