Category Archives: Latest News

Erythronium (Dog Tooth Violets).

Head gardener, Nick Haworth’s April advice about Erythronium (Dog Tooth Violets).

The Dog Tooth Violet, gets its name from the pointed shape of the bulbs. It is a beautiful genus of plants and I’m pleased we have plenty of them in the Garden House. It’s attractive, marbled, dark green leaves make an effective backdrop for the lily-like flowers, which can be white, yellow or pink. It’s a plant that adds colour and movement low to the ground, as the flowers are aloft at just 10cm to 30cm high, set on thin reddish stems, so they dance around a bit and contrast with the low leaves. That reminds me of another name for it, “Trout Lily” because of the marbled leaves that are quite broad and flat, like rippling water and a hidden trout I suppose.

White Erythronium

Erythroniums are easy to grow. Starter plants should self-seed and colonise if you replicate their natural surroundings. They enjoy dappled shade under deciduous trees, although some of ours do well naturalised in grass. They’ll face any point of the compass, so plant them for your enjoyment rather than theirs.

If you have soil that stays damp give ‘tuolumnense’ a try as it copes with wetter conditions. There are plenty of species and cultivars to choose from, for example, ‘Joanna’ has multiple flowers to a single stem, so it has a longer flowering period than others. All Erythroniums will die back in the summer and appear again each spring.

Take a Tour

Guided Garden Walks.


Head Gardener, Nick Haworth will be leading a walk on the first Thursday of each Month targeted at Friends of The Garden House. Either Nick or one of our horticultural students will lead the other Thursday afternoon walks – so a great opportunity for you to find out what he and the garden team are up to. Sue Allen will lead a Guided Walk each Friday.

No need to book, all walks meet at 2.00pm on the Front Lawn.

Minimum of 6 and upper limit of 25.

No charge. (Excludes pre-booked groups).

New stock at the Plant Centre


The Plant Centre at The Garden House is filling up for the new season, the winter-empty shelves and beds are filling up with pots. Plants arrived in early March and there will be regular new arrivals throughout the season, until the Garden House closes again for the winter.

Helen, Garden House Plant Centre Manager

Helen, Garden House Plant Centre Manager

Helen Henderson, Plant Centre Manager works closely with suppliers and with Nick Haworth, our head gardener. She has been stocking up on a new range of Hydrangeas; gardeners can choose from 16 varieties and will be able to buy stock grown on from plants they see in the garden. ‘Limelight’ for example, turns heads in the walled garden with its light green-to-white colouring, whilst ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ is a pink variety that was very popular last year and has been reintroduced.

The plant centre is stocked with special and unusual plants grown in selected local nurseries, often from parent stock or seeds from the garden, so shoppers can take home plants with a proper Garden House pedigree. Some plant varieties were bred here and carry the Fortescue family name.


New spring plants at The Garden House

New spring plants at The Garden House

As you would expect at this time of year, the centre has everything you need for colourful spring planting. If you need help with any plant selections please ask Helen or her team. Helen has a Masters Degree in Horticulture and is an RHS Level 2 tutor, so make the most of her knowledge to help you choose the right plant for any situ



Easter at The Garden House…

A garden trail for the children


Join us for an ‘egg-stra’ special Easter!

Across the whole of the Easter holidays children of all ages can enjoy our fun garden trail and a chocolate treat! The garden is always a delight in the spring so whether you are following the trail or simply wandering around the garden, you are assured of a family fun day out.

Garden trail: March 24th – April 10th. Tuesday – Sunday, 10.30am – 5.00pm 

Normal admission prices apply

Our tearoom will be open as usual serving tempting light lunches and glorious cakes.






Keith Wiley to deliver Fortescue Garden House Lecture

Keith Wiley in his garden, Wildside Plants, Buckland Monachorum, Devon. July, summer.

Keith Wiley at Wildside

TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2016 AT 7.30 PM  Plymouth Postgraduate Medical Centre, Derriford



Taking wild landscapes from all over the world as his inspiration, Keith has created a garden that has produced spectacular results in a very short time. This lecture follows its evolution, and the ideas and thought processes for its creation.

This prestigious annual lecture is delivered by an individual who has made a major contribution to horticulture or gardening in Britain, and we are delighted to announce that Keith Wiley has accepted our invitation to deliver the 2016 Lecture.

