Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Weekend in Devon

As regular readers will recall we sometimes visit fellow Exotic Gardeners Lucien and Laura in the delightful Devon town of Exmouth. Since we last visited the garden won the Exmouth in Bloom competition for 2011, so this weekend not only were we visiting our friends but also an award winning garden! (Photos from last summer)

The drive down to Devon from Bedfordshire takes about three hours, so we decided to break up our journey by calling in at a nursery. There are several we could have called into that would not have been too much of a detour, but as we have never been to Desert to Jungle before it was a good time to make our first visit.

Ideally for us the Nursery is just 5 minutes away from the M5 Motorway, so it was not much of a detour, although we did end up staying about an hour longer than expected! With it being early March the new stocks have not yet arrived, but the plants that had spent the winter here still provided us with a great choice.

A fine selection of agaves, we spent quite a long time looking though the selection.
Succulents, Echeveria's and cacti
More succulents, with impressive Yucca rostrata in the background - if only the car was bigger!
Early March is never the best time to see a nursery, however the selection still kept us occupied for a couple of hours!
Every nursery should have a cat! (and most seem to have several)
The tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica) were very chunky, as the owners personally select larger plants
rather than the slim line versions often seen elsewhere.
On the Saturday we called in at a large retail mega-store - Trago. This store only exists in the South West and stocks everything you can think of, from shoes, clothing and paint, to pet care, toys and plants. The garden centre is vast, and whilst many of the plants are, as you would expect, typical garden centre plants, we did pick up a rather unusual Cordyline 'Karo Kiro'. Which is reportedly hardy to about -7C. I dont think we will be testing this just yet, so it will more likely be a potted specimen that can go into a greenhouse for winter.

Trago have several Peacocks wandering the grounds.
One section of the garden centre, there is a similar sized area of show gardens and garden buildings behind us!
Not Exotic, but the trays of primrose made an attractive display.
Our plants in the back of Laura's car. Notice the Cordyline 'Karo Kiri' on the right hand side.
The weekend wasn't all plants, and we spent Saturday afternoon visiting Dawlish, a quaint coastal town.

Traditional Devon Pasties and Cake, the perfect lunch!
Despite being early March the sun made us feel like were were on our holidays!
The centre of Dawlish is landscaped along side the river Dawlish Water.
The scene would have been complete with some bowls players.

Trachycarpus Fortunei, well establish plants in the town gardens.
The town may be quaint but the ducks and geese were vicious, snatching the food away from Luciens hand!

All too soon the weekend was over, but it won't be long before we return!


P.S. For the observant amongst you, who spotted the giraffe? 


  1. Giraffe in the car but it looks like a dog at the very first glance :-). That trago store seems huge; how can they have peacocks on ground? That means it has some kind of enclosed garden/zoo? Wow!

  2. I'd say you had a most successful outing. Desert to Jungle looks like an awesome nursery. I could easily have spent an afternoon there! And the Devon countryside is just beautiful. Makes me want to go back!

  3. For me the plant on the far right, the tall one up against the seat back, outshone the giraffe! What is it?

  4. Well done KL! Trago is huge and they have a mini zoo, more like a petting zoo really and they have lots of peacocks/hens roaming around freely.

    Gerhard, Desert to Jungle was fab, it exceeded my expectations and bought a few plants from there. Devon is a stunning county, wouldn't mind living there :)

    Hi Loree, that plant is Cordyline 'Karo Kiri', a small growing cordyline that short and spiky looking leaves :) Lovely little plant!

  5. The peacocks are free to roam, there are loads of them, that one was near one of the car parks.

  6. Is that an immature Lance wood at the front on the left in the box of goodies?

  7. I confess I had to go back and look for it, but I did see the giraffe! You definitely needed a bigger car. At first when you mentioned Trago, I was thinking of our WalMart or Home Depot. But when you said peacocks, I realized that place is in a different league entirely!

    I have enjoyed catching up on your last several posts!

  8. Definitely have to go for another visit soon!

  9. Hi Gaz, looks like that you had a wonderful weekend! The succulents in the first nursery are amazing. The front of Gays Creamery is so inviting. It reminds me of all the delicious Cream Teas that we had at our last visit of England. Just yummy! There seem to be peeking out of your car trunk quite some plant gems! Would love to see them integrated into your garden.

  10. Well done Debs! Trago is a massive retail park, somehow similar with Walmart but they also have an amusement park and a mini zoo which makes them unique. I always find it good fun visiting the place, and they have lots of nice things for the garden too :)

    Libby, definitely worth visiting again very soon!

    Hi Christina! I was impressed with their range of succulents, a pleasant surprise! We bought some cakes and savoury pasties from the creamery and they were very yummy! We still have to sort out our plant purchases but looking forward to planting some of them out :)

  11. Yayyy! Now I see the giraffe! Thanks for the clue - I was looking in among the pots etc for a tall giraffe garden ornament! :)

    Would love to visit these places - but I'd need a large van for all the plants I'd be tempted to buy!!

  12. Those are lots of succulents in a cold country! Do they heat it in winter? Mark, you are very privileged in living in that country, visiting lots of gardens and places. Hi Gaz, how is your garden looking now?

  13. Glad you've finally spotted it Ingrid! Although I still couldn't find where the giraffe is on your lovely mural :) They had so many nice plants at D2J, looking forward to visiting them again very soon.

    Hi Andrea, the garden is looking well, thanks! The succulent greenhouse is heated a little bit during cold spells but most of the time they are fine just under glass :)

  14. Blimey - your life is just one big holiday isn't it (says he who's about to go off to the Lakes again)?. Why is it that I never go to nurseries like Desert to Jungle? I would love it! I must make much more of an effort, like the Boys of Luton! I spent New Year in Dawlish when I was about 18 with some school-friends. I'm afraid to admit we were pretty raucous but relieved to see we made no lasting damage.

  15. Enjoy your trip to the Lakes David.

    We didn't take a photo of the building site repairing damage from a certain New Years Eve Party... They say that they will almost have all the problems fixed some time this decade.... :)

  16. I would probably never leave that looks amazing. I saw several of that Cordyline when I traveled to New Zealand and have been drooling over it ever since. Looks like you guys picked up a whole bunch of exciting plants! Is that Pseudopanax hardy for you guys?

  17. Hi Tom, Desert to Jungle had lots of exciting plants indeed :) The lancewood Pseudopanax were reasonably hardy for us until last winter which was exceptional. Will try again this year.


Thank you for taking the time to reply to our post, we love reading comments and hearing your views.

Due to the increased level of spam, please note comments on older posts are moderated and only published after approval. All new comments are read and any spam is deleted.