Mentha .information on mint plants
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Where to see mints in the UK


The easiest way to see mints is at Garden Centres, Nurseries or Flower Shows. The problem is that these will be very small plants in a 3½"/9cm pot or a 1 litre pot if your are lucky. The plants will also be rather exuberant, and not as good as "normal" growth; or worse, brown, because they have dried out. However it is still the easiest way to see mints and can be useful to compare between different sources. Also don't forget, if you have friends with an interest in growing food, especially herbs, they may have some larger mints they could show you.

If you have a Herb Farm not too far away then this may be an improvement on Garden Centres, with maybe having up to a dozen different mints, or if you are lucky 20 or more. The very best may have 30 or more forms. It all depends on the preferences of the owner. There is a good chance that a Herb Farm, unlike more general nurseries, will have some borders or display beds showing the plants they sell, but there may not be any mints planted amongst the better behaved thymes and rosemary.

You might think the internet could be a good way to "see" different mint forms online, but it isn't as good as you may think. Many of the unusual forms illustrated by nurseries or garden are of very young plants  or small pictures of distant mature plants. That's if the plant is correctly named in the first place, which it often is not.

So are there any large collections of living plants that you might be able to go to have a look at? Yes, there are are some large living mint collections and, yes, there are some that you can have a look at. At the moment the majority of large collections are National Plant Collections® under the NCCPG/Plant Heritage Scheme or Herb Nurseries.

I do not know of any large mint collections that are open to the public on an unrestricted basis, so please do not turn up to any of those listed below without first arranging a specific appointment or verifying a time of year that the Collection will be viewable. The number of plants in each collection will reflect the owner or collection holder's interest and no-one should expect any collection to be completely comprehensive. Nor should you expect to walk away with a purchased replica of any plant you like the look of. 

Please bare in mind when wishing to visit a Collection of mints that it is a privilege and not a right to look at other people's plants and you are gaining benefit from others' work in searching out  and maintaining their living collection of difficult plants. Although sometimes part of or connected to commercial enterprises, a National Plant Collection®, and any collection usually costs far more to set up and maintain that any financial benefit to the business.

The aims and work of the NCCPG / Plant Heritage National Plant Collections® is not to provide a display of living plants for the general gardener to have a look at to pick out their favourite. Their work involves understanding, research, study and documentation, as well as cultivation, and propagation of all or specific plants, all on a voluntary basis, and at the Collection Holder's own expense. The NPC® is as much private property as a personal collection of decorative plates, first editions books or match boxes. However you will probably find the grower is so enthusiastic about their plants that they are very willing to talk about them to a real enthusiast, answering questions and even giving helpful information you won't find in any books. For the most recent information about any NPC® go to the NCCPG/Plant Heritage website or look it up in the latest "NPC® Directory" (book), or for mint Collections go to the National Mentha Collections page.

There may be mints to see at other Herb Gardens, but the number of forms may be quite small because of their creeping habit. So you need to find out before setting out, if you can. I have listed these on a Herb gardens page

There may or may not be plants available for sale at the time of visit or at some time in the future or by mail order, possibly propagated to order as time allows - enquire and be patient. There are not that many mint maniacs around to supply a commercial enterprise with predictable sales, and so mass propagation of all mint forms each year is not reasonable. 


Counties with large collections of mints with open to visitors by appointment or limited opening. 
Avon     Devon     Kent     Rutland     West Sussex

Avon
Avon
34 mints, well labeled
The well known Jekka's Herb Farm has a herb garden called a "Herboretum" of most of the previous sales plants at the nursery. The plants are displayed in raised beds that will not only put them a lot closer to view, but make the whole area more accessible to wheelchairs. The website indicates that there will be all 34 of the mints she used to previously sell planted out there on display in the raised beds. The nursery and Herboretum will be open to visitors on a series of Open Days throughout the growing season.
See website for a list of up-to-date open days or any changes. The  2014 days are Fridays and Saturdays, 4th &n 5th April, 2nd & 3rd May, 30th & 31st May, 27th & 28th June, 25th & 26th July, and Sundays 13th July and 3rd August for NGS; plus some Autumn dates to be announced later. For more information on when to go see the website www.jekkasherbfarm.co.uk. There is off-road car parking. Address: Rose Cottage, Shellards Lane, Alveston, BRISTOL, BS35 3SY, email: sales@jekkasherbfarm.com, tel: 01454 418878, fax: 01454 424907
For full details go to the entry on the Sources page

