Bridgemere Display Gardens: The Cottage Garden

Bridgemere Cottage Garden

One of England’s largest and most successful garden centres, Bridgemere Garden World, has been part of a large chain for several years. Its independent roots still shine through as a result of the group’s strategy to preserve the local feel and individuality of their acquisitions. It’s one of my oases of pleasure in an increasingly mad world. 

Cottage Garden at Bridgemere Garden World

Home interiors brands have long been aware of the power of the room set to inspire and reassure.  We don’t all visualise well, so an Aga cooker is helpfully shown to us in a rustic kitchen, and a designer sofa in an elegant, contemporary living room. It’s a pity that it’s relatively rare to see flowers in display gardens, even at Britain’s most upmarket or extensive retail outlets.

So Bridgemere Nursery’s pretty brick cottage with its flower and vegetable garden makes a welcome change, positioned near the entrance to the six acre display garden. Even on an overcast, drizzly summer’s day it’s a cheery place, with masses of blooms quivering on the breeze among cottage garden staples such as a white picket fence, meandering paths, an obelisk and a bird house.

Regular visitors will notice that the planting around the cottage is regularly refreshed, though the cottage garden theme remains. The top two pictures are from 2015, with sweet peas, cosmos, achillea and liatris; the one below shows some of this year’s stars: lupins and peonies.

Lupins and peonies in a cottage garden

I’m sure there are many thousands of visitors to Bridgemere Nursery and Gardens each year who never take the time out to stroll round the display gardens, or don’t realise what’s being done here for our education and pleasure. But those of us who do will have a completely different experience than that on offer at most other garden centres: the chance to see the shape, scale and character of plants in a garden setting. That can be very different to the effect of the same plants lined up as youngsters in standard sized pots.

18 Replies to “Bridgemere Display Gardens: The Cottage Garden”

  1. What a great idea. I wish we had nurseries like that here, it would make it easier to see how the plants we buy could look in our gardens.

  2. Just loved the photo of the statuesque lupins. Must be such a wonderful feeling meandering through this cozy, rustic setting. ❤

  3. I agree, not enough attention is paid by nurseries to maintaining display gardens. I would think it would be good for business. Imagine if they added a tea room, too?

    1. Most decent sized British garden centres have a tea room – some of them are superb. You’ve reminded me of the selection of scones available last time I visited Ashwood Nurseries, another of my favourites, but Bridgemere could serve you an excellent afternoon tea too. As [J] mentions below, some garden centres here are actually better for food and other goods than for plants, though I ‘weed’ those out and only blog about the ones I like.

  4. I too found this an oasis this morning. There’s a sense of just having walked through some looking glass into another world entirely, even in the photograph. There’s a real quality of unreality and I love it. Reality is too much with us these days. Thank you.

  5. [J] We used to pass near to Bridgmere on the A49, between our home in SW Shropshire and ‘The North’. Alas I now realize we were wrong in assuming it was just another big sprawling commercialized garden centre really only interested in selling you food in the cafe and books and expensive gadgets for the garden and home. I wish we’d made Bridgmere our destination even if just once!

    1. I know the kind of places you mean, but Bridgemere has made a real success of the plants side of the business. I’m pretty sure you’d have enjoyed a visit.

    1. It’s got all you need in a relatively small space with plenty of room for a good selection of plants, but not so big it becomes a chore.

  6. When I was working I often found myself trying to get back down the M6 on a Friday afternoon. The choices were to sit in the traffic for an hour or several or turn off and go to Bridgemere. No brainer. And all weekend to plant the spoils!

    1. I’ve got plenty of experience sitting in Friday traffic on the M6 too, though I think we were probably headed in opposite directions.

Comments are closed.