2019 we will be celebrating 40 years at Caves Folly Nurseries!

Caves folly trolly stacked with plants grown in peat free compost

How many barrows have I pushed!!

mail order peat free plants

How many show gardens have we built?


Echinacea Purpurea Magnus

How many plants have we potted?

Watch this page for more info. in 2019

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A Bosbury gardener called Fred

Spends most of the time in his shed

He potters about

And only comes out

To enter his greenhouse instead.


A Ledbury man on his plot

Said, “Look at the onions I’ve got

There’s garlic and leeks

Bin growing for weeks,

And down at the end, that shallot.


Tho’ useless, a gardener called Elsie

Still yearned to exhibit at Chelsea

And as she was bold

They awarded her “gold”,

Which shows that you never can tell, see.


Keep up the good work,


Kind regards,


Derek Phillips


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walk2Birds and bees and all the flowers and trees….
Summer is now in full swing with the warm air full of the scents of sweet peas, roses, and lime flowers.
Make time to enjoy the  garden and just sit and enjoy the culmination of your hard work!
Unfortunately, between the odd glass of cider,there are still some jobs to do.
Vegetable garden.
 Start lifting main crop potatoes
Summer prune trained fruit trees such as fans,espalliers and cordons.
Keep tomatoes moist. If they show bronze/yellow marks between leaves they are probably lacking magnesium. Avoid overfeeding and spray leaves with epsom salts.
Harvest garlic,onions and shallots once the stems start to go yellow. Let the bulbs dry in the sun before storing.
Sow oriental greens such as mizuna and mibuna ,and pak choi. They will be less prone to bolting from now onwards.
Harvest early-maturing apples such as Discovery and James grieve. use soon after picking as they do not store well.
Harvest beans,tomatoes and other veg. that can be frozen or made into chutney etc.
Ornamental garden
 Remove dead flower stalks off Lavender plants and dead head other herbaceous plants such as penstemons and Geraniums.
order spring flowering bulbs.
Check that the dry weather is not causing camellias and Rhododendrons to loose their spring buds. Give them a good soak.
Clip evergreen and deciduous hedges.
Prune the current seasons growth of Wisteria to five or six leaves.
If you have a wildflower patch cut it at the end of August and leave to dry for a few days to allow the seeds to drop,then remove.
Collect flower seeds to store for next year.Keep in a paper bag somewhere dry and cool.
Take cuttings of Penstemon,Salvia, Diascia and other summer flowering half hardy plants. Keep moist in a shady place.
I have been at the Ledbury poetry festival this week listening to Michael Palin read some of his poetry and limericks so here are a couple of flower limericks!
I picked the first daisy of spring,
Was that such a terrible thing?
The pink and the white
Made such a wonderful sight
But the bumblebee threatened to sting!
The rose is queen of the flowers:
We watch her for hours and hours,
And sometimes I think
She replies with a wink
From the depth of her petal-filled bowers.
Making up limericks is great fun , why not have a go and make up some of your own.
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Green Fingers in Early Spring

Green Fingers in Early Spring - Green Fingers in Colwall

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is busy getting ready for Spring.

We’ve had a few months of very mild weather and so the bulbs are emerging waiting for their chance to spring into action. February is a month for getting ready for what’s to come, cleaning those tools and giving them a once-over. Its a month to prepare the glasshouse for all the new seeds and cuttings.

Broad Beans, Peas, Spring onions and Parsley can also be sown early with some protection. If you are planting seed potatoes chit them and put them in a light, cool but frost free place. Later on in March almost anything can be sown inside so use those cold winter days to plan and buy your seeds.

In the vegetable garden there is still time to plant bareroot fruit trees and bushes. Prune summer raspberries back to the top of their supports and cut autumn raspberries back to ground level. Add compost or well rotted manure to seed sowing areas.

If you have a glasshouse, coldframe or kitchen window sill, there are lots of seedlings you can start off ready for planting out in April. Early salad leaves such as lettuce, Marvel of Four Seasons is a good hardy variety or try oriental greens such as Mizuna and Mustards.
In the ornamental garden, plant Lilies and Allium bulbs. Cut deciduous hedges if necessary before the birds start nesting. Prune winter flowering shrubs such as

Viburnum Bodnantense and Mahonia. Shrubs grown for their winter stem colours such as Cornus and Salix cultivars should now be cut down to their bases. Cut back deciduous ornamental grasses.

Annuals can be sown in the greenhouse. Plants such as Sweet peas, Cosmos, Agastache, Alyssum, Lobelia, Antirrhinum, Calendula and Dianthus can all be sown early in modules to minimise root disturbance and encourage earlier flowering.
With the growing season upon us it is an exciting time watching everything bursting into life.

Now all we have to do is keep up with it!

Enjoy your February and March, and remember Spring is just around the corner!


01684 540631

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Peat free compost

 March, April and May are fabulous months to be in the garden.

The sheer exhuberance of plant growth is a joy to behold, you can even smell plants growing!

All the plant deliveries are now going out and my plants will be growing in gardens all over the country!

