Peat free plants at Tissington Nursery, Peak District

“People come to us specifically because we grow in peat free compost,” says Mairi Longdon, who runs Tissington Nursery in the Peak District, specialising in peat free perennials. I’d stopped off for a break on a long journey, finding myself in a magical little village that’s part of the old estate, like stepping back in time.

I found Mairi busy potting on plants and labelling next to the beautiful old glasshouses surrounded by ornamental plants, fruit bushes and herbs.

Mairi keeps chickens at the nursery where they literally rule the roost, roaming the aisles to keep a check on the stock. They don’t seem to eat the plants for sale, only the self sown plants beneath the benches.

Tissington Nursery is a pocket sized plant grower in the old estate’s walled kitchen garden. The nursery has been peat free (to protect wild peatlands) for five years and Mairi has been doing as much as she can to make the business more sustainable. Plants can be bought mailorder through the website.

The nursery is lucky because it can use the estate’s old natural water supplies for the plants. This ancient water system has met a modern one since 2022 when Mairi installed an irrigation system to help cope with watering through the drought. This timed system as well as trays makes for maximum water efficiency and less time manually watering.

The estate well continues to flow past the nursery
Timed irrigation targets specific benches and pots

The little nursery is filled with a modern choice of exciting perennials, from Monarda. Geranium and Helenium, to grasses and ground covers. I picked up a couple of new cultivars of Pulmonaria to add to my collection.

Pots are moving to the grey recyclable pots, as many plants as possible are grown on site, others reused, “we do what we can” says Mairi about her focus on going even further with the sustainable business.

I had a lovely long chat about life running the nursery. Mairi is an experienced plantsperson with a list of RHS medals as long as her arm. After saying hello to her chickens too, I strolled around the peaceful estate village with its roaming cattle, old stream and beautiful buildings. Picking up a coffee and looking in the resident candlemakers workshop. If you’re in the area it’s worth making a detour for.

Tissington Hall

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