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LIVE 24-SEVEN


88


THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE HORTUS LOCI


This month, our Media Horticulturalist, Camilla Bassett-Smith, follows in the footsteps of some of our most popular garden designers, and heads to a nursery of distinction…


Ever heard of Hortus Loci? Yes, it sounds like a spell out of Harry Potter, but it’s actually home to one of this country's largest plant nurseries and is indeed spell-binding!


The man at the helm is the mighty Mark Straver, who set up the company in 2011 and successfully sails his ship, or should that be botanical boat, through the best borders around.


The 17 acre site in Hampshire has, for many years, been one of the main suppliers of plants for top garden designers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, including Gloucestershire’s Chris Beardshaw. In a typical year, they may be contracted to deliver around 40,000 plants to Chelsea. They may then choose to grow another 40,000 to ensure enough show perfect plants and then grow another 30,000 extra just to be on the safe side!! The responsibility of nurturing these plants when frosts arrive and


heatwaves take us by surprise is immense, but months of planning hopefully results in medals and mass appreciation come the end of May. They have also supplied plants for our BBC Chelsea television set, which this year included beautiful soft apricot pink foxgloves, impressive lupins, the delicate mollina, baptisia and a gorgeous Geum 'Mai Tai' – a change from the Chelsea regular 'Totally Tangerine'.


This September is an important month for the nursery as they start work on their new tree nursery, which will showcase tonnes of trunks from slim-line silver birch to knarled nuts. Mark showed me a glorious example of a red leaved hazel, its eye-catching husks contrasting beautifully against the perfect blue sky. Being at the heart of harvest this month, espaliered fruit is a great architectural addition to your garden, with apples and pears gloriously gleaming. If you're thinking about Christmas already,


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE CAMI L LA BAS S E T T - SMI TH


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