Specialist nursery for water, marginal and moisture loving plants

Emma's Blog

Growing Plants For Chelsea - Gold Medal Winning Garden

Growing Plants For Chelsea - Gold Medal Winning Garden We are thrilled to anounce the Kampo no Niwa garden was awarded a Gold medal.

This year we have been growing plants for the 'Kampo no Niwa' show garden at this years Chelsea Flower Show. The garden is based upon 'Kampo' a traditional Japanese medicine using extracts from plants. The garden is designed to show all the different plants used in Kampo medicine and all the plants are native to Japan. Use of herbs in Japanese medicine goes back thousands of years and is still used in Japan today.
The designers of the garden come from the Hokkaido region in Northern Japan, home to snow capped mountains and unspoilt national parks which has inspired part of the design for the garden.
We have been growing the Japanese Iris, Iris laevigata and Iris laevigata 'Alba'. Known as a beautiful flowering water iris for wet areas and ponds. In kampo its extracts are used for beneficial purposes.
We have also supplied the aquatic plant Nuphar japonica also known as Japanese pond lily. Again grown in many back garden ponds in the UK but native to Japan and the Korean peninsula.
To get Chelsea worthy plants we have had to build an indoor pond in our polytunnel for the Nuphar to grow on for the past few months providing higher light levels and humidity to encourage them to produce leaf and flower.
It has been a great learning experience for us and at times we have felt the pressure of the task at hand. Great to learn more about the plants we grow, where they come from and their uses other then just ornamental.


Rowden Irises

Rowden IrisesTor Garden Plants was formerly named Rowden Gardens and was ran as a nursery for over 35 years. The previous owners John and Galen Carter had huge success in breeding water irises. Originally transforming an empty field into a water garden with 10 canal style ponds which have now matured and become a wonderful garden. Now both retired, we are lucky enough to have them as our neighbours and they are very generous with their time, expertise and plants! We are excited to take over the garden and nursery and continue their good work.
The Rowden Irises were bred from Iris versicolor, Iris laevigata and Iris ensata. With around 100 given the Rowden name. They have a diverse range of colours and are great garden plants which bulk up nicely. Considering it can take at least 7 years for for an Iris chosen from a seedling to be named and available for sale, it just shows the time and dedication that were put into these plants. The national collection of Rowden Iris is held at RHS Rosemoor for visitors to see.
We are working towards having a collection here at the nursery and increasing the amount we have available for sale. Please check out our website to see which Rowden Iris we currently have available.

Photo is Iris versicolor 'Rowden Cantata'

The garden pond- water, wonder and wildlife.

The garden pond- water, wonder and wildlife.The RHS and Wildlife Trusts have recently launched a joint initiative called 'Wild about gardens' where they are encouraging people to make space and build ponds to attract wildlife. Ponds are one of the top ways to bring wildlife in to your garden and it doesn't even need to be a big space. It can be a pot or a planter filled with water and a few plants added. Being a water garden Tor Garden Plants has plenty of ponds, 11 to be precise. Firstly introduced for growing water plants but over the years they have become havens for wildlife. They are absolutely teeming with life and activity throughout the year. Early spring you listen out for the sound of frogs singing in mass as they congregate to breed. It is an astonishing sight the water almost bubbling with activity and the noise truly is a loud frog song. Watching the tadpoles grow is a real pleasure until tiny baby frogs start springing across your path. We also attract toads and newts. We have hundreds of newts in our ponds and on a sunny day you can see them just under the water basking in the sunshine.
The ponds are also home to lots of insects from mayflies, damselflies, water boatmen and diving beetles. The most majestic has to be the dragonfly as they hover in the most stunning metallic colours. Although their larvae is quite the opposite and almost alien looking with predator jaws preying on anything that crosses their path.
Pond plants are also key in creating habitat and aiding the ecosystem. Marginal plants are perfect for the dragonflies to grasp on to and then emerge from there nymph shells having time to dry before the first flight. Floating plants provide cover for tadpoles and insects to hide from predators and oxygenating plants keep the water clean and replenished.

The range of water loving plants available is vast and means you can design how your pond looks to suit you. From natural and native to exotic and bursting with colour.
At Tor Garden Plants we offer a diverse range of plants so you can make your pond unique to you whilst creating a home for wildlife.
So if there is a small corner somewhere in your garden please consider making a pond.