 

Devon
Devon
over 200 mints
A National Mentha Collection. Peter Oldfield has been collecting mints for a long time and propagating small quantities for sale locally and by mail order. He has built up an impressive list.
In 2014 you can visit the Farm and nursery on Open Days, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st April, 14th, 25th, 26th May, 23rd, 24th 25th August, from 10am-5pm, entrance fee £5 adult (includes free herb plant), £3 for under 16s. (The nursery may also be open  by appointment, ring to enquire.) The plants are grown in containers in gravel beds on a level site. There is limited car parking.  See website and enquire for plant availability. Contact Peter Oldfield, at Penborn Goat Farm, Bounds Cross, HOLSWORTHY, Devon, EX22 6LH, telephone 01288 381569, email penborngoats@btinternet.com, or visit the website at www.penborngoats.com/thenursery.htm.
For further details go to the
entry on the National Mentha Collections page, or full details in the entry on the Sources page

    

 

Kent
Kent
approximately 100 mints, labeled
Another National Mentha Collection. This Collection was built by Rosemary Titterington, original owner of Iden Croft Herbs, one of the foremost Herb Nurseries in Southeast England. The nursery is now under new ownership but the Collection stayed at the nursery. The nursery is open during the growing season but the National Collections will only be open on specific Open Days in 2014 so to see the mints contact them to find out dates of the Open Days. In previous years the mints are were on display in containers on a raised gravel be . The nursery and display gardens are quite extensive (in Herb Farm terms), but there is normally a charge to visit the gardens, so seeing the mints may not be free. For opening times and to check what mints are on view, contact Nursery Manager Tracy Conners-Perry at Iden Croft Herbs, Frittenden Road, STAPLEHURST, TN12 0DH, telephone 01580 891432, fax 01580 892416, email idencroft.herbs@yahoo.co.uk or look on the website at www.uk-herbs.com for nursery opening times and Open Days - there is no specific information on the Collections.
For full details go to the entry on the National Mentha Collections page, or full details in the entry on the Sources page

 

Rutland
Rutland
38 mints, well labeled
The Herb Nursery is a herb nursery that has a very wide range of herbs and cottage garden plants for sale with a special open weekend in June when their 5 acres of gardens are open to the public as well. They offer a good range of 38 mints and all are on display all season in the Nursery sales area in 10 litre pots, along with many of the other herbs, including their thymes, in borders around the sales area, The lavenders, rosemaries and origanums however can only be seen during the open weekend. This would seem to be the largest non-NPC place to see mints. Thisleton. OAKHAM, LE15 7RE, telephone 01572 767658, fax 01572 768021, email herbnursery@southwitham.net, website www.herbnursery.co.uk
For full details go to the entry on the Sources page

 

Suffolk
Another Nursery, Old Hall Plants, in Suffolk, had maybe the largest collection of mint plants up until 2005. Janet was responsible for a number of new introductions to the UK and increased the availability of unusual plants considerably during a fairly short time. Because of the needs of the nursery and a change of emphasis, the collection of mints was passed on in it's entirety to another owner, where it was no longer viewable. It is now uncertain that it remains it tact. Old Hall Plants now has only half a dozen of the most common mints available for sale and so viewing.

 

Gwynedd
Gwynedd
This was the only National Mentha Collection that is not in southern England, and probably the highest at 1100feet. It was not a commercial venture and was growing on a private site high in the mountains of Snowdonia. It is no longer a National Collection and is no longer open to viewing by the public. 

    

 

West Sussex
West Sussex
approximately 200 mints, labeled
This is the newest National Mentha Collection; it is held in a private garden and is not linked to commercial activity. Visiting to this Collection is again by appointment, when the visitor will be shown around the plants growing in containers. Jean has an interest in plants grown from seed, unlike most other mint collectors.
For full details go to the entry on the National Mentha Collections page

    

 

Yorkshi

 

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If you know of any other collections of mints, which may be open to an occasional visitor, please let me know at where2c @ mentha.info   Thanks.


Where to see mints in the UK
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