The Picton Garden, Worcestershire
Old Court Nurseries were established by Ernest Ballard in 1906. Ballard was one of the first growers to specialise in breeding Asters and he devoted over 50 years to the development of his new race of garden flowers. The Herefordshire village of Colwall became the international home for the popular Michaelmas Daisy. Several fields glowed with colour each autumn when thousands of plants came into flower.
In 1947 Percy Picton came to manage the nursery, and then bought the business from the Ballard family in 1956 to continue Ernest's work. Percy's skill in growing rare and unusual plants encouraged plant lovers from all over the British Isles to make a pilgrimage to Colwall. A reduction in the area of land needed for growing Asters gave an opportunity to create a garden of stock beds for plants to be sold in the nursery. After, Percy’s death, in 1984, his son Paul and Paul's wife Meriel enlarged the garden to include large borders of asters and began an ongoing programme of re-planting and re-design. They formed a National Plant Collection® of Autumn Flowering Asters in the 1980’s and the garden is now home to over 400 varieties.
The Picton Garden is set on the lower western slopes of the lovely Malvern Hills, and the one acre garden is a plantsman’s garden packed with interest. The National Plant Collection® of Michaelmas Daisies creates a tapestry of colour, with other late season plants in September and October, against a fascinating background of trees, shrubs and bamboos, which include many rare and unusual varieties chosen for late season interest. Most of the older plantings date back the days when the garden was created to grow the stock for Percy Picton’s extensive collection of unusual and rare plants. In 2006, to mark the centenary of Old Court Nurseries, many new trees and shrubs were planted, with the emphasis on autumn interest.
Featured on BBC TV Gardeners’ World, The national press and many magazines and gardening books, including “Dream Gardens” by Andrew Lawson.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO
On site there is also the nursery which stocks many of the varieties of of michaelmas daisies seen in the garden as well as a range of other unusual perennials chosen to add late season interest to the garden. There is also a lot of work in progress with the renovation of the rock garden alongside the car park, and an undercover rockery.
The Malvern Hills are a wonderful place for walking with stunning views across Worcestershire to the East, and out to Wales to the West. Ledbury is a lovely market town with good shopping and eating places located about 15 minutes away. While Malvern, on the otherside of the Hills is a victorian spa town with an interesting history. The three counties showground in Malvern is home two RHS shows, Malvern Spring Show and Malvern Autumn Show.
PLACES TO STAY
There are numerous places to stay in Malvern and Ledbury. More locally there are a number of good Bed and Breakfasts, including Little Kings Hill www.malvernbreaks.co.uk, and Colwall Park Hotel located in the middle of the village.
HOW TO FIND US
The nursery and garden are in the Herefordshire village of Colwall, on the West side of the B4218 (Walwyn Road), just North of Colwall Stone, approximately 5 miles from Ledbury to the West and 3 miles from Great Malvern to the North East. Approach Colwall by the main A449 in either direction and join the B4218 at The Wyche Cutting or Chances Pitch. Our map reference is SO 759430 (OS Explorer sheet 14)
November – July 31st CLOSED
August 1st – August 29th Wednesday – Sunday 12.00pm – 5.00pm
August 30th – October 16th DAILY 11.00pm – 5.00pm
Please check the website for nursery opening times and the Yellow book for NGS days.
Adults £3.50 each
Children (under 18) FREE
Please contact us for information on group visits and garden tours.
FOOD & DRINK
There are no on site facilities for food and drink but there are a number of local cafe's, pubs, and hotels including Bonne Bouche /www.bonnebouchedeli.com/.
POSTCODE FOR CAR SAT NAVs
WEBSITE / TEL No.