Hollyhocks and echinacea

A couple of days ago I went along to the HPS Western Counties Daisy Day.  It was day for all things daisy (funnily enough).  There were talks from Bob Brown, Helen Picton and Rob Cole.  The morning of talks went very well and I was very good and resisted buying any plants in the sale.  We were due to go to Rob Cole's nursery, Meadow Farm, after lunch and I was saving my pennies.  Firstly though we adjourned to the pub for lunch.
So there I am, sitting the pub, sipping my glass of blackberry and elderflower Pimms (which was very good) and all I can see out of the window are hollyhocks.  Once lunch was over I decided I had to have a little explore.
The garden was fully of hollyhocks, there was a lawn for pub tables and some nice lavender edging, but overwhelmingly there were hollyhocks.
There was all sorts of colours and the place was alive with bees.
It was a great find and I really enjoyed my wander around the garden.

Then it was time to get to the nursery.
We walked into the garden and had that wow moment,
the garden was fantastic.  Beautifully laid out and beautifully maintained.
If you can look above the plants the sky was quite threatening, but thankfully held off through our visit.
There were nice touches everywhere like this wonderful bit of cloud pruning.

We had gone to see the nursery though and in particular the echinacea trials which Bob had told us about earlier.  He is experimenting with colour breeding in echinacea and I was fascinated to see what the plants would look like.
There were rows and rows of echinacea.  The colours were wonderful, from white through red to orange and yellow.
The rest of the nursery was also beautifully maintained and laid out, the echinacea are a passion and a sideline, the main nursery sells many other plants.
This is the trial bed where Bob tries the plants in proper growing conditions as what he is looking for is good colour and a good garden plant.  He also sells off the unwanted specimens, which are still good garden plants, but just not what he is looking for.
So I bought three,
well it was rude not to.
and an Aeonium Zwartkop also jumped into the bag.  I have been hankering after one for a while so I was not going to let the opportunity pass.

The day also involved a bit of plant swapping on the side.
so I also went home with a couple of trays of penstemons, peony seedlings, an agave plus other wonders.  It was a good day.


  1. Lucky you, I would love to live near enough to be able to go. Bob Brown grows some wonderful plants.. I wonder if these new echinaceas will prove to have staying power. So many lovely new hybrids don' t stay around very long.

  2. Meadow Farm and garden are very inspirational, we have visited twice with our garden club, The Black Pear Gardening Club. You should of asked Bob Brown about the Hollyhocks, I once heard him being very dismissive of anyone who grew them. I think they are very garden worthy and due for a revival.

  3. Our garden is full of Hollyhocks, bees love the flowers which are all shades of red and pink. I love the silky sheen of the petals and they give the garden a different dimension as they are so tall.
    The nursery looks wonderful and those Echinaceas are beautiful, I've never managed to get them to grow in our garden.

  4. I agree with Brian - hollyhocks are definitely due for a revival. Echinacea are fab, and that nursery looks incredible. I am impressed that you controlled your spending so well.


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