I was recently reminded by the manager at Hidcote Gardens that Caves Folly had been supplying plants to National Trust properties for over twenty years.


The national Trust made the announcement that it was not going to use peat on the first day of the Chelsea flower show in May 2001.

Having made this decission they suddenly realised that there were only a handful of wholesale nurseries that grow plants in Peat Free Compost.

This was good for our plant sales ,as we had been growing in Peat Free, Organic compost for ten years previously!

We were ahead of our time environmentally but lost lots of time and money experimenting with peat free alternatives before we arrived at our present compost.

Many of my customers still ask why it matters if they use a peat based compost,so here is some useful informatoin ;

What does peat do for the environment?
Peat locks carbon and prevents it from entering the atmosphere, where it forms CO2, the main greenhouse gas UK peatlands store approximately 3 billion tonnes of carbon. If this was lost as CO2 to the atmosphere, it would be equivalent to over 20 years of UK industrial emissions*.

There’s around 100kg of carbon per cubic metre of peat, equivalent to the emissions from one car driving 2,000 miles.

Why shouldn’t we dig it up?
Peat develops very slowly, so it may take hundreds of years to replace each metre that is extracted for use in private gardens.

-at present, the peat dug up in Britain for gardens releases almost 0.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

How much peat does the UK use?
Amateur gardeners account for almost 69 per cent of all peat used in the UK, mainly in multi-purpose compost and grow bags.

  • in a recent poll of over 1000 UK gardeners, less than 29 per cent said they buy peat-free growing media.
  • over 38 per cent of the public were not aware that most multi-purpose composts contain peat (unless otherwise specified.
  • Defra has been exploring further reductions of peat use in horticulture in their Sustainable Growing Media Taskforce.

What you can do

  • when buying compost, grow bags and other similar products, choose peat-free varieties. The Horticultural Trade Association have produced a Responsible Sourcing Guide available to their members, which includes sourcing sustainable growing media.
  • good alternatives to peat include homemade compost, bark chip, leaf mould, well-rotted farmyard manure or wood waste-based soil conditioners
  • buy plants that have been grown in peat-free soil

These are a few facts to remember when you fill your containers with peat compost only to throw it on the compost heap a few months later!

Even if you have a small garden you can easily make your own free compost for potting and containers. Look at the RHS web site under composting for more information.

Happy gardening.






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The legacy of Trees

Greenfingers Article

By Bridget at Caves Folly Nurseries

As the autumn leaves turn golden, Bridget at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall is appreciating the importance of our trees.

Autumn is in full swing, the trees are changing colour and nature is storing up its resources for the winter ahead.Herefordshire has so many beautiful woodlands full of native trees that we are spoiled for choice. Planting trees always gives me great pleasure. I feel as though I am leaving a legacy to future generations to enjoy as well as providing a habitat for a multitude of creatures.

About fifteen years ago I was asked to plant a parkland for a large house. This was an amazing opportunity to shape a huge landscape (I felt like Capability Bridget!) with Lime avenues, Mulberry trees, Oaks, Birch, Maples, Chestnut and Beech to mention only a few. After several years I drove past the area and realised the magnitude of the landscape I had created!

We can all do this on a smaller scale by planting a native hedge instead of putting up panel fencing, by planting fruit trees, small ornamental trees and by creating habitats that not only enhance our garden but link it up with the wider landscape. Planting trees and hedges can help connect wildlife habitats from gardens to the surrounding countryside by creating wildlife corridors for migrating species.

If you do not have a garden you can help plant trees by volunteering with local wildlife, woodland and conservation groups. There are also free and reduced-cost tree saplings being given out by the Woodland Trust as part of its ‘Woodland Creation’ manifesto, while the Royal Horticultural Society are organising a dig together day in November to encourage community tree planting.

Garden Jobs for Autumn

Plant Perennials, bulbs and winter bedding. The soil is perfect for planting at this time of year with plant roots enjoying the moist warm soil.

Begin clearing spent plants, dead or dying leaves, and have a general tidy in the garden to prevent pest and diseases overwintering. Leave seed heads for the birds. Lift and harvest main crop potatoes. Plant sets of onions. Plant trees,hedging and shrubs. If your soil is heavy, dig it over to allow time for weathering over winter to break it down and improve its structure.

This wonderful poem by John Keats says it all!

To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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Alpine Summer Adventure

Bridget’s back from a holiday that’s inspired her to grow more alpines.

Alpine meadows in the Swiss Alps

Last summer I travelled with a friend by train from Colwall to a small village high up in the Swiss Alps called Wengen. The main object of the trip was to fulfil my dream of seeing Alpine meadow flowers in their natural habitat. We started off from St. Pancras station in London at 5.30am on a Eurostar train to Paris. After that we travelled on a TGV high-speed train through France to Basel on the Swiss/French Border. From Basel we travelled to Bern and by now we could see the high mountains in the distance. Continue reading

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Green Fingers courtesy of http://aboutgardening.files.wordpress.comEvery month I write a few words about the garden and green issues -have a look at the web, site http://allabout-local.com/category/green-fingers/  to read my article.

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