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Today, I visited Touchwood garden in Clyne Valley Cottages, Killay, Swansea. It holds the nation's only two National Collections of aquilegia. I was charmed by the sheer eccentricity of the place and thought it might be worth passing on the information to other forum users. There must be many such places, little treasures where enthusiastic growers are selling and/or breeding unusual and special plants. I wondered whether forum members would like to share information about these places.
Touchwood is very small, just the garden of a little semi in a semi-rural bit of Killay village. It is absolutely stuffed with plants, higgledy piggledy in a plantswoman's somewhat chaotic garden. I phoned to see whether she was home and gave her a list of plants that I wanted to buy. When I arrived, she dug the semi-dormant plants from the garden, popped them into bags and handed them over for not much cash. I chatted to her, learnt a few things and viewed her many hellebores. It was a quirky, entertaining visit. Her garden reminded me a bit (only a bit) of Carol Klein's garden in devon - stuffed with plants grown for potting and selling rather than for ornamental effect. However, there are open days when the aquilegias are in flower to view the national collections. There's a website and her plants are also sold on ebay.
I need to visit West Acre nursery in Norfolk at least once a year. Interesting plants and a lovely walled garden to look round.
I'm trying not to make this a local thing to South Wales.Is it that we have exceptional amenities here? I doubt it. Anyway, there's also Nant y Deri, in Cowbridge, a lovely woodland garden which is the home of Bordervale plants. It is a bit remote and involves a drive along a narrow country lane for about a mile. The plants area is smallish but full of healthy and unusual perennials and cottage garden plants. Its another place that it is hard to leave without buying something desirable. The garden is lovely and full of wildlife. Bordervale won a silver at the last RHS show in Cardiff.