IT BEGAN WITH A GARDEN.........
Our garden at Rose Cottage in the Essex village of Theydon Bois was where our love of the cottage garden really began. We designed, built and planted this modest (120’ x 35’) plot ourselves and, having put so much heart and soul into it, decided that we would share it with others. So, from 1996, we opened under the National Gardens Scheme and for some years welcomed an astonishing number of visitors, many returning time after time. The garden was photographed, it featured in magazines and it gave its name to an embryonic new venture – Rose Cottage Plants.
When we began to make the garden at Rose Cottage, one of our frustrations was the lack of availability of the plants we wanted to grow. There was no alternative but to grow them ourselves – and there was always a surplus. Our visitors liked what we were growing so all these extra plants quickly found new homes – and we discovered a real satisfaction in making our plants available to a wider audience. Our passion for bulbs led us to exciting new sources and, once again, we were able to share our ‘finds’ with the growing number of gardeners who were by now searching us out.
The new venture rapidly outgrew the capabilities of its site and so, with some heart-wrenching at leaving a much-loved garden behind, Rose Cottage Plants moved a few miles away to Bay Tree Farm. Here, we acquired acres of space to grow in – but no existing garden and the prospect of digging out a compacted farmyard to make one. After a dozen years here, the garden is still very much a work in progress, with a prospering Rose Cottage Plants leaving little time to achieve all we would like to. Gardening has to be fitted in around the thriving mail order business, growing for the nursery and attendance at shows and plant fairs. But our love of plants and gardening is at the heart of everything we do. And we still experience a real thrill to discover something new and wonderful and to share it with fellow gardeners.