Q) I am unsure what plants will be suitable – can you help?

A) I do try to give an honest appraisal of each plant’s habits in its description, but I am very happy to offer advice with no obligation. It’s not much help for you to email to say “I have a small pond and I’d like some plants; what can you suggest?” as it’s a bit like going to Tesco’s and asking “I’d like some food – what can you suggest?”! The more information you can give me the better advice I can give; I need to know: geographical location, depth of pond and shelves, type of liner, overall size, edging detail and position/aspect of pond.

I do ask that you phone me, as it is very time consuming for me to type out long lists of possibilities on an email, and in my busiest periods there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. If you fill in the Contact page and send a brief message, you will receive a brief response including my telephone number. PLEASE FIRST READ THE PLENTIFUL INFORMATION ON THE SITE!

Q) Why is there such a variation in the price of the different options?

A) The most economic format to purchase is bare root, this is our speciality. These plants are grown in open ground and harvested as needed, so we do not have the time and expense of potting and de-potting or the increased labour of watering pots. Potted plants are much heavier and so need more packaging and cost more to send. Details of the various options can be found on the Ordering and Delivery Information page.

Q) How big will the plants be?

A) Please refer to the Home page and Ordering and Delivery Information page for a detailed description of each option.

Q) Will the plants be in pots?

A) Potted plants are available as an option for most plants. Cost will be higher due to increased maintenance, packaging and carriage costs.

Q) Can I order pots from you?

A) Yes, please look at the “Baskets and Sundries” section under the “Plant lists” tab.

Q) When is the best time to order and plant?

A) Any time when the plant is actively growing. I am busiest in April and May, and this is a good time to plant, but plants also establish well in September, after flowering, when there is less stress on the plant. It’s best to avoid very hot or very cold periods. Water lilies can only be successfully established from bare rooted plants from April to August. After August and before April I will only send them in pots. Choice may be more limited out of season.

Q) How do I pay?

A) Please select your items and proceed to the Checkout page where payment options are given. If you cannot pay by these methods then please contact me as I can accept cheques or direct payments under certain circumstances. Cheques for small orders will be subject to a small surcharge to cover the cost of paying them into our account.

Q) Do I have to be at home for the delivery?

A) Smaller bare root orders are sent by Royal Mail so are not generally a problem. If your postman is well trained he/she will know where to leave parcels for you. Larger orders are sent by carrier and a signature is not required. However if nobody is at the delivery address to receive delivery and there is no obvious safe place to leave the parcel, there is the possibility that the parcel will be returned to the depot. There is nothing I can do about this and delays caused by failed delivery attempts are not my responsibility. If you are unable to be present then you must briefly when ordering state a place where the parcel can be safely left. I cannot guarantee that the delivery person will read it or act on it and I cannot be responsible for parcels left in an insecure location.

Q) How do I deal with the plants when they arrive?

A) Please look under the “Information/Planting tips” page.

Q) When will I get my plants?

A) Plants are generally harvested and packed on Monday to Thursday and delivery will therefore be Tuesday to Friday. They are sent out in order of receipt of orders, there is no such thing as emergency pond plants so please don’t expect us to prioritise your order over somebody else’s. We don’t send just before Bank Holidays in case the parcel ends up stewing in a warm depot for several days. You should receive the plants within five working days of payment.

Q) Do you send plants abroad?

A) I have previously sent plants to many countries, but due to increasing carriage charges and regulations and too many problems with delayed delivery I regret that I no longer send out of the UK. Carriage charges to Eire are also prohibitively high as the plants must go on a 1-2 day service.

Q) Can I come to the nursery to buy plants?

A) You would be most welcome to visit and/or purchase plants at the nursery; there is no charge and no obligation to buy anything. I am not open at fixed times, so would be grateful if you would email to arrange a mutually convenient time and date. I will then email directions.

Please note that I cannot accept plastic payments at the nursery – cheque or cash is fine. Website prices apply to bare rooted plants ordered and paid for in advance, these can be collected from the nursery by prior arrangement.

Potted plants purchased at the nursery will be priced differently; a complete price list is on display at the nursery. While I have a large range of potted plants ready for sale, if you wish to purchase bare rooted plants at the nursery please be aware that they take some time to harvest and prepare – they are not all on a shelf like at Marks and Sparks!

Q) My pond has a rubber/PVC liner which slopes steeply down from the water level. How can I position my plants?

A) This is a similar issue to that described below. Some success can be had, if the slope is not too steep, by filling sandbags with soft sand and wriggling them into position to give a reasonably level planting platform. Alternatively plants can be planted direct into hessian bags containing soil. There is however no substitute for wide, flat shelves 15-20cm deep.

Q) My pond has no shelves/shelves that are too deep. How can I plant marginal plants?

A) Dig another pond! This is an old chestnut and applies to a surprising number of my customers. The vast majority of marginal plants like to be covered by no more than a few centimetres of water; 1cm is far better than 15cm in most cases. Similarly, many people seem to think that water lilies need to be a metre deep or more; in fact most prefer half that depth. The way to get around this if the differential is not too great is to place a large basket full of gravel on the shelf and stand the planted basket on top to bring it up to the desired level. This is better than using an empty upturned basket as a stand, as it is more stable. If your shelf is really deep, and they sometimes are (what were they thinking?!) then I don’t advocate using a wobbly pile of bricks or baskets as it will probably end in disaster. Sometimes the pond was built as a swimming pool or koi pond and it is then very difficult to plant it successfully. I have seen upturned barrels and large terracotta pots, Dexion shelving and all sorts of teetering piles of material used as supports, but the only real solution is a partial or total rebuild, or to not use marginals at all. Floating plant baskets are available but I don’t stock them, as personally I don’t like them and think they create more problems than they solve.

Q) One of my plants is not looking well and seems to be struggling. What is likely to be the cause?

A) The single most likely error is that it has been put too deep in the water. Please refer to the plant descriptions for the ideal depth and if possible err on the shallow side. Other possibilities are:

1. Leaving the plant in the sun in a polythene bag prior to planting – even in less than a minute, plants can cook this way. Damage isn’t immediately apparent but they wilt and fail within a few days.

2. There is too much foliage for the roots to support after they have been damaged by the cleaning and packing – I do cut back plants for despatch but if the weather is hot this still may occur. You can’t do any harm by cutting the leaves back some more – it will help the plant to establish.

3. Too much movement during establishment – if there is a strong current or ducks/amphibians are present then the plant can struggle to establish due to disturbance.

Q) What if I am not satisfied with the plants?

A) We have a no quibble money back guarantee on return of goods but we do ask that complaints are notified within 7 days. There are several thousand variants, all constantly being updated, so occasionally availability and prices are incorrectly entered, please excuse us the occasional error.
Very rarely, parcels are delayed or damaged; we have no control after they leave the nursery, and even we occasionally make mistakes, so if there is a problem please let me know immediately. We pride ourselves on sorting out the inevitable gremlins as quickly as possible. Of course, a very small percentage of plants do fail for no good reason – that’s in the nature of gardening. Plants should be in top condition on arrival but if they are not please let me know straight away. Plants aren’t guaranteed for life I’m afraid, but you will find us very reasonable if there is a genuine problem.