Autumn planting should be at the top of your gardening ‘to do’ list this month. Expert John Foley from Holden Clough gives us some top tips as the new season approaches. Photography: Sarah Valentine

Getting off to a flying start for the autumn, Holden Clough Nursery is simply buzzing with activity at this time of year.

With bees and pollinators in decline, many of the plants at Holden Clough are bee friendly and with the nursery’s clever ‘grouping by association’ initiative, gardeners can easily identify plants that encourage bees back into their garden.

As many plants rely on bees and other insects to transfer pollen from one flower to another, bees are vital to the environment and gardening expert John Foley of Holden Clough has hand-picked an extensive selection of flowering plants that attract bees.

Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (catmint) is a not just a lure cats, it’s a crowd puller when it comes to bees too. There are dozens of varieties, but it is always a popular choice among gardeners with its long spikes of purple flowers.

Lavender is also a classic bee plant and is a wonderful addition to any garden. When in flower it looks and smells wonderful and is a great source of nectar for bees. It’s semi-evergreen so it can also be a feature through the winter and if space is tight it can be grown in pots.

Bergamot is also bee friendly along with helenium with its striking fiery orange and red flowers that add a pop of early autumn colour.

With a reputation for hardy weather resistant plants and shrubs, Holden Clough has plenty to offer in terms of autumn colour and greenery to brighten up gardens during the cooler September days and the onset of autumn.

Now is the perfect time to visit Holden Clough when gardeners can see the true height and colours that will work perfectly in garden borders to brighten up the darker days ahead.

“With the soil still warm, now is the time to start autumn planting. If anything the summer has been too dry but now that the wetter weather is here it’s a great time to start planting. If gardeners are planting in clay rich soil mix in some organic matter to help drainage and don’t forget to feed plants too,” advises John, who with wife Kate was last month awarded Gold and the Best Hardy Perennial Trophy at Southport Flower Show.

“Here at Holden Clough, I think it’s important that we raise our own hardy frost-resistant plants that will survive our cold, wet winters. The majority of our plants can survive a proper frost and we can always advise visitors on what will grow where, and of course, what tasks should be done in the garden at this time of year.”

Having recently undergone a transformation, Holden Clough specialises in unusual plants and perennials, and for both the amateur and specialist gardener, it is a haven of attractively laid out beds. If gardeners have an area of shade or sun, the experts at Holden Clough have gathered together collections of plants that will thrive there.

Alternatively if gardeners are on a quest to find plants that will thrive in waterlogged areas or places that are very dry, or if they want foliage or ground cover, they will find a collection grouped together making selection easy.

While autumn planting should be at the top of your gardening ‘to do’ list, there are plenty of reasons to visit Holden Clough at this time of year – not least to enjoy the Garden Kitchen’s summer picnic, which is still being served.

The country-style café, with its flag floors and wood burning stove, has a reputation for great food and drink, and with a new autumn menu on the horizon, visitors can expect to see some delicious, heart-warming dishes as the colder months approach.

While the transformation of the nursery has been a triumph, there are further plans in the pipeline for a new glasshouse and potting shed that will link into the Garden Kitchen, keeping the visitor experience under cover in the wetter months.

The plans will also see a new glazed terrace added on to the Garden Kitchen making dining there even more enjoyable with views over the surrounding countryside and meandering river below. It is hoped that building work will begin early November ready for next spring.

Holden Clough Nursery
Holden, Clitheroe BB7 4PF
01200 447447

Open seven days a week



Tedd Walmsley

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