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'A therapeutic space': Noak Hill garden features scented tunnels and spectacular views of homegrown plants

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 August 2019

Tim Carter's Long House Plants nursery garden in Noak Hill will be open to the public on September 11. Picture: Ken Mears

Tim Carter's Long House Plants nursery garden in Noak Hill will be open to the public on September 11. Picture: Ken Mears

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A walk through Tim Carter's nursery garden in Noak Hill offers stunning views of homegrown plants and attractive summer arrangements and it will soon be open for the public to view.

Since the age of 12, Tim has been passionate about growing plants.

Long House Plants in Church Road began with the planting of a palm tree and it first opened to the public in 2006.

Thirteen years later and the reputation of the nursery is spreading, with keen gardeners from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium making visits.

Tim told the Recorder: "This is my passion. All the plants we grow are suited for our local area.

"Our business model is still about helping people.

Tim Carter, horticulturalist in Noak Hill, tending to his plants. Picture: Ken MearsTim Carter, horticulturalist in Noak Hill, tending to his plants. Picture: Ken Mears

"I always try to think how I can use my expertise and knowledge to help people.

"We're here for advice."

The main purpose of the garden is to house mother plants to provide propagation material by seed collection, cuttings or divisions.

It also serves as a resource for gardeners to find out which plants grow well in the area which has heavy clay soil.

The wide paths in the nursery make it accessible for wheelchair users and mobility scooters.

Much attention has been paid to detail, with Tim designing the garden around benches which have been placed in specific spots that provide unique views of the plants.

The 57-year-old horticulturalist thinks not only of how the plants look, but how the arrangement will impact the combinations of smells, of the sound made by the wind through the grasses and the texture and feel of the foliage.

Tim is particularly interested in how light at different times of the day and year affects the aesthetic qualities of plants.

"Everything is laid out with an eye," said Tim.

"From an artistic point of view my trade is the art and science of gardening.

Horticulturalist Tim Carter, owner of Long House Plants in Noak Hill, made sure his water fountain has a soft comforting sound. Picture: Ken MearsHorticulturalist Tim Carter, owner of Long House Plants in Noak Hill, made sure his water fountain has a soft comforting sound. Picture: Ken Mears

"It's not just about growing plants but also how I can show them off to the best advantage.

"Things are planted to catch different light at different times of the year. I always say shadow is the most neglected colour in the garden.

"I'm not interested in instant gardening where you just buy a plant and stick it anywhere.

"A garden is about enjoying the passage of time. Every season has its own joy.

"Sometimes you get a magical moment with a certain light and weather."

Tim Carter's Long House Plants nursery garden in Noak Hill will be open to the public on September 11. Picture: Ken MearsTim Carter's Long House Plants nursery garden in Noak Hill will be open to the public on September 11. Picture: Ken Mears

The Long House name comes from the house, a converted stable, which forms one side of the courtyard area.

From the Get All Excited, to the Bronze Baby and Little Bugger - the plants have some very unique names.

Tim explained that many of the names are medicinal, such as the Lobelia Siphilitica, which doctors thought might cure syphilis.

Speaking about the difficulty of choosing one as his favourite, Tim said: "I like all plants as they all have their use.

"Fashions change and what works one year may not be as popular the next.

Long House Plants in Noak Hill. Picture: Ken MearsLong House Plants in Noak Hill. Picture: Ken Mears

"If you get a dull spring, you may sell more of one colour. Another spring it could be different colours."

Long House Plants will next be open to the public on Wednesday, September 11 from 11am to 4pm as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) open charity day.

More than 3,500 private gardens are part of the scheme which raises money for nursing and health charities through admissions and refreshment sales.

For the first time this year, Long House Plants is also hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday, September 27 from 11am to 4pm.

Tim is currently working on a new woodland garden and he has plans for a secret rose garden.

Tim Carter, owner of Long House Plants, is passionate about his nursery garden in Noak Hill. Picture: Ken MearsTim Carter, owner of Long House Plants, is passionate about his nursery garden in Noak Hill. Picture: Ken Mears

He said: "We get regulars, people that come back for every garden opening, and then we get new people who are just finding us.

"It's a therapeutic space and it does make you reflective.

"I love to sit with a customer and just have a chat."

Visit longhouse-plants.co.uk to find out more.

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