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The Picton Garden & Old Court Nurseries

  • 4.7

  • from 101 Google reviews

About the garden

Situated on the lower slopes of the Malvern Hills Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden covers 2 acres on the edge of the village of Colwall. The nursery was established in 1906 by Michaelmas daisy breeder Ernest Ballard to start commercially producing his plants. Over the decades he raised many award-winning cultivars including the well-known ‘Marie Ballard’.

In 1947 he was joined by the first of the Picton family, the great plantsman Percy Picton, who came to manage the nursery. At this stage all the asters were grown open ground.

In 1952, soon after Ernest Ballard had died, Percy bought the business and in 1959 was joined by his son Paul. Unfortunately, during the 1970’s asters stopped being so popular and gradually the stock of daisies was reduced, and part of the nursery became a garden of stock beds.

In the early 1980’s Paul met and married Meriel and together began to restore and enlarge the collection of Asters. Before long this was recognised by NCCGP (now Plant Heritage). During this time Paul began to enlarge the stock garden in the southern 1 acre of the site to display the increasing numbers of Asters. After Percy’s death this garden was named the Picton Garden in his memory and coincided with the Wyche and Colwall Horticultural Society founding the Percy Picton Memorial Fund. The latter raises money for students of Horticulture from the HR, WR and GL postcode areas. Since then the garden has been featured on several TV programmes including BBC Gardener’s World and regularly in magazines and newspapers.

More recently Helen, Paul and Meriel’s daughter and the third generation of Picton’s, along with her husband Ross Barbour have taken over the nursery and garden. Helen and Ross are now the curators for the Plant Heritage National Collection of autumn flowering asters and related genera with more than 430 varieties. They continue to take the garden forward, expanding the seasons of interest and pushing the boundaries of this little 1.5-acre garden, using lots of winding paths to create the illusion of size. There is an evolving woodland area, thanks to Pauls brilliant tree choice, where a great range of unusual plants can be found including a large part of the 300+ varieties of Snowdrop and over 100 different ferns. There is always something of interest, but the early Spring is when all the little treasures really shine. Beyond the wooded area herbaceous thrives interspersed with mixed bulbs for early season but, its true peak comes August through to late October.

The extended range of plants we now grow in the garden means we are now able to offer a greater range in the nursery including snowdrops and succulents. More than 90% of what we offer for sale is propagated on site by us. We also offer a mail order service if you can’t visit. For the asters these are only sent out in May, but early ordering is advised as many are propagated to order. The snowdrops are available to order from January and are sent in the green during February. Succulents are sent out throughout the year.

Please see the page footer for general opening times and the events page for extra openings. See visit us for directions and extra details.

Garden admission is £4.00, and children are free. There is no charge for the nursery. We are also an RHS Partner Garden so there is free entry RHS members. Dogs are not allowed in the garden.

We are more than happy to welcome groups, but they must pre-book, please get in touch for more details.

Ross Barbour and Helen Picton both lecture on a variety of subjects for groups and societies please enquire for a current list of topics and prices.

Opening times

Please check before travelling, opening may be by appointment only and is subject to change due to Covid-19 restrictions. 1 Feb - 31 Mar: Thur - Sat 11am-4pm 1 Apr - 31 Jul: Wed - Sat 11am - 5pm 1 - 31 Aug: Wed - Sun 11am - 5pm 1 Sep - 20 Oct: Daily 11am - 5pm In 2022 the National Garden Scheme open days will be. 13th February 27th February 20th March 10th April 1st May 29th May 19th June 10th July 16th August 20th September 20th October Please visit for more information. On all the above dates we are open 11am to 5pm (dusk if earlier) Admission: £4.00

Useful details

Garden area

1.5 Acres

Dog walking

No - Guide dogs only.

Cafe or restaurant

No cafe or restaurant on site


Yes - There is a plant shop.

Herefordshire, WR13 6QE

Check local coronavirus guidance before you visit

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The Picton Garden & Old Court Nurseries
WR13 6QE
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Google reviews

  • 4.7

  • from 101 Google reviews

Angela Dymoke

5 months ago


A small but beautifully formed garden, one to savour - some interesting plants and knowledgeable team. Experts in Michael daisies - go there for fantastic autumn colour - now is a great time to buy and plant them

Margaret Plows

3 months ago


Amazing gardens they seem much bigger then one and half acres. Asters in flower so lovely. You have to take some plants home.

Jonathan Ratcliff

3 years ago


Housing the RHS collection of Michealmas Daisies, this is a little gem if you love plants and gardening. It's only open in August to October as that's when the Asters are at their best so check the website before you travel but it is a lively tranquil site to walk around in spite of the main road which runs adjacent to it. The pathways take you on a delightful tour of what is essentially someone's working garden. Only £3.50 admission and there are lots of plants to buy when you exit through the Nursery.

Debbie Loosley

2 years ago


Really beautiful gardens to walk around. Loads of lovely flowers. Temptation is too great, you will spend money here.

Bernadette Adams

5 years ago


The Picton Garden holds the National Collection of Michaelmas Daises – not the most exciting plants at first thought, but surprisingly varied and versatile plants when you put them in the hands of a great gardener. This is a Gem of Garden. I don't know what it looks like in Spring, but at this time of the year, you are snapping away with your camera to record all the wonderful colour combinations. I particularly liked the yellow and green of one of the Rudbeckias contrasting with the mauvy-blue of one of the Michaelmas Daisies – magic. I also really enjoyed the Autumn power players like the Echinaceas and sedums. Verbena bonariensis provided a deeper purple backdrop in many of the borders and there was a lovely shrubby type of what looked like a pompom Dahlia that really zinged. There is also a very nice collection of Acers – the Acer japonica 'Aureum' seemed to float and shimmer in the shade of the glade at the far end of the garden. I'm always a bit wary of sculpture in the garden, as it can look a bit pretentious sometimes – but I thought these free-falling wire sculptures were fun, and complemented the style of planting. In short I think this is a great garden to visit in the Autumn. The planting is wonderful, it's not too big, and it's fairly flat for those of us who are getting on a bit. The attached Old Court Nursery sells a whole range of Michaelmas Daisies in various shades and colours, which were reasonably priced and well-labelled.

Contact the garden

01684 540416

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