There are certain nurseries I enjoy visiting and there are certain people I enjoy buying plants with.  Today the two came together and I visited Cotswold Garden Flowers with Victoria, Rob and Darren.  I didn’t know Darren but I have known Victoria and Rob for some years.  Victoria and I went to San Francisco last summer and I worked with Rob at Chelsea a few years back. 2014_04040022All three are knowledgeable about hardy exotics which was kind of handy considering I was buying for the slope border which is to have a hardy exotic theme.  Bob’s nursery is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone interested in plants.  The range is vast and as you can see from the top photo plants are laid out in stock beds so Bob can assess their hardiness and garden worthiness.  During our visit we were accompanied by Victoria’s dog Rufus and Bob’s chickens – luckily the two didn’t quite come face to face.


I was particularly taken with the Euphorbia above although we couldn’t quite decide which variety it was – our suspicion is Euphorbia stygiana although the red older leaves foxed us.  We wondered if the tough growing conditions at the nursery had caused it.


An hour’s blast down the M5 negotiating the inevitable road works too us to our lunchtime destination – The Old Passage Inn.  I had booked this on a recommendation so was a little apprehensive whether it would live up to expectations.  The restaurant is a fish restaurant and is right by the River Severn near Gloucester.  On arrival we were treated to three helicopters flying low along the river towards us – very Apocalypse Now – and landing in the field in front of the restaurant.  They were joined by a fourth and apparently it is common for guests to arrive in this way so long as they book a landing site in advance!


Our lunch was wonderful – Wild Garlic Soup, homemade bread with seaweed flavoured butter followed by Lemon Sole with potatoes, tomatoes and capers – delish.  Sated we set off back up the road to Pan Global Plants; a nursery I have wanted to visit for some time. My keenness had grown after reading the owner, Nick Macer’s, article in one of the glossies about hardy exotics and how you can create an exotic looking garden or border without having to resort to tender plants and the need to overwinter them under cover.


Nick is just beginning to bring his stock out from the protection of the poly tunnels and I was so busy admiring plants and being educated by the others that I  forgot to take any photographs nor did I take any of our full plant trolleys just before we paid.  So you will have to take my word that this nursery is well worth a visit if you are interested in something a little unusual, some with interesting foliage or an unusual flower – really just the not the run of the mill plants.   I could have spent a fortune here so had to keep reminding myself that  my garden is small and not acres and no the rhododendron grande was not suitable for my garden no matter how in love I was with it – even Nick told me I couldn’t have it.  The red leaved Euphorbia put in another appearance although a little different. Nick and I concluded that Bob’s plant was possibly a Euphorbia pasteurii and as his growing conditions were tougher than Nick’s this may have resulted in the red leaves.  Anyway, having already bought Euphorbia pasteurii Phrampton Phatty from  Nick earlier in the year I bought Euphorbia stygiana – I am hoping one of them will produce the older red leaves this time next year.


So here is my haul – it doesn’t look that much here on my patio but I am very excited to  see how they will come together in the new border, although the Aloe striatula is for the hardy succulent border in the front garden.  For those of you curious to know what I bought here is the list:

Aloe striatula
Tetraapanax papyrifera ‘Rex’
Impatiens stenantha
Onoclea sensibilis copper form
Ajuga incuse frosted jade
Polysticum setiferium ‘Plumosum-Bevis’
Asarum splendens
Fatsia ‘Spiderweb’
Euphorbia stygiana
Buddleja salviafolia

I think I may have to avoid plant buying opportunities for a while until I clear the patio of the last  month’s acquisitions but what a wonderful way to spend the day.