top of page

A visit to RHS Rosemoor: Exotic & Temperate Plants in Spring

RHS Rosemoor, a public display garden run by the Royal Horticultural Society, is set in beautiful grounds in North Devon, near Great Torrington. Rosemoor Garden covers 65 acres and is surrounded by over 100 acres of woodland.

The garden was first opened to the public in 1967, under the National Gardens Scheme. A small nursery was started in 1979. Both the garden and nursery were noted for rare and unusual plants. There are a number of discrete garden areas where choice plants take full advantage of the warmth and shelter offered by the south-westerly aspect and high ground to the north.

An early Spring visit revealed some interesting exotic plant finds within the garden. Although the plants are not at their best, it certainly helped to identify which exotic species were hit hard over winter and those which were more hardy.

By the lakes the Gunnera Manicota was just emerging from its winter sleep surrounded by Rhododendron in full flower. Gunnera Manicota originates from Brazil and Colombia, so in winter in the UK the giant leaves are used to cover the crown to give protection from the frost.

A Metasequoia Glyptostroboides (Redwood) stood towering over the sheltered rock pool contrasted by palms and bamboos. Phyllostachys vivax, a large bamboo species from China, seemed to dominate the focal point and was growing very well in the sheltered location. Phyllostachys vivax is hardy to -23C and if grown in the optimum conditions can reach 12m high in 20 years.

In the exotic garden, times looked tough, Musa Basjoo (Japanese Banana) was recovering from the heavy snowfall in March and Hedychium (Ginger Lily) rhizomes had seen better days. I would estimate over half the banana plants, which were in the ground outside, were dead at the gardens. Rosemoor have cut them down to half with the expectation they may shoot up a sucker later in the spring. Interestingly one plant which seemed to resist the cold snap was a variety of Euphorbia native to the Azores, Euphorbia Stygiana.

Euphorbia Stygiana is a critically endangered species of perennial evergreen shrub in the Euphorbiaceae family, endemic to the São Lourenço region on Santa Maria Island of the Azores. It grows to a height of 1.5m and spread of 1m, with dark green leaves and yellow flowers. The total population counts less than 50 mature individuals in the wild.

I will get some seeds and try to propagate this!

In the Mediterranean garden Euphobias, Rhododendrons, and Camelias were central to the displays but palms and other succulents were beginning to show signs of recovery. This part of the garden had an excellent garden design with stereotypical large Minoan Vases and roman water fountains around a large selection of temperate plants.

Overall RHS Rosemoor a fantastic selection of plants for all types of gardener, I thoroughly recommend a visit during the growing season whether you are into exotic plants, temperate plants or cool climate plants.

Exotic Gardeners! Don't forget to join our mailing list now at to receive a 20% off voucher for our opening this Summer 2018. Be the first to order one of our beautiful Brugmansia Plants!

83 views0 comments


bottom of page