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Toby Buckland in his garden in Devon

The gardener, author and TV presenter Toby Buckland has a new project – he has set up an online plant nursery, but this isn’t just any other plant nursery. Toby wants to get people buying bare root plants, a more eco and wallet-friendly way to garden. In the first of 2 posts Toby told me a bit about his new nursery.

Most gardeners will have planted at least one bare root plant whether it be a rose, raspberry canes or hedging but how many have planted bare root perennials. I didn’t realise it was possible to treat perennials like this but according to Toby it used to be a popular way, prior to the 1960s, of acquiring new plants, digging up plants in their dormancy and swapping with fellow gardeners. Bare root plants can be planted between November and the end of February.

It is also a much cheaper way of purchasing new plants and kinder on the environment. With no plastic containers or compost, bare root plants can be up to a third cheaper than the potted version.

Toby says “It’s one for the early-bird, for gardeners who like to plan ahead. While putting this year’s borders to bed, gardeners are already thinking about next year. The advantage of planting bareroot in the dormant season is that roots have time to establish over winter, ensuring large, healthy plants next spring. Personally, I love the interaction planting bareroot offers. It’s the difference between buying a ready-meal and one you prepare and cook yourself. It might even go some way in helping reduce the estimated 500 million plastic plant pots we throw away in the UK each year.”

I love this idea, especially since my challenge for next year is to use less plastic in the garden.

Toby has specially selected a collection of roses that are good performers, even in difficult wet conditions such as the west of Britain. He has also used his extensive knowledge and experience to put together collections of his favourite perennials, some of which are great for wildlife and some to create special looks such as a naturalistic theme or a cottage garden look. Plants include Asters, Geraniums, Grasses and Sedums.

Outside of the bare root planting season Toby will be selling container plants. He says they are 98% peat free and are working on improving their own potting mixes.

Toby is also selling ‘Toby’s Planting Powder’ a mix of mycorrhizal fungi, biostimulants and nutrients to get your bare root plants off to the best start.

Toby’s nursery is based in the old walled garden of Powderham Castle in Devon and although the castle and grounds are open to the public Toby’s nursery will only be open for special events and talks. So keep a look out on his website for open days next year.

For more information go to Toby’s website http://tobybuckland.com/.

To come in the second post Toby answers a few gardening questions.

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