Architectural Plants weather the storms

Its been incredibly wet and windy everywhere in the UK for the past week but also exceptionally mild for the time of year . Day-time temperatures in the South East have been around 14c and only dropped to 10c at night . This is well above the seasonal average and in keeping with climate change predictions that UK winters will become wetter but much milder.

In my garden, the Fatsia Japonica is enjoying a late flowering attracting wasps and bumble bees – normally well tucked up by this time of year. This evergreen plant adapts well to wetter winters/hotter summers and is exceptionally low maintenance. It is classed as an Architectural Plant which are increasingly attractive to UK gardeners as they struggle with unpredictable weather patterns.


To explore these plants further, I decided to visit one of my favourite nurseries – Architectural plants in Nuthurst, near Horsham in West Sussex.


This unique place greets you with an attractive Colonial “office” and was established by Angus White in 1990. Lamenting the fact that the average British garden looks very unimpressive in winter, Angus put together a special selection of exotic looking evergreen plants that he knew would survive the UK climate and yet provide year round interest . Some spiky, some with big leaves, some tropical looking and some rather weird but all are evergreen and as an horticultural group they are called “Architectural”.I love the way Anguus describes what Architectural Plants represents in his beautiful glossy brochure:

On the one hand Architectural Plants is just a nursery selling some rather peculiar looking plants. On the other hand, we’re a nursery that’s providing an alternative to herbaceous borders, flowering cherries and winter bleakness.Although that conventional style of gardening remains popular, our success demonstrates it’s not evrybody’s cup of tea. Ours is an alternative approach.
Low maintenance gardens that bring pleasure to every winter season by using plants of strong shape and texture around a framework of small, ornamental and evergreen trees. We have no bedding plants here and know virtually nothing about hanging baskets.”


Over 20 years, the nursery has established itself as one of the best known in the country. It is an inspirational experience to wander around but take plenty of money as the choice of high quality plants is very tempting.Many of the plants are now propagated at their own nursery near Chichester to ensure reliable plants, adapted to growing in the UK .


To help you decide, the nursery operates an innovative traffic light system which uses red to denote non-hardy specimens, orange for half-hardy and green for those that will withstand any conditions .There are always plenty of assistants around to help plus there is an incredible amount of information available in the delightful cafe area where you can sit and enjoy the excellent range of free refreshments and read about the different plants.

One of my favourites is Trachycarpus Fortunei with attractive red bark which looks stunning on its own or in a planting scheme.Visit – or pay a visit and experience this amazing place for yourself .


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- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Paul Says:

    The traffic light system – This is an absolutely wonderful idea. It is the first time I have come accross it but I am interested to learn more. What sort of feedback do you get from customers? Do you find it works?

    Great pictures also, and any garden centre or person selling something that differs from a habaceous border gets the thumbs up from me. Great reat.