Tag Archives: Friends of The Garden House

Winter walk and Q&A

Walk in the garden, question the experts and enjoy the season…

Enjoy the many winter sights of the garden, for a £3 donation. Friends of The Garden can enjoy the event for free and will have a behind the scenes walk and talk with the head gardener.

Everyone is welcome back at the house at 3pm for a fun question and answer session, where wine and mince pies will be available to buy. No need to book, just turn up on the day. We look forward to seeing you!

The garden is a special place all year round, but after the gates close to the public in late October, few people have access to enjoy it. Whether you are a keen gardener or just fancy getting out and about and making the most of the daylight this will be time well spent on a winter afternoon.

October plant of the month – Abutilon

How to grow Abutilon


Tropical-looking Abutilon flowers in October

Our mild climate makes it possible to grow semi-hardy plants outside and be rewarded with some pretty exotic looking plants late in the season. In October there are plants either popping up as autumn bulbs or surprising us with long flowering displays. Abutilon are long-flowering Brazilian medal-winners in an autumn planting scheme. They belong to the genus of mallow plants, (Malvaceae) with an exotic look and bright colours, often golds, pinks and reds.

Abutilon ‘Victory’

Abutilon ‘Victory’ is a trailing variety, reaching up to 2m high. It’s happy outside as long it’s protected from frosts below 5 degrees. I haven’t lost one yet and as I garden on the edge of Dartmoor don’t worry about it being tender.

It’s semi-evergreen, losing leaves as new ones push through. Let it stand free as a trailing shrub, or tie it like a short climber. A wall can provide shelter from frost and support, but it might starve the roots from moisture and that’s no good for this tropical, greedy-feeder. Make sure you keep it well watered and fed.

As the days shorten you want to keep the flowering going for as long as possible, so think about the passage of the sun through your garden and position it for as many hours of sunshine as you can.

Prune if you must in late spring, when you can also take softwood cuttings for back-up plants in case we get a really hard winter that catches us all out.

I enjoy the colour this plant brings to the garden. I dot them where the colours can be seen at head height to appreciate the contrast between the gold and red flowers. They work well on the terraces so visitors experience them at different heights. I think there’s a lot to be said for looking at the detail of October plants. The big sweeping drifts of summer colour may be gone but there is still plenty to enjoy in the garden.

Nick Haworth, Head Gardener

Annual Plant Sale

Our Annual Plant sale begins on September 1st.

Take home special plants at very special prices – we will be taking 40% off almost all our stock. We specialise in offering interesting plants from local specialist nurseries. Many of the more unusual plant varieties are propagated from the fabulous plants you can see growing throughout the garden.

Friends of The Garden House can get first sale pickings

Are you a “Friend of The Garden House?”  Members get to access the plant sale before anyone else, so shop earlier on the 30th and 31st of August, show your membership card and enjoy 40% discount.

If you aren’t a member – why not join? it’s just £28 per year for unlimited garden visits and many other benefits, including free entry all year to our sister gardens, Trebah in Cornwall and Coleton Fishacre in South Devon.


Head Gardeners’ Walk and Talk for Friends

Friends of The Garden House are invited to enjoy the garden in the company of our head gardener, Nick Haworth. These special, informative events provide a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to keep such a wonderful garden looking good throughout the year.

Learn how the winter-work changes the garden throughout the year

A June walk in the garden is a treat. You’ll spot the changes and recognise the impact of the winter work that Nick and his team carried out. Come rain and shine – but more often rain, they were out landscaping the area around the dovecote, crown-lifting many of the trees to re-establish lost views, as well as laying new pathways so that visitors less able to manage steps and slopes can enjoy more of the garden.

Man in grey jumper admiring a Magnolia Felix 'Jury'

Nick Haworth, Head Gardener

The fist changes each season after any winter work are always interesting. As we move through a very wet, cold spring into late spring and early summer we can see for the first time the way the trees are coming into leaf without restricting the views.

The area to the dell of turkey oaks is one of the original viewing points and has come into its own recently. It’s become a peaceful, secluded place, just a few steps up from a main path but offering a new way to reflect in a very green, restful area of the garden. The long view out towards the church at Buckland Monachorum is truly lovely.

The next talk for Friends is on June 2nd at 2pm. Meet at the Jubliee Arboretum entrance. Tea and cake afterwards.

If you aren’t a Friend why not become one? Friends membership costs just £28 per year and entitles you to visit the garden as often as you like. You will also be invited to special events. It’s a great value way to support the work of the charity that maintains and develops The Garden House.

Free introductory garden tours for all visitors are held each Friday.