Keith was the Head Gardener and Curator at The Garden House for over 25 years, where he developed a style of gardening based on modifying natural landscapes from around the globe.  It was during his stewardship that The Garden House was described by national commentators as “one of the most exciting and innovative gardens in Britain today”, and the best example of “leading-edge horticulture” in this country.

Taking his inspiration from the wildflower-rich landscapes of South Africa, Crete and elsewhere, and pioneering his own methods of cultivation, Keith devised naturalistic planting schemes at The Garden House of a breadth, richness and complexity that excited everyone at that time.  In 2001 Alan Titchmarsh and Rachel de Thame broadcast a ‘Gardeners’ World’ special programme from The Garden House, which did much to promote Keith’s bold and pioneering planting known as ‘New Naturalism’, a style which is likely to be forever associated with his name.

In 2003 Keith and his artist wife, Ros, left The Garden House to start their own garden and nursery just half a mile away at Wildside.  It has been on this south-facing, four-acre site that Keith’s extraordinary vision, skill, and energy have led to the creation of a quite exceptional garden landscape.  Following a visit to Wildside, the garden writer, Stephen Lacey, remarked “Wiley’s energy and originality – his inspiration coming from his own observations of nature and plants, rather than the work of other gardens and designers – is mind-boggling!”

The Fortescue Garden Trust is hugely grateful to Brewin Dolphin for their generous sponsorship and support.

TICKET AND BOOKING INFORMATION:  To be posted on this website soon  – keep an eye out!



Winter Walks – the first one


Nick Haworth head gardener of The Garden House is shown with the group just before the start of the first of this seasons winter walks that took place on Thursday 26th November.

It was interesting to see the garden about to go to sleep for the winter although many plants & trees still provided a colourful & delightful spectacle.


ww3Nick told us of the jobs that were already well underway in the garden. Pruning some trees & clearing others away. There was much information of use to home gardens as Nick gave details of the work of lifting & storage of dahlias & the pros & cons of cutting down ornamental grasses.

Plans to open up new paths & to widen & straighten others were also revealed. The work for that starts very soon.

It was a most informative, gentle stroll in the quiet, not quite, winter garden.

The next walk will be on Thursday 31st December at 2.00 pm £3.00 pp Free for Friends of The Garden House. No need to book.




Winter is a busy time

Although The Garden House is closed to the public until Friday 4th March, it is a time when we are busy with improvements for next season. Details of the work will be posted on this web site from time to time.

Meanwhile the new, for this season, monthly walks with the head gardener on the last Thursday of the month will show visitors how the garden is responding to the winter weather and the progress of the team’s efforts to be ready for the new season.







40% off Plants

Free entry to our Plant Sale – 40% off while stocks last.


The Garden House Plant Centre is open when the Garden is open, daily (except Mondays) 10.30am  – 5.00pm


We have a range of plants in the sale, including summer flowering perennials, climbers, shrubs, herbs, herbaceous plants & alpines. These are top quality plants either grown on by our own nursery here, or by the best local growers.

Our aim is to offer something of The Garden House to take home. Our expert staff are able to advise on suitability of plants for particular locations.





The Delicious Drake’s Trail

Food on the run.


Once again we are accommodating the runners from the Drake’s Trail Event, and they will be calling into The Garden House to pick up a slice of apple cake, a drink, and then go on their way. So if you want to cheer them on, they will passing through here between 10.15 – 11.30 on Sunday 4th October. Liz will be in the Tearoom from 9.45 a.m. so if you want to come in for an early cup of coffee, please do so.

It’s all in aid of CHICKS, a wonderful charity which provides respite breaks at its centres in Devon and Cornwall for disadvantaged kids from all over the UK.
Find out more at


Take a Tour

Guided Garden Walks.


Head Gardener, Nick Haworth will be leading a walk on the first Thursday of each Month targeted at Friends of The Garden House. Either Nick or one of our horticultural students will lead the other Thursday afternoon walks – so a great opportunity for you to find out what he and the garden team are up to. Sue Allen will lead a Guided Walk each Friday.

No need to book, all walks meet at 2.00pm on the Front Lawn.

Minimum of 6 and upper limit of 25.

No charge. (Excludes pre-booked groups).