Shire Plants is a traditional plant nursery set in the rural Buckinghamshire countryside. Everything we sell is grown ourselves and we use traditional methods, employed by plant nurseries for generations. Of course, we have introduced some modern concepts too, and offer an easy online ordering and home delivery service. We are proud to be able to list the Royal Horticultural Society, the National Trust and several large private estates among our valued customers.
The nursery is run by Matt, helped by his wife Emma and young children, Rebecca and Toby. After leaving school, Matt worked for 9 years in a specialist plant nursery before an interest in computers and the emerging internet lured him down a different career path. Ten years later, the call of Horticulture and the need to get his hands dirty became too great and Matt took an evening course to gain the RHS Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture.
Later, we started Shire Plants after becoming disillusioned with seeing the same plants in all of the garden centres and a lot of nurseries. As a consequence, this also meant the same plants in most gardens too. While there is nothing inherently wrong with those plants, we feel people should be given the option to buy plants which aren't in all their neighbours’ gardens. We also believe that a lot of the 'old fashioned' and 'heirloom' varieties still have a great deal to offer, because they are tried and tested in our environment and, in many cases, have graced our gardens for centuries.
Most Garden Centres are now large, out of town affairs, corporately owned, where plants are a relatively small percentage of what’s on offer. The typical Garden Centre has a range of just 400 different plants, which may sound a lot but includes bulbs, herbaceous plants, shrubs, climbers and trees. The range is identical across the chain, regardless of where they are in the country. The majority of the floor space is made over to thousands of candles, books, furniture, clothing etc., and of course, the obligatory coffee shop. All of this is fine if you are just looking for an impulse purchase of something that’s looking good now, but it is not a place for a serious gardener to find something interesting to plant in that difficult area at the bottom of the garden where nothing grows.
Shire Plants' objective is to offer a different range of plants, from old favourites to newly discovered varieties, with a few previously lost or forgotten gems thrown in too. This doesn't mean we don't sell anything that is available in your local garden centre, but it means you should be able to find lots that isn't. We are also interested in rescuing old varieties of plants which have become endangered. Please see our 'Plants Wanted' page for more details.
Unlike a lot of the big Dutch growers, which is where most garden centres and supermarkets buy their stock from, we don't have miles of heated greenhouses, complete with artificial light and clever life-support machinery. Consequently, our plants may not look overly lush and covered with flowers (at the wrong time of the year!) when you buy them, but you can be assured that they have not been molly-coddled so they are tough and will thrive when planted in your own garden. We propagate and grow everything we sell ourselves and cannot just buy more stock when levels are low, so there may be times when certain varieties are unavailable until the next batch has grown on. Some of our plants will only be available in small numbers. Others only at certain times of the year.
All of our plants are sold in 9cm pots, or bigger. Unlike some mail order nurseries, we do not send out 'plug plants', which require care and growing on before you can plant them. Our plants are garden-ready and can be planted immediately.
We hope you enjoy browsing our site.
The nursery is currently open to the public by appointment, for the collection of orders. If you are planning on visiting us to collect an order, take a look at the 'Visit Us' page for ideas of other local attractions to visit while you are in the area.
Growing to order: If you require a large number of plants and are not in a desperate hurry, we may be able to grow them especially for you. Please enquire.
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